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COMMENTS ON THE GAME.

CONDITION WINS THE MATCH. THE TEAMS .COMPARED. (By Off-Side Mac.) •' Wel|ington won tho game mainly .on the condition of their forwards,, and tho fact that their_ backs showed themselves capable of retrieving their mistakes, which in several instances were changed into trumps, 6imply by quick-wittedness. • Had the Anglo-Welshmen played in tho first spell as they did in tho second half, thero is a slight probability that t-hoy might have won. Tho fact has to be considered, however, that in tho first half tho visitors wero playing against a stiff breeze, and that with the help of the elements the Wellington men subjected them to a very strenuous at? tack, which found several weak chains in tho Anglo-Welshmen's defence. In making a fail- comparison between tho

capabilities of the two teams, it' should be remembered that the visitors lost the services of :Jackett, their full-back, for quite forty minutes of the game, and that-during th'is . time they played with fourteen men, although'they were invited to effect-a replacement; by • Roberts, tho Wellington, captain. Ono can "givo consideration to,tho possibilities which may havo eventuated had Jackett not' been forced to retire, and then come'to the conclusion that on the gamo played yesterday, tho better team won. The Bettor Team. Tho .question as to which were tho better men was quickly settled in the second half, when tho Anglo-Welshmen .had run their score up t0,13 points, arid'were'only'3 points to the, bad. . The, Wellington men immediately. throw themselves into' tho vortex of tho struggle .with all ,the' skill and strength which ! they j were . capable. -...The ' visitors had exactly, tho samp clyinco of stemming tho. tide, and, if possible, turning it into a victory, but they were'manifestly notequal to tho effort. They: fought- hard, and resisted every foot of the way* but gradually but surely, the Wellington men woro them back, and ijnally ' 'set tho . issue beyond ■ all doubt, by a nwst-deserved score. 'Wellington's brilliant! effort on . this occasion, will long bo remembered,^'when games'will bo fought 'over tiriio and again in the conversations of the "Old Has Bqens" of days gone by and' tho-" youhg-ideas". of. the days to come./ ' Where the Anglo-Welsh men failed was in tho fact that-'when they had chances'of scoring .amongst their backs they missed a number of them badly, and that-their forwards did not evince sufficient untiring industry.. A number, of them, notably rWilliam's and Morgan, played a very hard game in every particular, but there were occasions'

when the backs had seconds in order to get their kicks in, when they should liavo been swamped by the visiting forwards. It can safely bo stated that, on the other hand, the Wellington forwards invariably following up in a body—it was only on a few occasions that thero was observed a-solitary unit chasing up the leather—and there is 110 doubt whatevor that ill this department of tho game the Wellington forwards of yesterday upheld ono of 'tho recognised traditions of Rugby. The Visitors' Style. ' 1 An analysis of the Anglo-Welshmen's style of play shows that they are making a mistake in committing themselves to the introduction of tho Now Zealand wing-forward system, and at tho samo time keeping a scrum; formation of three, two,- two. The visitors- serum yesterday was at times littlo more than a ■ rabble, and, then, in addition, they were handicapped by the inclusion of a "winger"'who really knew very little about tho game. ■ It seems as if tho Anglo-Welshmen will I

