Kavallieri win it at the buzzer

Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 10:00

by Mike Turner


Action between Overseas and Kavallieri - Photo by Jonathan Chetcuti - maltasportphotos.com

Action between Overseas and Kavallieri - Photo by Jonathan Chetcuti - maltasportphotos.com

Kavallieri revived the old passion and Kavallieri spirit as they snatched a win in the closing minutes from the directionless Overseas, who carelessly wasted so many scoring opportunities. The return of international Bartolo at prop was a boost and for most of the match the Kavallieri forwards had the edge.

Development coach Leman at fly half brought direction and shape to the Kavallieri backs whose passing was superior throughout. In fact a major contribution to the Overseas failure was their appalling passing, especially in the first half when they had the strong wind at their backs.

In fact Kavallieri opened the scoring after a penalty was kicked into the corner and the traditonal driving maul put Bonavia in for an unconverted try. Overseas hit back with a Naphausen break but were giving away to many penalties so Kavallieri cleared. An excellent kick by Du Toit followed by Gibson took Overseas to the line but a try was disallowed and another penalty cleared the Kavallieri defence.

Overseas took the lead as they lobbed and fumbled the ball wide to Jones whose speed took him round one defender and broke the covering tackle, Du Toit converted. Time and again Overseas won promising ball but poor passing let them down, even with overlaps. Du Toit kicked an 80 metre touch but then the spirited Kavallieri pack won 20 metres back with a determined driving maul.

The Kavallieri lineout was winning cleaner possession and with Leman marshalling the backline they were potent force against the faster, flashier but ill directed Overseas. Overseas number 8, Rulli made a superb break and ran to the full back with Jones at his side passed, and Jones dropped the ball with the line at his mercy.
Again Overseas attacked after a tap penalty and worked up a huge overlap, then wasted it by attempting inaccurate and unnecessary long lobs instead of flat disciplines passing. Yet another big overlap , and despite some shaky moments the ball reached Jones who gave a scoring pass to MacRae.

Kavallieri were stung into retaliation with some eight recycling rucks until Overseas desperation incurred yet another penalty, from which the ball was popped into the corner.

The inevitable driving lineout ball and scrumhalf Fiori was in for another try. Overseas came back, winning good ball, but the attack broke down with a terrible pass. Again they attacked and thi time the try was missed because of an awful pass from Boland to the wing. Another wave of attacks saw them pressing the stretched and courageous Kavallieri defence, until another penalty cleared the lines.

The half time score of 12-10 was big achievement for Kavallieri against such a strong wind. Overseas started the second half strongly and a break by Rulli through some poor tackled freed the ball to MacRae who passed to Jones who sped round the defence easily for a try.

A promising passing move along the Kavallieri line was intercepted by Du Toit who ran in for an easy score, and at 22-10 it looked as if it was game over; but not so for the reborn Kavallieri spirit.

A hopeless mess by Overseas in fielding the restart simply gave Kavallieri territory which was immediately used by popping a penalty into the corner from which the trademark maul created a second try for Bonavia.

Again silly passing by Overseas gave away ground instead of launching an attack so Kavallieri found themselves applying their pressure in the same corner until Debierre snapped up the ball and scored with a double swerve.

This lead to a long period of territorial pressure by the rampant Kavallieri, and desperate defence by Overseas. A try was disallowed as held up, and it looked as if the resolute Overseas defenders were going to hold out until a final drive for the line released Fiori for the winning try.

The revived Kavallieri were greatly helped by the generalship of coach Leman, but it is hard to understand the lacklustre leadership and pattern that Overseas have shown these past two weeks. The phrase “headless chickens” springs to mind.

Other results

Mens 15’s
Overseas 22 Kavallieri 25
Birkirkara 49 Valletta 18

Mens Tens

Marauders 52 Birkirkara 22
Gladiators 33 Birkirkara 24.

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