DESCRIPTION OF OPENING MATCHES.
AND HOME NOTES AND COMMENTS. (From Our Special Correspondent.) LONDON, 20th September. The New Zealand footballers opened their tour most brilliantly last Saturday in their match against Devon. The best report I have seen of tho match is that furnished by the special correspondent of the Sportsmau, whose description of the play I append. He says: — "There is nothing like getting well off the mark, and the New Zealanders may be said to have set the seal of the success of their tour, at least financially, by &o handsomely beating Devon in the first match of the tour. Nine goals and four tries to one dropped goal spells something sensational in the way of a victory. But Devon were beaten in pace, and outolaased in football, It was reputed to be Devon's best side that went under ao badly at Exeter. The men failed utterly at every turn and at every point. Forward they were hopeless, for they nevdr got the bail; outside, what chances came to them were oast away by indiscriminate passing and poor kicking ; and the general defence was weak, and, after the firsb feAV minutes, demoralised. It will be necessary to wait for the New Zealanders to meet some really good-class English teams before coming' to an equitable conclusion as to the real merits of our colonial visitors. As a- body of football players, tho New Zealnnders have superb physique. They showed wonderful pace, and on quito a summer afternoon they stayed splendidly through the two 'fortie*.' As had been expected, their great strength is forward. They can shove well when necessary, but, generally speaking, there is none of the old-fashioned forward work in their game. There is no promiscuous packing ; ever; man has his position, and always keeps it Avken in scrummage formation. Getting command of the ball, they heel swiftly, and then in the loose uso their feet well in dribbling, and follow up at a terrific pace. Tie disposition of the bucks, when all is said and done, is not dissimilar from the Welsh system? There is one orthodox half to work the scrummage, and one inside stand-off half, while the second stand-off 'half is virtually a fourth threequarter. But the great innovation in their game is the winging forward. As a matter of face, he is not a forward, ■ and is a wolf hi sheep's clothing. Ho makes no pretence to do scrummage work, but claims the privilege of a forward. Apparently his position has been invented to obstruct tho opposing half, and the only thing that English clubs will have to do over here is to play 'diamond cut diamond,' and throw out from the scrummage a player to fulfil the same duties. But is this 'winging' football? We think not. And referees have the rules to support them in constant application of the off-side penalty. We can see trouble ahead when ■ this /winger' finds himself opposed to certain
class halves that we can call to mind. From Saturday we can only echo the general comment on the stand — 'Poor little Jago.' The plucky little Devon half was over-awed by the strange tactics, and was practically non est as an attacking half for Devon. Apart from this, we have only praises to sing of the New Zealanders outside the scrummage. Stead and Hunter, who were to all intents and purposes three-quar-ters, although 'coloured on the card* as five-eighths, were very great, but the outside right wing forward was a revelation in tile matter of passing (receiving or returning) and pace. We refer to W. Wallace, who, besides his wealth in all these accomplishments, is a great place-kick. THE TEAMS. The Sportsman's report of the Devon match is a catalogue of New Zealand tries. Both with the sun and against it (in the second half) the procession went on. In the second half, Devon, helped by a penalty kick, reached the visitors' line, and the ball being sent back to the Devon full-back, he potted a brilliant goal. New Zealand 55, Devon 4. Referee : Mr. Percival Coles, an old Oxford player, and Secretary of the English Rugby Union. Teams : — Devonshire : F. Lillicrap (Devonport Albion), back; Lieut. Moir (Devonport Albion), A. J. R. Roberts (Barnstaple), E. J. Vivyan (Devonport Albion), and F. Dean (Albion), threequarter backs; R. Jago (Devonport Albion) and J. Peters (Plymouth), halfbacks; M. Kelly (Exeter), J. Tucker (Toiqu.vy Athletic), T. Willocks (Plymouth), D. Gordon, W. Spiers (Capt ), and W. Mills (Devonport Albion), J. Huggins (Paignton), and W. Knight (Plymouth), forwards. Now Zealand : G. Gillett (Canterbury), back ; W. J. Wallaco (Wellington), G. W. Smith (Auckland), and H. Thomson (Wanganui), threequarter backs ; W. Stead (Southland) and J. Hunter (Taranaki), five-eighths ; F. Roberts (Wellington), halfback ; G. Tyler (Auckland), A. H. Casey (Otago), W. Cunningham (Auckland), J. O. Sullivan (Taranaki), G. W. Nicholson (Auckland), G. Seeling (Auckland), F. Glasgow (Taranaki), and D. Gallaher (Auckland), forwards. SOME COMMENTS. Sporting Life says:— There are some, no doubt, who will make the excuse for Devon that at this period of the Season our mon over here are not fit. This is probably true, but still it cannot altogether account for Devon's rout. From a purely selfish and insular point of view this fine initial poiformance on the part of New Zealand is a fine thing for Rugby football in England, where the game wants a fillip. Opinions will probably differ as to how far this result was due to the undoubted individual superiority of the colonials, and how far to the system of organisation under which they played. The use of a special winging forward, and the peculiar arrangements of a single half, two "five-eighths," and three three-quarters palpably upset the home side, who never quite knew where they were ; but as the Ne»v Zealanders are equally strangers to English tactics, any advantage they reaped from their style of play must be due to its intrinsic merits. Superior', speed alono would have given the visitors the victory. Though only seven of them regularly packed into the scrum, with two men in front opposed to our three, they gathered and heeled the ball nineteen times out of twenty with clockwork precision, and F. Roberts, wonderfully smart half, got it out to his backs with speed and accuracy. Gallagher meantime saw to it that the home halves had very little chance to interfere with this programme, which consequently became the principal feature of the match. Once the ball got outside it travelled all along the lins, and sometimes back again in short, sharp tran&feis taken at full speed with unerring surety. It would have taken a very strong back division to smother such tactics effectually, and that was just what Devon did not possess. The Devonshire crowd, lifted above local prejudice by the sensational performance, heartily acclaimed the colonials as the better men. The Daily News says : All the men are speedy, Wallace being particularly fast, and individually they are good. Gallaher, the wing forward, who is in reality an extra half, was an important factor in the game, his main duties being to shield the half, waiting to receive the ball at the rear of the scrummage, and to check the opposing halves. He fulfilled his purpose excellently, and undoubtedly had a demoralising effect upon the Devon men. Another London paper says — Devon missed one fine chance, and lhii> opportunity being thrown away the New Zealanders promptly increased their lead. The wing forward (says the* Daily News) is an important personage in colonial football, and a player of possibilities. We have had his prototype here, in a modified form, in C. V. Rooke, the famous Irish international of Ihe nineties, while years ago S. M. J. Woods was also useful at ,tho game. We can quite imagine the "man with the roving commission" working havoc among the English backs at times. And, providing the remaining seven forwards are capable of holding their own with the opposing eight, ho is practically an eighth back. But with teams of the calibre of teams to be met, wo think the superfluous energy of the "winger" will be required in tho scrummage.
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DESCRIPTION OF OPENING MATCHES., Evening Post, Volume LXX, Issue 104, 30 October 1905
DESCRIPTION OF OPENING MATCHES. Evening Post, Volume LXX, Issue 104, 30 October 1905
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