either have to revert, wholly to the New Zealand forward system, or abandon the wing-forward idea, and play tho oW eight men scrum formation . approved rb'y the authorities of Great Britain.' Taking everything into'consideration, thero is no doubt that the visitors' play was rather disappointing. They had given an indication at Wairarapa that they were decidedly an aggressive combination amongst their back division, but yesterday portions of the rearguard failed lamentably. They lost innumerable chances by long .insufficient i passing, and in this rcspeot' "Ponty" Jones has a lot to answer for, and then, again, their backs evinced a selfishness totally at variance with tho reputation- of such a team, and generally in marked contrast to tho disjilay of tho Wellington backs. • Aggressive Tactics. It must bo admitted that a team which can put on 13 points" iii one spell. knows something about aggressive"'tactics'.' '■ '.'Tho visitors scored this number ,'iii;- the'' second half, but it must be remembered that Wellington scored 16 points iii similar circumstances,' and then as a finale added on another 3 points against' ,tho' most 'adverse conditions. There is, therefore, 'absolutely' no doubt that Wellington'proved themselves the better team. ... Summed up, one might ' say, that" the' 'Anglos-Welshmen lost the £ame through indecision and lack of condition.. It 'is' very probable'that these, failings' jvill- be' rectified as the tour goes, on, and that''our' visitors may finish up in a much more' strenuous style. . ."'; '.', v Too Much Bunching. ;' ! There was a disposition of Harding's backs to bunch too much at times, as, for instance, when Roberts scored tho first try. for Wellington from Green's pass; then-again: when Roberts seemed to run straight through tho visitors' ruck, and passed to.Hardham, who. scored. The bunching iii ! this' case seeiried'to,, bo of a description which allowed the Wellington skipper to run as far as .-he .could without being touched by any one* of the opposite side.. In eleven minutes'. ; play , the. visitors lost 8 points; by ; mistakeswhich, should not, in any circumstances, havo been permissible, in , an ordinary, club'fifteen..;- It : is very probable that thero .was- every excuse for the next score by Wellington,. that by Green, who slid' over in/a very, smart' dash just on tho visitors' goal-line, but the same bunching of-players -was apparent jvhen Thomson badly beat the Colours' and the try at half-time, which brought Welling---, ton's score up to 16 points. Spectator's Point of Vlew; ( ' ■ iFrom the spectator's point' of view '■ it was fortunate that Wellington proved'_ themselves ■ unreliable in a certain degree in defence. Had it been otherwise, the match in the second spell would have. been _ absolutely tame. With tho visitors' attacking ' desperately, howover, and scoring, and.with Dyke's magnificent place-kicking, the issue was in doubt right up to nearly the end of' the gamej when Mitchinson scored the try which practically settled all chances; of the visitors winning.Wellington's Attractive Play.. , . v So far as they were concerned, -Wellington all round played a good and attractive game. They scrummed well, their forwards broke up and followed up smartly, and thoir backs seldom i hesitated to throw the;,- ball ■ about, wllen occasion demanded. that procedure. Roberts possibly might bo chargod-with showing suspicions of selfishness, but ; with '.few exceptions the other players never-hesitated to-hand tho ball about to comrades who happened to bo in a better"position;than themselres. -'■ Although the Wellington 'forwards were superior in tho scrum, generally in following up, ' and • also on the line-out, and their backs were much better at passing, the Anglo-Welshmen may be said to have taken the honours iat kicking. Dyke's place-kicks over the goal from different angles were . foa-t-ures in themselves,' whilothe -same player was also very' successful '.'.with' his . touch-line kicks; It is perhaps onlyi in' this - department of-' the game'that'-the'visitors' were superior. :, -The most' noticeable back 'on 1 the field was. Green, the Wellington ' half, who played with' the' shrewdness of a veteran. 1 . ■"■'• He worked, kicked, ran, and passed -in quite the approved, style, and although one of the lengthy Ij'st of • players who:'were' temporarily incapacitated,; lie stuck to' his -work through thick and thln; ; -and ' came out 'with flying colours. • , ; ~ . A Stroke of Genius. Both Roberts.and Wallace.at.five-eighths did welli at times. ■'Roberts was >the:'more 7 prominent, his 1 dash '' through ' the • AngloWelsh nick, when he passed to Hardham; was a"stroke, of-genius',^a'nd.'he^was^plucky in stopping' some ,of .the fierco rushes led by J. r F: Williams, E; 1 Morgan.