Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 15, No. 10. June 11, 1952
The Season So Far in Retrospect
The Season So Far in Retrospect
Heavy rain during this week, which continued until early Saturday, made the parks, in the opinion of our highly respected city fathers, unfit for play. As the day progressed one was inclined to question the wisdom of their decision.
Perhaps excessive faith in the accuracy of the meteorological office, hardly understandable in Wellington, caused them to reach the verdict they did. Whatever their reasons their decision has given Wellington people yet another excuse for the display of the representative team on the heavy ground at Palmerston North.
It has afforded us however with an opportunity to do a little stocktaking. Up to date, the senior fifteen has performed creditably. With only one defeat the chances of bringing the Jubilee Cup "up the hill" seem brighter than in many pervious seasons. Whether the team succeeds or not is subordinate to the fact that they are playing bright football.
The British Isles team showed to what extent N.Z. Rugby had deteriorated since the war. Oh yea, we beat them, but—how many times since have Rugby administrators wept over our success? Only once before in N.Z. has a team's success been lamented so deeply—when Wellington beat the "Kiwis" in 1946.
This has shown that open football, although it may not be winning football has at last obtained its que recognition. Coaches Burke and Uttley deserve great credit for the contribution they are making to Wellington Rugby. Even greater commendation must go to the players who have implemented in practice what others have developed in theory.
Having finished our general survey let us now move to the particular.
Five wins, one loss. The loss taught us more than many of the victories. It showed the necessity of the possession of the ball. It also showed that our forwards must make up for their lack of weight by greater fitness. For as the game nears the final whistle the strain of fighting a pack superior in weight to your own, demands great heart and stamina.
The forwards against Petone showed that they were, at least, the equal of any ordinary club pack. In this instance they showed a marked superiority. In lineout play they have proved themselves superior to any team they have so far encountered.
Much has been written about the back-line. Praise has been unstinted. With regard to the star players anything we could say, would be merely repetition. But a few ideas could be forwarded concerning the remainder of the backs.
Parker, with the added protection he has been receiving, has shown himself to be a competent club halfback.
The play of Henley at first five-eighths may yet persuade the Wellington selectors to include another University player in the representative team. However, a word of warning. For a first five-eighths to be caught in possession with a three-quarter line the calibre of ours outside him is a cardinal sin. One gained the impression from last Saturday's game that Henley may be falling into that error. He must maintain a balance between being purely a link, which allows the opponents to concentrate on has out-sides, and to be aggressive, which would deprive his three-quarter line of possession.
Although overshadowed by Jarden, and there is not many wings who would not be, Muller has this season, played good football. A sound defence, a good turn of speed and a safe pair of hands has made him an asset to the side. But his biggest contribution to the team's success lies, I think, in his backing up of Osborne. When tackling on his own goal-line Muller does not make the common mistake of tackling low, and allowing his man to fend the ball with his hand. He has on numerous occasions succeeded in smothering the player, ball and all.
At full-back Osborne has lacked confidence. This is more than likely due to the injury he sustained last season. As a consequence he has not shown the form which he did early last year.
As regards future prospects much depends on the game against Wellington. If the team meets with success in this game then our chances in the Jubilee Cup will be enhanced considerably. But half the season is still to come and to coin a phrase (?) "Rugby is an unpredictable game."
The best of luck football team and whether you win or loose "air" the ball.