Head-on Collision by Dad Bear
Head-on Collision, a photo by Dad Bear on Flickr.

13/2/2012, Republic Polyclinic, Singapore,

On Matchday 3 of the B division Rugby tournament, ACS(I) played Pioneer Secondary School. On Matchday 1, PSS had held heavyweights Raffles Institution to a mere 37-0 win, and in doing so, gained much respect from the other teams in the league.
Taking the opportunity to rest certain players, it was a different ACS(I) team which took to the pitch compared to the one which started against SJI. To their credit, PSS never showed that they were intimidated. They had a few big forwards in their ranks who were not scared to run with the ball. In the opening exchanges, PSS appeared comfortable in possession and also very adept at kicking. It was however, the boys from Dover who adapted faster to the plastic pitch on RP, scoring the first try down the left wing. From then on, there was no looking back as ACS(I) attacked relentlessly. Forcing errors in the PSS backline. PSS only reply was through a penalty 30m out in front of the posts which they converted easily. HT ACS(I) led 36-3.
The second half begin in the same vein as the first as the lads in stripes opened up their throttles. With the lead comfortably in the 60’s, Coach A decided to ring in a whole host of substitutions, no doubt resting key players for the tough series of fixtures next week against RI and Saints. With the new additions, play became a little disjointed on the ACS(I) side. In fact the only real incident worthy of mentioned happened in the 75th minute, when full back Ngen Geliang, delayed his pass out wide to the waiting receiver, and was intercepted by the PSS defence. The PSS player ran the length of the pitch before he was brought down by covering defender, Shi Chenghao, who deserved mention for his industrious work throughout the match and also his never-say-die attitude in getting back to make that vital tackle. If PSS had actually scored that try, that would have made it the first try conceded by ACS(I) in this year’s tournament, and for sure, PSS would have celebrated it like they had won the match, but it was not to be. From the resulting series of plays, the match fizzled out to a conclusion with no further scoring. FT ACS(I) 75 PSS 3

Points to take away from the match:

1) It was a good run out for certain players, in particular, scrumhalf, Liew YQ. He ran well, and was able to distribute the ball decently. He fed the ball decently into the scrum, and showed the coaches he deserved his place. Another person who did well off the bench was Evandee, who as the #8 man, carried the ball well at the opposition.

2) Our lineouts were rock solid, however we clearly did not dominate the scrums, especially in last quarter of the game. No doubt the regular props were off the game, it was quite surprising to see our pack being wheeled, not to mention being driven back by the PSS pack. Saints will offer a whole new challenge next week. Their scrums have been hitting hard and fast on the draw. Possibly borne from hard work done by the new foreign coach hired by Saints.

3) Our kicking remains, in a word, erratic. Perhaps it did not matter much on the day, but practice makes perfect. Let us hope come crunch time when we need to make a few more of those kicks, our kickers will rise to the challenge. It is really puzzling when they can nail one from the side and yet miss one just a little off the centre. Our boys would do well to be aware of their surroundings and try to touch the ball down between the posts whenever the opportunity arises. This will greatly reduce the pressure on the kicker.

4). The players emerged injury free, and with each passing day, we look forward to the return of stalwarts, Daniel, Bernard and Justin from their rash of upper limb injuries.

5). A footnote on the referee. It was again Mr Singh who was the man in the middle. No doubt this match was one sided, but there were calls that only he saw that no one else did. He could not see players coming in from the side, not releasing the tackler, diving etc, but could see knock ons from players who did not even touch the ball. One word, BAFFLING. Yet, it is sad that there is no recourse if a ref had a baad game. The SRU should send someone who is rated higher or with more experience, especially in games where more is at stake and titles are on the line.

Our season really only begins next Tuesday when we play RI on the 21st Feb. Without looking too far ahead of ourselves, that match and the match against Saints will be a good measuring yardstick of how well prepared we are, and how hungry we are as a team, in retaining the B Div crown. As it is, we are now heading for a head-on collision.

More photos can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tanyongkuan/sets/72157629316437883/