- and Ritson.', Evenson, Mitchinson, and -Thomson were' a very even trio in the' 'three-quarter.dine. All .played wellat-" times'; .'still they'.were patchy. Evenson waS" responsible : for ; tlie visitors' ■ first try, when. :he> attempted to kick' instead' of" markingp Mitchinson let M'Evedy pass . him very easily, when the doctor scored his try,'.while, Thomson showed no great'partiality f6f, u lTish stopping. . His try, from Wallace's simple kick, when lie beat Williams, was. a remarkably fine'effort, but ho did not appear' to show tho same pace when he was dragged dowil from behind by "Ponty" Jones." Spencer played a. very'good game as fullback. He fielded at times'very well,'but he was responsible for' J. IJ.; .Williams's try through mulling a big kick,'_ which was'followed up fast by'J. Fl: William's;""'".'"The Forwartls.." : ",' : / Amongst the forwards, Hardham., was very, prominent on the wing.,. He followed up very well, and hampered th'e'visitors' halves continually. ..At one stage..,ho' had .Dyke :op-' posed to him, and then, when Jackett., >>'as, forced to retire, Dyke,.went- to,,full-back, and Dayey played a.hiilf-wing-foriyard'.game.' In the circumstances, Hardham had much, the better.of it.'. In throwing out,from the line, the Petone man might , have: striven ; to have made the game more Rush and Dewar. : were •> possibly . "the most conspicuous ;. 0f,.;-, a . team ,- of forwards, amongst whom . there was , not a weak man. It must'-be several years sinco a Wellington' representative, forward team gave such a good all-round exhibition. : , The Anglo-Welsh BacKs., : Had the Anglo-Welsh .backs, taken advan-, tage of their opportumties in .the. .firsthalf. there might have been-a, different story to tell. ■ That they 'did not do . as they should , have done, time after ..time, proved in some measure their weakness. > That they., did score, and in such an linexpected fashion, only served to show what they might have doiio had they.followed .tho.,ordinary_,regulations regarding ithe playing of .the game. In the position of full-back'Jackett was' unfortunato in being injured in the first tellminutes of tho game, and 'although iie" returned to the.field at intervals lib really was not fit to do-himself justice. While he was ' -playing, however,, he, did 'some' very fine punting. " , " J. L. Williams was the most prominent; of the three-quarter backs. He did some' very fino kicking and running, and, as at Wairarapa, scored a fine: try. M'Evedy played a better game than he'did at Wairarapa. Ho scored a fine try,, and tackled well. In company \vith "Ponty" Jones,' he was not too certain at fielding- the ball. Gibbs was fairly good on the defence, and on one occasion, when; collarod ■ by tho foot by Spencor, the Wellington full-back, ho ■ narrowly escaped ' racing over tho'goal-line as he did in'last Saturday's match. "Ponty" Jones made sovoral mistakes; and, with tho oxcoptioi} of some fino punting, gavo a very patchy performance. Laxon and Davy did very well. Laxon did, much better, than he might hayo done, for tho referee watchod him closely, for apparently he' found it only too easy for himself to overcome his. scruples regarding the right to abstract the leather boldly from tho scrum. Davey played a good defensive game. ( The British Forwards. Coming to the forwards, who were said' to average thirteen and a half stone, tho ' most active partisans were J. F. Williams, ; E. Morgan, and Ritson. Williams was prominent all through the game, especially , in ; tho loote and following up. Morgan was perhaps more prominent in the very , hard work. He was at times brilliant on . the

