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Overseas crush Alligators

Although Overseas fielded a much weakened forward pack owing to injury, the reserves showed they were well coached and disciplined and repeatedly launched a wave of attacks by their slick backs.

13 February 2011, 12:00am
Mike Turner

Yet again the service from scrum half provided by Beppe Sammut made his partnership with Nick Wright a constant threat.

There was no lack of dedication and determination from Alligators but their experience and expertise was simply lacking.

The scoring was opened by Sammut himself after an inside pass from Howland, and this began a procession of tries, many of them from excellent handling and timed, angled runs which simply tore great gaps in the Gators defence. Indeed there were times when the defence looked bewildered and they lost their confidence in making a simple tackle. This was not because of lack of courage or strength but simply because of confusion, which caused a small delay in reaction, by which time it was too late and the man was passed the tackler.

Veterans like Dalton for Overseas had a good day, and captain, Howland, was in the forefront for the entire match. Wright and MacCrae side stepped and swerved their way through again and again. Despite the many substitutions, the Overseas subs linked well and continued the slaughter.

 Occasionally Gators managed to take advantage of sloppy play to force their way into the Overseas 22 but never looked as if they had the strength or the quickness of mind to actually score. Their ambition to play productive rugby is visible but their moves are so stilted and slow that it is easy to stifle them. Gators progress is disappointing considering they have an excellent training pitch supplied by Birkirkara Council, for which Mayor Mike Fenech-Adami collected an award at Malta Sports Awards. New, business-like and dynamic thinking is required from the Club leadership. They can take inspiration from the progress made by Kavallieri and Overseas who have embarked on highly successful development projects, which are reflected on the field.

 Nevertheless some of their players, such as Luke Galea, are keen and effective, always positive and up for the struggle. The rest are mostly beginners, who must allow themselves to learn from the better sides as they go, especially commitment to the tackle.

If they tackle hard and correctly it will be much harder for the elusive runners, because they will be thinking about the tackler coming at them, which reduces their creative ability.

 As for Overseas, coach Mr. Mackay has produced one of the best teams to watch in Malta rugby this season, and they continue to attract new players. Saliou, the elusive and speedy little Frenchman scored several tries, along with Gordon, Buttigieg, Wright, Howland and MacCrae. It was good to see 19 year old Farrugia come on and score too. If Wright had been a little more consistent with his conversion attempts Overseas would have beaten the all time scoring record score in Maltese rugby.

 Altogether, despite the one sided score, this was an entertaining match to watch with plenty of wide sweeping running, and crisp passing.