The crowd was immense and must have been one of the largest at the Royal complex. Past players/ captains, old boys, well wishers and those that like to be seen at these events although they are neither of the above were also there wide eyed and keeping a quick glance at the big screen to check if they were being shown. Face painting has come to stay and it was visible in abundance with each one sporting their school colours with a great sense of pride. There were others in their specially designed batch shirts varying in sizes from small to XXXL.
The DJ at the event must have not realised that this was a rugby game and until someone actually pointed it out, he kept the music going even when play had started. Ironically, although the Chief Guest made his way down to the playing area for the two school anthems, he was not introduced to the two teams. Earlier in the day we were greeted with the sad news that the former Trinity Skipper and winner of the Bradby in 1969 Shafi Jainudeen, had expired down under. Not a word was mentioned at the grounds nor did the players wear a black arm band nor was a minute’s silence observed. What a pity.
TC tactics were simple as they were going to run the ball at every opportunity. RC’s defensive play and tackling amongst the three quarters has been suspect all season and it was exposed once again. TC was cool and collected and played under tremendous pressure, both by the Royal players, the vocal support of the crowd and at times the man with the whistle. TC played like champions and read the game well; such was their dominance that they scored even when down to fourteen men. The tactical kicking on most occasions did bring in the desired results in either territorial advantage and/ reclaiming possession. Whenever TC made it to the Royal 22, they ensured that they got points on the board. Such was the pressure that they exerted that RC attempted two or three drop goals when in the TC 22, in a bid to score.
TC was smart to observe that when the RC full back joined the three quarters in attack, he failed to drop back if they lost possession. Thus on a number of occasions, they just kicked deep and made RC pay. TC did have their share of blemishes as they struggled to win good line-out ball on their own throw in.
All in all it was a good game to watch and to say that the referee had an off day is an absolute understatement. His decisions were poor throughout the game; the interpretation of what constitutes an advantage was atrocious. Those in charge must definitely have a look at yet another abysmal performance and take corrective action.
Whilst all this was on another Kandy lad was doing his country proud with a workmanlike 97 against the Pakistanis.
As the players ran into the field of play, a single hooligan stood out. It was none other than the RC loose head prop sporting the number two jersey. For the second match in a row I watched him barge/shoulder charge the opposition as they ran in and the exchange of words that followed. Whilst I am all for aggression I just cannot see the justification of this unprovoked behaviour. Maybe the coaching staff need to whisper a little bit of sense into his ear as if he were to repeat this against Pathana he would find out the hard way that this is no way to play rugby. On the contrary the Trinitians kept their cool despite lots of provocation and this speaks volumes for the sense of discipline that has been instilled into them. Well done Trinity. The match had to be halted for a while as there were objects thrown onto the field. It was yet another case of poor crowd control. Possibly in retaliation, whilst both the teams were on the field and ready to go for the second half, the referee appeared only after a 15 minute break, maybe utilising his full entitlement of time. It was a poor display by the referee and left many a rugby fan with a bitter taste in the mouth.
There were many SMS’s sent after the game, and one that caught my eye was the following: There are three manmade objects visible from outer space, the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids in Egypt and the defensive holes on the RC three quarters. The massive crowd trooped out of the RC complex to the sounds of ‘Swing low sweet chariot’ and I am sure that journey back to hills would have been full of good old rugby songs.
Pathana VS Petes
Not too far away from the Royal complex, the wave of green had strangled the Peterites. The score line suggests that the Petes were completely outclassed. Pathana simply had the Bamba boys in a twist and I am surprised that they did not chalk up half a century of points. SPC depending on a few stars to see them through has come to a predictable and shuddering halt. In the last few games Pathana has been relentless in their pursuit of telling the big boys that they are here to stay. They are on a high and will take on a rather shell-shocked RC next week. They had the luxury of meeting a stunned Peterite side last week and have shown that they play a different brand of rugby. In fact they do not over complicate things, when in attack they are a treat to watch with clean and crisp passing, whilst in defence their bone jarring tackles are remembered long after final whistle is blown. Pathana are in with a chance and another crushing win will see an interesting tussle at the top. International games
The Irish played their hearts out only to see the magic boot of Carter snatch a close win soon after regular time. For those who were unable to watch it live, it will be worth checking out the repeat telecast. Similarly the Wallabies just made it past Wales and anyone who thought that there was going to be ‘one way traffic’ was pleasantly surprised. SA also had a good day and beat England. The southern hemisphere teams are on a roll and the third and final test will be eagerly looked forward to in the coming week.
(Contactable on [email protected])