Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 17, No. 13. July 15, 1953
Rugby . . . — Second Loss in Mud
Rugby . . .
Second Loss in Mud
For the second successive week University suffered defeat in the Athletic Park mud. Next week's game against St Pat's could be won but for some time St has been unofficially "written off." To retain the Cup the seniors must give improved displays against teams which have both competent backs and determined forwards.
Saturdays 6-3 loss was due primarily to the forwards' failure to operate as a pack until the final 30 minutes, and the backs' inability to counter the Heinie Muller tactics of Poneke'n No. 8 forward. Strong packing early in the game would have forced him to take a more active interest in the rucks. It was not until Captain Ivan Stuart stood behind his forwards in the early second spell line-outs and bound them together that the pack really got going. Their efforts were rewarded in Stuart's try which followed the best dribbling rush-on the Park this season—a move in which Nepia's intelligent ball control was a feature.
Savage had a torrid time but came through well, while Henley's defence was excellent. Henley surprised by not attempting to find the gap more in the later stages when Poneke concentrated on the elusive Fitzgerald, who was the outstanding back on the field. The backs tried to open up the game early with the dry bail but their play suffered from one or two misunderstandings. When combining better in the second spell, the greasy ball affected the handling. Fttzpatrick could not make much progress and the wings had little to do. Osborne often saved the day He may lack O'Callaghan's power but he can be relied upon to get the ball into touch.
It may be policy not to use the stab kick on a fine day but why enforce such a policy in the mud? The backs were often forced to run across field and lose ground when a short grubber kick would have embarrassed their opponents as much as University were embarrassed at times by similar tactics.
Although Fallen's try for Poneke was doubtful enough to make their supporters think they Here lucky, Poneke deserved to win as they maintained the pressure from start to finish. Games can be lost as easily in the first spell as in the second and that is what happened on Saturday.
"Salient" wishes Arthur Henley well on his departure for Waimate This modest five-eighth always plays welt and has often, as in the Hutt name proved a match winner. His place will be hard to fill.