Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 6. May 9, 1957
Rugby — After Jarden What?
After Jarden What?
With only two competition games behind them, the 1957 V.U.C. Senior XV show promise of developing into a real threat to any team that has visions of taking this years Jubilee Cup.
This is the indication to date, despite the fact that there has been considerable rejuvenation within the club this season through the retirement of such notable players and coaches as Ron Jarden. Jim Fitzgerald, Ivan Stuart (team captain for the last six years), and Messrs. Uttley and Burke who proved a most successful coaching and selecting combination combination during the golden era of V.U.C. Rugby—1952-54.
The N.Z.U.S.P.C. (New Zealand University Students Press [unclear: Council] is a [unclear: cir] of ideas for college editors. As such [unclear: it] Produce few concrete [unclear: result] achievement are [unclear: nevertheless] there. The field in which it has expanded—[unclear: pu] on N.Z.U.S.A., and, this year, Congress, have [unclear: shown] it can undertake.
They have [unclear: it] succeeded in fostering [unclear: a con] [unclear: scimis] some other than sport. The latest [unclear: Supplement] this issue.
As a result, even the closest Varsity supporters were not very enthusiastic for the success of this year's much younger side, or its chances of even making sixth place for the Jubilee Cup.
However, as time has revealed, their fears seem to be unfounded, from the results shown even at this somewhat early stage of the season.
Although we have never held the opinion that Varsity has ever been a one-man team even in Jarden's heyday, in the light of what has happened to date we are now firmly convinced beyond all doubt that our XV has always been thoroughly trained, well balanced unit which is a breeding-ground for players of exceptional promise to play their way to the top.
We agree that Jarden possessed extraordinary speed and anticipation, is probably the best wing-three quarter New Zealand has produced—but may we pose the following question: How far would Jarden have got in the game if he had joined Poneke or W.C.O.B., for instance?
We feel that Jarden's rise to international fame was due in no small way to the play of such men as Fitzgerald, Fitzpatrick, and Savage inside him, to mention only a few of the grand members of the team of the early 1950's.
The season got under way with a match against Wanganui Tech. Old Boys, Varsity winning 17-9. A week later the team played W. N. Gray's XV at Takapau. With Jarden playing for only half the game and such formidable opponents as McEwan, Vodanovich, Keepa, Douglas, Gray, Marett, etc., Varsity did well to concede the match by 26-22.
These two pre-competition games provided a valuable guide to this year's sole selector-coach, Mr. Frank Muller, a former Wellington rep. winger, who played for the senior XV 1951-2-3.
In the first competition match against Hutt, Varsity, during a brilliant display of bright open football, ran their opponents off their feet, to win by 36-6. As a result, they were billed against Onslow at the Park for their second competition game. Onslow were pre-post favourites for this year's Jubilee Cup, but once again Varsity confounded the critics by turning on typical fast open display to beat Onslow convincingly by 19-6 (two penalties). This game revealed the superior speed and better teamwork of the Varsity team, especially the forwards who had a good deal less weight than their opposite numbers.
And what of the futuro?
Will our boys be able to maintain their most promising start to this season?
What effect will the wet grounds later in the winter have on our lighter forwards, when they are asked to tussle with such fine packs as Petone and Athletic?
Will Varsity be able to find a lineout specialist in the very near future?
What impact will the provincial and national selectors have on our chances of winning the Cup?
These are only a few of the questions which University fans will be asking themselves. However, we firmly believe that University will be in the final four when the whistle blows for the last Jubilee Cup match for 1957. We also feel that the forwards will match but not necessarily master their heavier but slower opponents, when the grounds become sodden. We hold this view on a pack that comprises All Black Bill Clark, Barry Hutchinson (who leads the side this year), Don Roisterer, a tough campaigner from Taranaki with a reliable boot) and Paul Jensen, whose experience adds solidarity to the front row. Also in the pack are Perry Preston-Thomas, a promising lock who played last year, and newcomers Tim Loughman, and Don Hrow. Behind the scrum, Col. Henderson is going great guns. He must stand a great chance of touring later this year with the New Zealand University team.
At first five-eighth, newcomer Bill Roberts is proving a valuable link. Mike Watson, wisely shifted to second five-eighth this year, is showing sound form. Who knows, he may even develop into a winger in two years time (he was halfback for the seniors in 1954).
At centre is Tony Clark (brother of Bill). He continues to impress as a fast elusive back who promises to develop, with experience, into All Black material. Tony Clark and Barry Hutchinson are V.U.C.'s reps, in the trials to select the All Black team to tour Australia later this year.
On the right wing in Terry Ryan who showed very promising form towards the end of last season after an early set-back through injury. Barring injury, Terry should be set for higher honours in the game. The vacant left wing position caused by retirement of Ron Jarden has been ably filled by Jarden's last season stand-in, Dick Heron. At fullback once again we have Peter [unclear: Osborne], reliability and consistency have been invaluable on many occasions.
Everything in the Varsity camp, therefore, augurs well for the future. New team-members Tim Loughnan, Don Trow, and Bill Roberts are showing early-season promise and fitting into the machine very well.
However, we feel that a terrific struggle lies ahead if they hope to win the coveted Jubilee Cup. We know they will rise to the occasion and maintain the high tradition of V.U.C. rugby. Who knows, we may have another generation of Jardens and Fitz's in the making?
Last year Varsity won the club championship for most points scored in all grades by any club. This year the club has entered ten teams in the Wellington R.F.U. competition, a notable new entrant being the Weir House Old Boys team. We hope the club will continue in its winning way, and that quality will not be sacrificed for quantity.
With the new ground and gymnasium on the old Te Aro Park now almost ready for use, the local University Club is surely destined for a prosperous future.—B.A.H.