Tuesday, 10 June 2014 01:08
Those that made it to the Havies to watch the Joe/Pete game were treated to a shambolic display of rugby by the Petes. The fact that they emerged victorious may have been partly due to the prayers of the number of priests at the game as opposed to any real rugby skill. If there had been any lessons learnt by the Petes from the game against RC, they were not evident. They continued to miss tackles, attempted to tackle high, were unable to counter a rolling maul and lost the ball in contact situations. Their play maker Kutty gained several yards in line breaks but eventually lost the ball or was penalised for holding on in the absence of support.
The Petes with ball in hand ran across the field on too many occasions, which brought back memories of an age old saying, that the speed of the ball is greater than the speed of man. There was too much of individual play by the Petes, with everyone wanting to get on the score sheet.
The Joes were in with a simple plan. They used their burly forwards, albeit a bit slow, to punch holes in the defence and go past the gain line. Aided by some poor tackling by the Petes, they achieved this with consummate ease. They used their No. 12 as well to take the ball on the inside and that had the Pete defence scrambling to effect cover tackles.
In Leonard, the Joes have a quality three quarters coach and with limited resources he has done a wonderful job. Both teams had ample opportunities to score and fluffed the ball at vital moments, thereby keeping the scoreboard inactive. Both teams were guilty of being unable to string several phases of play, and thereafter culminate the same into a scoring opportunity.
The set pieces by both sides were poor, with the forwards scrummages too high to be able to push and gain any form of advantage. The throw into the line outs was awkward and I am perplexed by teams trying a long throw when they are unable to throw it in straight in the first instance.
The referee on the day did not have a good day in the office. All that the players and the spectators ask is for there to be consistency in the interpretations of the laws of the game. Alas, the advantage rule was officiated more in the breach without actually having any advantage. It would be useful to watch the advantage rule being interpreted in the two international games that were played over the weekend. There is so much for all of us to learn by watching those games.
Other school games
Pathana once again showed their class and their demolition of Science was clinical and precise. They remain unbeaten and are certainly a force to be reckoned with. They are able to rake in the points in the second half / last quarter which is testimony to their superior levels of fitness and skill. As expected, TCK overcame a hapless Thomian side that definitely are short on experience and skill.
KCK are also in great form and appear to have peaked at the correct moment as they won by the slimmest of margins against a gallant Royal outfit. Whilst the coaching skills of Martis are beyond doubt, his man management skills are something that has been oft spoken about as something that needs improvement.
The need for Royal to believe in their ability cannot be overemphasised.
The All Blacks/England game was certainly a great game. A number of enthusiasts would look at this and rubbish it given the drought of tries. Whilst that maybe true, a relatively weak England side was in the hunt till the 75th minute trading penalties in the interim.
A lot of talk was made before the game that the All Blacks would steam roll past England and that did not happen. The England pack played well as a cohesive unit and maybe the lack of experience let them down in the final analysis. NZ definitely missed the services of Kieron Read and they are hopeful of having him back for the second test.
The Wallabies got their 2014 campaign to a rather sedate start despite the fact that they notched up 50 points. The Wallabies still looked a team that requires loads of improvement and against quality sides; they will have to do much more to stay in the hunt. The French will be bolstered next week with the return of their skipper and two other stalwarts and that could mean an improved performance.
(The writer can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org)