Trinity in emphatic win

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The southern port city of Hambantota was in the news recently. From gun brandishing politicians, to stone and egg throwing mobs it was a game of high stakes. In normal egg throwing incidents, rotten eggs are used, but in Paradise Island, we are so affluent that good quality eggs are in vogue. The subsequent satyagraha that followed also came to a halt as the all important Bradby Shield game kicked off in Colombo. Once again it was the turn of the movers and shakers of Colombo and Kandy to turn out in their numbers and then proclaim that I was there at the 70th Bradby. It was indeed heartening to see the President also taking time off his busy schedule to watch the rugby on display. Over the past years there have been plenty of controversies surrounding high profile school games as the old boys and the other stakeholders make their presence felt. Prior to the start of the game the referee was in the spotlight with media reports indicating that the Royal coach had wanted a change in the appointed referee. Whilst the basis of the request was not documented, it certainly left a bad taste in the mouth of rugby lovers that any one should seek a change in the referee without a valid reason. The fact that the appointed referee eventually officiated at the game speaks volumes of the determination and resolve of the referees’ society and all credit to them. With all the drama in the background, one would have expected that RC was on the verge of creating a major upset. From a pure rugby point of view, the rugby on display was of rather ordinary quality and did not match the hype that was created prior to the event. TCK was in with a plan and stuck to it for most parts of the game. They only appeared to have fallen asleep for the last 10 minutes of the first half. In such high pressure games, you expect to see unforced errors and that’s what we saw with Royal. The pack played well as a unit, but the three quarters failed to deliver when it mattered. A quality team would use the full width of the pitch and then look for loopholes in the opponents defence. TCK would have been licking their lips when they saw the overcast conditions and having trained at altitude, there was nothing more that they could ask for. Their three quarters were able to add the finishing touches to the hard work of the forwards. The set pieces especially the line-outs were scrappy and it is difficult to fathom why school teams opt to throw to the back of the line where gaining possession is that much more difficult. The scrums were very scrappy as well and the binding of the tight five requires loads of improvement. RC did well to close the gap in the last few minutes of the first half but thereafter failed to capitalise on the momentum that they had built up. TCK in all probability must have had some stern words spoken to them at the break as they did not allow the disastrous few minutes of the first half get the better of them. They looked focused and went about their business with a firm game plan in mind. The cover defence tackle by their No. 7 was definitely a try saver and was of high class. They take a valuable 12 point lead into the second leg. TCK has been playing some good rugby this season, and it will be difficult to beat them in their own den. If RC, is to make a fist of it they need some quality three quarters who are willing to run wide and run hard and take the ball into contact. Over reliance on the skipper could be their downfall once again. The commentary box was a general hive of excitement and some of the greats of yesteryear were behind the microphone. In their excitement they continued to refer to ‘we’ and ‘they’ which is a cardinal sin. As much as the referee should be impartial, so must the commentators, if we are to draw any learning from their comments and enjoy the game even more. (The writer can be reached via scrumaf@gmail.com)

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