(NPC & Ranfurly shield challenge)
Jade Stadium at
Referee: Steve Walsh (jr)
Final Score: 35-24 (ht 20-5)
I know... I was thinking the same thing.
Why do I choose this game as my first NPC game to view? Why do I wait for the first shield challenge after two losses? Why do I wait 'til the game against a resurgent
In short why do I wait 'til the game that we could lose the shield after 3 years as holders.
It’s a good question, but I know you don't want to hear why, so suffice to say that I was free, I booked my ticket at Cone Stadium (I know the assistant manager!-) and arrived 5 minutes late.
Thankfully the score was still “nil all”, so I had only missed the "nose blooding", the posturing that is required before the real game starts, a often misunderstood requirement of high testosterone games.
Things settled down, and the game plans seemed fairly clear. The Mooloo men were going to drive, pick and go. It is their strength after all; get the ball successfully to the 22 then:
a) Spin it wide
b) Pick and go again
c) Wait for a penalty
It is a really good ploy, except for if the other team can turn the ball over, quickly spin it wide and make 50 metres. Thankfully the Cantabs have sorted the backline and were doing just that!
So fairly soon the
However there were some very strange things happening. Firstly Mehrts was tackling like a wild thing and they were staying tackled!!
Secondly the was a tele-tubby as Canterbury centre - thankfully Casey "La La" is the red and black striped one, so he fitted right in!
Also for me there was an awfully lot of new positions or faces to get used to. Scott Robertson at #6? Ok Broomhall is #8 that makes sense.
Mark Robinson at 2nd 5? You mean he isn't injured this year? Oh... Nathan Mauger is injured again, that explains that.
Cameron McIntyre comes on for Mehrts who does a "Stacy Jones" at half time. Not that strange really, but where do we get all these good 1st 5s? Is it any wonder we have to borrow wingers? (Sorry Joe's mum!)
Then of course there are Tone Kopelani (hooker) and Campbell Johnstone (open side prop). I should mention Matt Dalzell (lock) but I really can't remember seeing him. Of course he might have been there when we were losing so many of our bloody line-out throws!!! Or was that Tone doing his Hammett impression?
Don't know... don't care... sort it out!
Thankfully the Cantabs kicked some butt in the first half, because the last 20 minutes was one-way traffic. The R&Bs even parting like the red sea at one stage for a great full-backs run, thankfully shut down.
Made for a fairly even score in the end, four tries each. Looks good on paper, and the Sunday rags will probably spin it as a great
But we were watching, and trust us Cantabrians... we know - a great comeback is when you win!