lino-out. His style of taking the leather is like that of " Rangi" Wilson, but he makes more headway at it, owing to his greater' weight.: . , The Coming Matches. In Monday's criticism it was stated thai) if tho previous Saturday's match was to bo taken as a critorion, that it was evident the team would be tho most brilliant attack- , ing combination seen since the days of Stoddart's champions. It can be taken for granted, however, that it would not bo fair to New Zealand football to make any similar sweeping assertion now that we havo seen tho visitors up against' a much stronger combination than that of AVairarapa. In a way one may assume that Wairarapa and Wellington represent respectively almost the weakest and the strongest representative . ' fifteens in the Dominion. It is hardly likely that tho- Anglo-Welshmen will have a stronger provincial fifteen to beat than one of tho same calibre as, Wellington, and there ■wiU not bo' anything 'much weaker than' 'Wairarapa. _ With a little more condition,' more initiative,. and, at. the same time, less selfishness amongst their backs, the , visitora ■ should ' go much' better, and if they : only ■ have the benefit of Vassall and Harding there should be no reason why they .should 'not win the majority of their matches. BRIEF INTERVIEWS. A DELIGHTED CAPTAIN. Interviewed by a Dominion reporter after •the contest, Freddy 'Roberts,.' the , genial ' .captain'of the Wellington' team,; stated that . ho was very pleased with the display which his side had made. , i "Had youi any misgivings prior l to the ■match?" he was asked. ' ' ; "None at all. I had watched the men . carefully during the' practices, and I felt confident that they would acquit themselves ...creditably." •■ ■ At this stage some • enthusiasts near : by shouted in unison: "What about the critics i now!" . - ■ "Were, there any particularly bright spots- - , in'tho teapi?" was the next question. "Well, it. is: certain that thero wero no ' •dull ones.-: Lcan't say too much in favour of the members of the team; and its nouso- ■ !• trying to single any of. them out.' If there is one whom I should like to mention-speci- { * ally it is_ little _ Clem- Green.' ' I must-say . that he-is a little- brick; he shirked no-' ../ thing." 1 ' ■ i .■• ■. "To - what do you attribute success?" queried i the reporter. ■ . "It was undoubtedly our forwards, who ' won the match.. They spoiled the-visitors'-attompts to attack, and broko down their ! 1 defence. ■ , The backs also-made the , most of , their opportunities.?' v . . ... "And. what.. about the tactics of the. - victors?" : "In the first spell, as., we had everything in our favour, wo opened up the game!, as much as possible, whilst, in the second spell,. with the wind against us, we-followed defensive tactics. The-tight double line proved very .effective." '. : ; ; the teams .compare, in, the - ' , matter "of form?-".' ■-, . ; -. "Oh, the Wellington side are at, the top ' 1 ." of their form. On tho other hand, the V Britishers are; short j of' work! I - think the' visitors "were heavier all round." <•' ■■ "W'hat were, their most fatal-mistakes?"-"In the first place they- should not havo continued to use the, deep tlirow-out , when . they/ sawwhat' they v , were losing thereby. •. Secondly, l their backs invariably ran across ' the-field instead' of cutting in, and, besides,; ':?, their- ; work was'; not so clean as it might ■ :.- have been." : '. . • ■ "How do' the visitors compare with. ■'■■■■ Bedell-Sivright's:.team?" "The team at. present in the Dominion. 1 , will .'.do much better, later on in the tour: . - In my opinion the forwards are better than . those of the 1904-team| but tho backs are not so good.". - -. ■•;■"' .IMR; CEO. HARNETT'S "IF." "Wellj Mr. Harnett, what: did you think.' : ! of the match?" 'said, a- Dominion reporter-" to. the manager of the English team after* yesterday's game. ' •' "What; do T think of: it?" returned ,Mr.: ; Harnett. '"Why,, if we had had. this man ,(slapping| Harding on the back),' and Jackett had not been■' injured, we. should , have won—won well!"' ■ ,■ "Yes, tho loss of Jackett must have ' meant, a good deal," remarked the reporter.; "I .should thinjc it did—we practically lost his 'services after the first ten : minutes—one of our vory best.. It was a great pity." ' , ; ; > "It was," agreed the reporter,: "and what about, the'.game generally?" ■ "Our fellows lacked 'go' in the first spelL , ,-. They, put no 'devil' in it—don't know what . ' was the matter,-but it's a fact. The second spell was different— I very different,.'what ido you . think ?" ' ■ " ~ : v ■ ,"It does not .matter what I think, but ; what, do-you think?" ;.. '•■ ■ "I : think,'.'