Tuesday, 2 July 2013 00:00
The much loved inter-schools rugby season has come to an end with the emergence of Dharmaraja as the champions. In their rugby history of 43 years this will no doubt go down as a proud moment. As everyone celebrates and congratulates the team it is good to sit back and reflect on what made them successful this year. Going by the interviews that have appeared in the local dailies, it is apparent that it has been a well thought out and well mapped strategy, that started a few years ago, the rewards of which are being reaped today.
Very often, people run away with the idea that you need stars, super stars and mega stars in order to win. Maybe there is a lesson in this performance for all of us. Plan well, plan ahead and execute with a sense of ruthlessness. I am reminded of something that the former Aussie batting great said in 2005 when he was in charge of the Indian cricket team: “If someone continually needs to be picked up and have his hand held, then we’re not going to be successful. You have to be ruthless as selectors, ruthless as coaches;
ruthless as mentors; we’ve got to demand high standards in all areas. We’ve got to provide an environment that gives everyone the best chance of success, but if they keep falling down continuously, we haven’t got time to stop and pick them up. We’ve got to find those who can stand on their own feet, think for themselves, and make decisions in real time.” In this it is also good to reflect on the role of the coaching staff. They cannot tackle on the field, win line outs, scrums, turnover ball, score tries and take kicks at goal. The players on the field need to execute well the drills that have been done over and over again in game simulated sessions. In terms of a coach it is one thing having a hard nut as a coach and quite another having simply a nut.
The popular lyrics Rajans Kollo, Rajans Kollo, Rajans kollo kollomai, reverberated during the journey back to hills after their defining moment against Royal last week. Well done the Rajans. We now move into the President’s trophy which is to be played on a knock-out basis. We should see some fascinating rugby, which kicks off of today. The games are to be worked off at the Royal complex, and one wonders whether the games should have been played under floodlights given the success of the Royal / Thomian.
Even if the semifinals and the finals could be played under lights I am sure that we will have a sizeable crowd. One hopes that the violence that has marred the game throughout the season is not in evidence. The British and Irish Lions lost the second test to the Wallabies, and this time around the final kick was their undoing as was the case with the Wallabies in the first test. A rare moment that we witnessed in the game will be the sight of George North with a superb claim of a high ball and his rival Folau in one swift movement before charging downfield with man and ball. It was simply sensational play that defied all odds although it almost ended in an injury for North. The Wallabies coughed up the ball on several occasions, which were all try-scoring opportunities. The Lions’ defense was as solid as ever and the fact that the Wallabies finally found a hole in it speaks for their perseverance. The Wallabies exploited an apparent scrummaging weakness in the Lions’ front row and won themselves three penalties. The next few scrums went the way of the Lions as their loose-head prop then decided to push at an angle. The referee soon put paid to this anomaly and the game continued without much ado thereafter. The Lions will be without skipper Warburton, for the final test due to injury whilst the Wallabies skipper may miss the game due to a disciplinary hearing. The stage is now set for the decider next Saturday and it will be a brave man that will predict the outcome.
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