The Saints go marching in

Friday, 6 June 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Local rugby After last week’s rolling maul lesson by the Royalists, the Petes take on traditional rivals the Josephians in the 44th battle for the Rev. Fr. Basil Wiratunga memorial shield. The Joes have on and off played some good rugby but with no real level of consistency. Their levels of skill need loads of improvement, but in their favour is their attitude. Given a sniff they will grab it with both hands, and are considered great spoilers, not in the bad sense and opportunists. However these are not adequate in the modern game, and thus the Petes should not have much difficulty against them. The Petes too are far from being a settled side, and are very much a ‘work in progress’ as a team. Taking the Joes lightly though will be foolhardy as such traditional encounters bring in a great sense of passion and determination in the players and the team. The Petes need to get their forwards a lot more quickly to the breakdown point and learn to retain possession upon contact. They need to organise the three quarter line and agree on a permanent slot for their play maker ‘Kutty’. The Royalists will face the high flying KCK who appear to be on a roll. Playing them up in the hills can be a tricky proposition as these Kandy-based teams protect their goal line well in home conditions. Pathana will take on Science and if you wish to see some hard tackling, do-or-die efforts and high-risk rugby, this is the game to watch. Pathana are a well-knit unit and they should get the better of Science. However Science will not go down without a decent fight, provided that they are at full strength. TCK will also have a game against the Thomians who once again appear in the doldrums. A reflection of the points table shows Pathana and KCK at the top with both teams being unbeaten although KCK drew with the Petes in a first round game. Pathana leads the pack with 38 tries in six games indicating that they score over six tries per game and an average of 38.5 points per game whilst conceding 12 points per game on average. This is quite a remarkable performance and is indicative of their style of play and despite the high risk style; their defence has been tight when required. International rugby After a long sabbatical, international rugby will be on our screens once again. NZ will endeavour to continue their unbeaten run as they take on England who are somewhat weakened with injuries to some key players. The All Blacks’ starting XV boasts of a combined 779 test caps. Aaron Cruden and Aaron Smith will partner yet again with Richie McCaw once again as skipper. Kieron Read misses out with concussion issues, and the debate on concussion continues to rage on. The Wallabies take on France and there have been some surprise omissions in the Wallabies team. Quade Cooper misses out with injury, whilst Will Genia has been axed from the squad and former skipper James Horwell will be on the bench. Stephen Moore gets the captaincy role with the mercurial flanker Michael Hooper as his deputy. Coach Ewen McKenzie has selected a form-based squad and hence the drastic changes. Argentina will take on Ireland in the third International. For all rugby enthusiasts, there is plenty to watch despite the inclement weather forecasted by the Met department, and provided our Satellites don’t succumb to the atmospheric interference. (The writer can be reached via scrumaf@gmail.com.)

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