The Dutch punish Malta

The difference between two sides able to play an excellent brand of rugby was simply the size and strength of the Dutch team

Mistakes cost Malta dearly against a strong Dutch side. Photo by Ray Attard
Mistakes cost Malta dearly against a strong Dutch side. Photo by Ray Attard

By Mike Turner

Malta 10 - Netherlands 33

They started with the obvious intent of charging and driving and were soon encamped in the Malta half. However their tactics were made more effective by silly errors which gave away possession and territory. After a series of driving attacks they opened the score with a lovely grub kick from Carrol slipped behind the Malta line for Van der Velden to score, Mambo converted. This spurred Malta into response and they began to use their backs to gain territory. A feature of the match was that Holland were consistently offside in the backs which allowed them to stifle the danger from Malta. Another sad feature was that the normally consistent O’Brien was right off form with his place kicking and missed every attempt. By contrast Mambo kicked all but the last one.

Malta won good ball at last in the Dutch half and with slick handling and a fine dummy Davey scored the best try of the match. THE Dutch continued to possess and charge and kicked at the corners. Their next try was simply a drive over after head down charges. The referee then disallowed a brilliant Malta try after Kirk had burst through at an angle. Netherlands came back and Van Vliet scored in the corner after the cover was too slow. The full back should really have stopped him.

Malta came back to kick into the corner but seemed too eager and made mistakes to lose opportunities. At the change-over the Dutch led by 21-5.

Malta came out determined and eager for the second half and the backs immediately imposed themselves on the game, with Kirk scoring a superb try for Malta and they were right back into the match . Unfortunately they made crucial errors through over anxiety, such as wild passing and holding on, and even though Quarendon made a superb break, he ran back into trouble away from support. The same happened two or three times, and the opportunity to make a massive come back was lost. The Malta backs were right on top except for the final killer scores, and the forwards were getting the better in the loose. Aided by the offsides Netherlands kept them at bay. Then a poor kick by O’Brien gave ground and Netherlands scored again by close driving, to stretch out to 26 points. Malta were still the better side in all but scoring until a horrible mess up near their line gave away another penalty and there was no cover at all for Mambo to score completely unmarked. The Maltese team just seemed to be totally confused the decision and stood still..

One area in which the Dutch really were superior wa in ball stealing in the rucks, time and agin they won ball which should have been Malta’s and Van der Vliet was the king of this.

For Malta, Schranz, Deguara, the Apsee brothers deserve special mention but they were just not big enough to rock the solid Dutchmen.

All in all an entertaining, high standard game of rugby, shame about the result; a match Malta could have won, but they are a young side with a big future.

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