. said Mr. Harnett,"' laughing, , "that our boys ; make a; jolly good side yet. ,' i Wait till .they strike,; form."' . ' ■ . . Mr. Harnett expressed himself- as astounded at the immense; crowd; on the Athletic-Park, • ' andftho earnestness with which they and the \ public; generally view Rugby in Now Zea- ■:. . land, i; "I can, see,"' said Mr. Harnett, "that it .is no'sport with you people; it is a , '.deadly-reality, and I am not surprised that > your, people are so successful with.'it. In-. , .-England jWO treat it merely as a. sport.", : vV MR. HARDING'S VIEWS. : The English' captain, who was a spectator • at,-yesterday's; match, ' wasthinking, toe :-k hard' to communicative at the/finish. He .said-'.-that:,under' the circumstances lie- considers "liis. team did very well, and he looked forward'-, to them doing better- in future | matche's. He was still confident. '. ■■ -.- - ' THE GATE. RECEIPTS £1125. 1 .Mr.; J. J); Avery, secretary' of the NewZealand Rugby Union; informed a Dominion reporter that the. attendance atHlio Park was . something over 18,000,': and that the receipts - wero £1125, with'alittlo ticket,money yot to come: Apart from , those who paid for admission, there'wero; some hundreds of. people . who witnessed the match from houses and ; grounds adjoining the Park, and it is csti-" ' : mated that nearer 20,000 than'lß,ooo witnessed yesterday's £amc. .' ' Tho : record attendance ' for the'. Athletio '■ ; ' : Park .was on the occasion cf the match New' Zealand v. Great Britain (Bedell-Sivwright's' - team) j in 1904, when; 22,000 peoplo passed 1 through; the gates. ■ ; ; MISCELLANEOUS NOTES. , VISITORS LEAVE FOR THE (SOUTH. The. . English; team and the .Wellington re-. presentatives, : with a few. officials of the-New Zealand Union, di'ncd/together last evening : at the : Grand Hotel.; ; The visitors immedi- , ately ; , aftenvards gathered, up their-belong-^ ings -and wont -aboard the Maori en route to ; V Lyttelton. A great crowd gathered,at the wharf, and fce ferry boat was dispatched with rousing cheers. Tlie visitors appeared to bo! iii excellent' spirits. They are to - play, at Duncdin on Saturday. ■ ' Tho British forwards have very'little idea of the off-side, rule as it obtains in New Zealand. Moro than one instance was given during yesterday's game. For instance, the British pack would follow up the kick of one of their backs. The _ Wellington backs . would return tliQ ball, which would bo kicked back again by the Britishers' rearguard. In tho meantime, tho pack would stand offside waiting i for tho return kick.; On more than one occasion tho ball was landed in amongst. them, and although they did not actually play it, they made -no attempt to get away from it,-as they, should have done. ■ Amongst tho old-itimo Now Zealand Rugby representatives wli'o' viewed yesterday's match were Messrs. W. T. Wynyard. Dumbell, and E. Davy. Mr. Wynward, who was a member of tho New Zealand. Native team which visited England in . 1888, is of ''the. opinion that, judging by the present English team, football in Great Britain is not neaily so good as it was-twenty years ago. ■ Theio are no backs in'the present team, says Mr ■\Vynyard, who could compare with-men like Stoddart, Lockwood, or Andertou.'' -Mr '- Wynyard considers that the English for- ' Awards of Harding's fifteen aro in rather' ■ 1 soft" condition. ' . ,

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COMMENTS ON THE GAME., Dominion, Volume 1, Issue 209, 28 May 1908

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COMMENTS ON THE GAME. Dominion, Volume 1, Issue 209, 28 May 1908

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