Given the fact that Police had an impressive outing the previous week, much was expected from them against a young and relatively inexperienced CR outfit.
At half time the exchanges were even and the score line indicated the same. Both sides resorted to some open and rather expansive rugby and CR resorted to some deep and probing kicks. These found the Policeman wanting and on a number of occasions the highball was spilt, thereby resulting in territorial advantage as well physical possession of the ball.
Police may lack finishing touches due to a combination of reasons but they make up for it through sheer grit, determination and maybe a tad superior fitness. One of their wingers certainly packs a lot of gas and if nurtured could be a handful to contend with. His sudden bursts of speed certainly had the red shirts flatfooted on a number of occasions.
CR could have easily closed out the game on a number of occasions but poor handling and some ineffective handling let Police back into the game at vital points in the game. Police always lived in hope and it was refreshing to see the new found expatriate players combine well with the locals.
This can only augur well for Police rugby and the team now appears to be playing with a greater sense of self belief that no mountain is too high to conquer. The fact that on three occasions they were able to pick and drive straight through the centre indicates that the red shirts were caught napping.
In the last quarter of the game, Police literally stepped on the gas and it was plain to see that the red shirts were no match for the rampaging Policeman. Their Fijian # 8 was a treat to watch, be it breaking off from the scrum, fielding the ball at the restart and this enthusiastic and robust play in the loose.
In the final analysis, I think the # 8 as well their expat in the three quarter line up made the difference in the day. Given this style of play it would be worthwhile watching future games of the Police.
Unlike the Upcountry Lions the previous week, Havies made and auspicious start on home soil as the newly laid out turf was officially commissioned on Saturday. Those who were at the game will invariably agree that the facilities are looking super although a few rough edges need to be resolved. HSC celebrated in style the commissioning of the new look stadium as they posted 50 points in their demolition of CH.
It was a clinical performance by the Havies as their forwards and three quarters combined well. They were patient in building up four to five phases of ball, before they made an attack on the goal line. HSC could have improved upon the score had they not fumbled the ball on a few occasions denying them some scoring opportunities.
The introduction of expatriate players has definitely had a bearing on the style of play of the Havies and there appears to be a mutual respect for each other. Thus the dream run of the Havies continues.
Alas the same cannot be said of CH, whilst they have their share of expats, the others appear to be over reliant on them.
Navy played host to the Upcountry Lions, and beat them quite easily according to reports. UCL appears to be lions only by name, succumbing quite meekly to the opposition. As I have said before, having 15 talented individuals does not constitute a winning team. They all need to jell together and build that camaraderie before they reap the benefits. I am in no doubt that UCL will come good with the passage of time, although sooner the better as there is not much time left.
Hence next week’s encounter between Navy and HSC at Havelock Park will prove to be a blockbuster, with both teams unbeaten as of date.
SPC eventually got the better of the Thomians, over the weekend. They were playing for the late Archibald Perera trophy. Archie, as he was popularly known cannot have been a happy man watching the fate of CR and the narrow win by the Petes over the weekend.
Had he been the coach, I can almost imagine the choice words that he would have had for the players on their performance at the next training session. Archie is a legend, and it’s a pity that some of the current crop of players have not been fortunate enough to see him play or have the luxury of training under his tutelage.
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