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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 15, No. 14. July 24, 1952

Varsity Regain Rugby Co-Leadership — Savage Dictates Tactics

page 4

Varsity Regain Rugby Co-Leadership

Savage Dictates Tactics

A Packed grandstand, rising to its feet and applauding the Varsity team as it left the field expressed the admiration of all for the magnificent performance the team gave on Saturday. It was not bright, open football which had captured the crowd but something even more praiseworthy. It was the determination to win—to win despite the heavy odds against them.

At first sight the conditions seemed made for the heavy Marist forwards and strong kicking O'Callaghan. But as one reflects on the game this did not seem to be correct. The ground was not so sodden that quicker movement was made impossible. It seemed that it was rather of a nature which still allowed the more nimble of foot to move, if not with comparative ease at least quite freely. I think it merely accentuated the difference in mobility of the two forward packs.

It may bo repetition to say that the feature of the game was the fast following up by the Varsity forwards but no account which claimed to give any indication of the game would be complete without this statement. They nullified the monopoly of possession. Marist gained from the line-outs and scrums. Hunt's insecure play was made even more noticeable by harassing Varsity flankers. O'Callaghan was given little chance to use his powerful boot or his strong tackle-bursting run. A dropped or mis-directed pass was seized upon by the Varsity forwards who thus turned lack of possession into an undeniable advantage.

The ball was slippery and made back play dangerous. Marist's only try appeared to be marred by an infringement which passed unnoticed by the referee. But this should not be taken as an attempted detraction from Breen's five movement.

The backs tackled well and with a grim purposefulness. On attack they were given few chances. In general they showed admirable adaptation to conditions.

It would be unfair to select any member of the pack for individual commendation. Their strength lay in that they worked as a pack, not eight individual forwards. The manner in which the forwards, although without three of their regular number, mastered the Marist eight, was an eye-opener to many an Athletic Park patron.

The weather and underfoot conditions made it a half-back's day. Sav. ago on Saturday was quick to realise this. His tactical play could not be faulted. In the second spell with Marist pressing hard his line-kicking proved of incalculable benefit. His co-ordination with the forwards aided them greatly in their battle against the formidable Marist eight. Savage's play was one of the main factors which enabled Varsity to hold their six-point lead during the second spell.

Bartell's two penalties which gave Varsity its only points were splendid efforts, considering the heavy ball. His speed enabled him to play a very important role on both defence and attack.

The selection of Jarden and Fitz-patrlck for the N.Z. team comes as no surprise to those who have followed their play during this season. Our congratulations to them both.