The New South Wales Match.
WHAT is generally desenbed — and I share the geneial opinion — as the finest display of the Rugby game r\ er given on the Athletic Paik was the match between the representatives of New South Wales and Wellington on Saturday last. The play was as open as it was possible to bo, each side had a big turn at scoring, and the excitement during the second half was such as to satisfy the keenest "barracker " By the way, the spectators keen y appieciated the play, and applauded any good pieces, whether they were shown by the \isitors or the local team The Wellington skipper won the toss, and played with a keen northerly wind behind him. The opening play did not give any index of what was to follow, and it was only when New South Wales scored what is correctly desenbed as Wickham's try did the spectators begin to realise that they were going to get good value for the shilling they had spent at the gate Haxns, plaung half for the visitois, secured the ball from the serum about midfield, and in a senes of short passes it travelled on to Shortland, Hughes, and Wickham. The attack to this player had travelled down the right wine, but, instead of making for the touch-line Wickham, with a quick run into the centre of the field, transfened the play to the other quarter, and, sending it on to a dashing forward in Beaumont, the latter had three of his own men on his outside, with only one opponent to stop them A pass made at the right time enabled Lindsay to score one of the finest tries I have ever seen That the brilliant play shown by the visitors was admired the cheers that echoed round and round the Park fully demonstrated A neat pa^s by Wood to Manson, who got splendidly into position to receive it,
enabled that player to score Wellington's second try in the mateh — he having also scored the (nst three points as the result of a scrambling rush over the visitors' line. Tho Wellington players weie now •showing good foim, and continued on the aggiessive. Kelly, who was playing splendidly, got the ball from the soium, and, sending it on to Wood, this payer transferred to Mclntyie The match was to bo full of surprises, and ' Me" supplied some of them Showing an unexpected fleetness of foot he literally galloped across the goal-line and scored his first and his team's thud tiv Wallace, with an excellent kick pent the ball fair between the posts, and raised the score to 11 points. * * * In a minority of eight points when ends were changed, it appeared as more than probable that the Welshmen would win the match. And quickly they got to work, too, for hardly had the ball been kicked off, when Shortland dashed across the line, and bi ought his team's tally to six points. Then Conlon secured a mark at a long range, which Wickham, with a beautiful kick, sent fairly over the bar and between the posts. But eight minutes in the second half gone, and the scores were now 11 to 10 in Wellington's favour, and their chances of winning seemed very remote indeed. But a football match is never lost till it is won, and the Wellington team surprised even their keenest admirers by the splendid game they played Attack after attack of the visitors was frustrated, and they in turn attacked themselves with such success- as to notch two more tries, and bring their total up to 17 points The \isitors, in the meantime, were not idle, and peisistently kept the ball in the field of play Eleven — 10, 14 — 13, 17 — 10, was the way m which the respective scores mounted, and excitement w a.s kept at fever he-at. Quite a sigh of re lef emanated from the Wellington su^orters when the bell rang for "no-side," for the tension had been great. Reports said that the New South Wales team was a weak one Surely, then, if a weak team can play a game such as the visitors did on Saturday, two days after landing from a sea vo>age lasting five days, one feels ovei-
whelmed with the thought, of what would a strong team from the Mother State do with us when, they have got their land-Ws and playing up to their corioct form. There are a lot of New South Wales ashes in this colony, but, truth to toll, methinks it would not be long before their strong team would have ci edits to show on the slate. I am inclined to think, however, that the team is not as 1 weak as its detractors make out The football shown by them on Saturday was pleasine, and of an interesting character, and the extra man in the three-quarter line seemed to be a necessity rather than a hindrance, as in my own mind I thought it would be So much for the visitors. The game played by the Wellington men was a dogged, determined one in the second half, every man appearing to do his w ork in the very best style. There was not a laggard amongst them, and to that fact, and that alone, is attributab c the fortune that was theirs in winning the match by the narrow margin of one point. In W T ickham the visitors have really a fine back, though he failed to come up to his reputation as a place-kick. Lind&ay is full of pace and pluck. He is stated to be a more than probable competitor at the Australasian Championship meeting in Auckland in December next, being anxious to measure strides with George Smith over the 440 yds flat. The visitors' style of back play tends rather to collective than individual brilliancy, and one can hardly be sorted out as playing a better game than his confrere. Among the forwards, Judd, who, by the way, appears to be a newly-mamed man, and is accompanied by his wife, played brilliantly. Costello made a good skipper, and was ever in the thick of the fray. Beaumont is a fine stamp of a forward, and the remainder of the pack on Saturday were all willing and hard toilers. On the Wellington, side, the surprise of the afternoon was the brilliant form shown by Mclntyre. In Cup matches and previous representative games he generally was neglected, but on Saturday had p'enty to do. A slight hesitancy was noticeable in his first run, but the balance of them were full of dash and vigour.
Wrigley, Wallace, and Wood played right up to their best form, but Row did not have much to do, and Meredith has played many better games. Kellys game was one of the games of his life, especially when it is taken into consideration that he was suffering from a severe cold contracted on. the Southern tour. I fully expected to find him in the New Zealand team as the result of his showing before the selectors, and methinks one of the four half-backs chosen — Allen — could have been replaced bv Kellv. on the wing-forward, with advantage to the team. Manson secured the hat trick on Saturday — three tries — and right well he deserved it, for he played capitally. The forwards a 1 did well, Dodd, McAnally, and OBrien particularly so. * * # Mr. Fache gave great satisfaction as referee, his decisions pleasing both teams. Nowadays,- spectators, critics, and the players have arrived at the conclusion that it is possible for a referee to make mistakes — he is not infallible — and if a few things passed Mr. Fache's notice it was because he did not see them, not because he did not want to. I congratulate him on the excellent manner in which he controlled the game. ■* * * We are told as the result of the play in this match that the wing-forward is doomed, and that the four three-quarter game will be universally adopted in this colony. I fail to see this, for Wellington, with its wing-forwards and a back short, won the match, and not with an admitted'y stronger team than the visitors. "He who runs may read" — and an impartial critic, glancing at the scrummage as packed by the visiting team, would have noticed directly the Wellington team obtained possession the two back-row men in the pack detached themselves and run round on to Meredith, making themselves to all intents and purposes wing-forwards. If the wing-forward is to be abolished let it be done legitimately, and if the forwards are to be all pushers let them be so, and not half and half. These remarks do not apply exclusively to the New South Wales team and its style of play. Otago, Canterbury, and Southland ostensibly do not play wing forwards, yet in all the matches played
by the Wellington team on. its Southern tour the wing-forward w as there, though he was supposed to be picked to play in the pack. It may be said that the selectors of the New Zealand team have come to the conclusion that the wingforward is a tiling of the past, but I venture to assert that events will prove that in the match with New South Wales on the 31st instant, he will be there as large as life. In my opinion, tl c wing-forward is a necessary adjunct to the Rugby game, and, if keut in his place by the referee, will ever be so.
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The New South Wales Match., Free Lance, Volume II, Issue 60, 24 August 1901
The New South Wales Match. Free Lance, Volume II, Issue 60, 24 August 1901
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