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Overseas shatter Kavallieri
With a resounding win the rejuvenated Overseas relived former glory and blew the Cisk Lager League wide open.
23 January 2011, 12:00am
Overseas - 34
Kavallieri - 0
The game started as a very tense confrontation and Overseas were penalized several times as their passion overcame discipline. At first the Kavallieri loosehead prop, Zahra, was getting the better of the Overseas tighthead, Spagnol and the Kavallieri pack was able to spoil ball supply several times.
Beppe Sammut, transferred from Alligators to Overseas, played a storming match at scrum half, with beautiful quick distribution and some spectacular running breaks. At last he has the team with which he can fulfill the promise of a few years ago when he was Young Player of the Year. Another who had a fine match was Overseas number eight, Clayton Cassar, who is showing real improvement, and finally fulfilling his physical promise, even against such a strong player as Chris Vassallo, the Kavallieri captain.
Tackling by both sides was fierce, but the difference throughout the match was the timing and crisp, flat, fast passing by the Overseas backline which stretched the Kavallieri defence. The stretching of the defence line then opens it up to an angled run or a sidestep, at which the Overseas are adept, so Kavallieri were kept consistently on the back foot
The sheer speed of Overseas was embellished by the timing of the receivers runs, which time and again split Kavallieri. The Kavallieri pack was, as usual, well drilled and full of the famous spirit but this was simply not enough against a more skilled side, although there was a point when it looked as if their superior fitness might wear down Overseas into making mistakes. Prop, Zahra spent some time in the sin bin which did not help his team, but otherwise he, Cutajar, Psaila, Vassallo and Grima worked hard to stem the tide.
Indeed Kavallieri had the edge in the lineout for most of the game.
For Overseas, Kemper, Howland, Cassar, Devaney and West were the power house to supply the good ball to their backline.
Nick Wright is clearly the best flyhalf in Malta this season and his jinking, pace changing runs cause havoc among the opposition defence. Sammut and Wright have struck up an immediate half back partnership which launches attacks with superb timing.
The only weakness is the poor place kicking, as Wright only converted two of the six tries, which were scored by Wright (3), Downs, Marmara and McDonald.
The debut of new Kavallieri signing Phillips from South Africa via England was a little disappointing as he looked to lack match practice and then ended his match early with a damaged ligament.
Kavallieri were simply unable to stifle the timed offloading and swift distribution of Overseas, and Overseas coach, McKay, must be a very satisfied man, as well as the Overseas president and committee as they see their plans work out.
Nevertheless, rugby is a cruel game and next time they face a Stompers team who are capable of beating anybody in Malta.
Cisk Lager League
Stompers - 74
Alligators - 5
Kavallieri - 45
Overseas - 5
Valletta Lions - 14
Falcons - 12