Kavallieri show their dominance

Kavallieri asserted their early form by winning this entertaining game to open up a clear lead in the Cisk Lager League.


Mike Turner

Stompers started backed by a strong wind and their lighter pack showed such fire that they managed to dominate territorially for long periods of the first half. However the Kavallieri defence is rock solid and despite pressure, all the Stompers points were penalties kicked by Attard who converted 4 out of 6.

Kavallieri scrum half Schembri is improving and beginning to make his mark on each match with his distribution and leadership. Unfortunately there is still the need for a natural fly half as his partner.

By contrast Stompers fly half Zerafa is also improving and is a brave tackler despite his small size.

Stompers opened out a 6 – 0 lead but towards the end of the half Kavallieri began to upset their rhythm and in their very first prolonged attack spearheaded by Grima, they went close to the line, won fast ball and prop Zahra forward brilliantly plucked the ball off his toes to jink over and run in under the posts. Another threatening Kavallieri attack was wasted  by a forward pass, and their kicking often inaccurate.  Stompers gathered their senses and worked back into the game territorially and scored two more penalties to lead 12 - 7 at half time.

With the wind behind them in the second half Kavallieri immediately began to look threatening so that within minutes Mallia was able to reduce the lead by a further three points with a well placed penalty.

More pressure and Kavallieri launched one of their trade mark driving mauls to gain some 25 metres off which Vassallo was launched like a missile to score a fine forward try for a three point lead.

Referee Busuttil  imposed a ten metre walk back against both sides for answering back, which is very effective control weapon. The Kavallieri forwards were spoiling the ball won by Stompers, but such is the standard of the Stompers backs that they managed to launch many excellent attacks  and stretched the Kavallieri time and again. However the great strength of the Kavallieri is their determined defence and very few sides have scored tries against them this season. Stompers came within inches twice but both times Kavallieri held solid.

In the final few minutes a very poor Stompers clearance gifted the ball back to Kavallieri who ran the ball back, the referee was unsighted when Grima took a forward pass and he passed wide to Frenchman Debierre to score in the corner. He is another player who seems to have flourished under the guiding hard of coach Emmerson.

There is one major flaw in the continuing improvement of the Maltese game and that is tackling technique, which showed up in all the matches this afternoon, male and female. This needs to be addressed, as tackling is one of the keys to rugby success, as illustrated by the last three world champions. 

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