As ever, when watching Grammar games, the handshake in centre field tells the tale of the tape and the scale: ‘View were bigger to a man, although the SGS 5 (Gorry) appeared the tallest on the pitch he was about the width and depth of one of Rorke’s (4) thighs.
SIC 68 def. SGS 0
A surprising aspect of the SIC game plan, not having seen them for some years, was their preparedness to kick the ball to their far less fancied opponents in the early part of the game. In retrospect this was even more surprising given the apparent quality of the ‘view wingers, revealed when SGS had been worn out by the size differential.
SIC may have been encouraged early to find the SGS hooker back at fullback – it looked like a planned situation – alone and attempting to run it out of his own 22.
The first of the many SIC tries tells the recent story of Grammar rugby: after withstanding the physical onslaught in defending their own line an overthrown lineout was collected by one of the SIC forwards who rumbled it forward before an enterprising blind side run from Jack Robertson (15) in which he brought Samuel Mete (14) back on the inside for the meat pie.
It appeared to me that the observations from SIC’s game last week were being borne out again this week: in the early stages the SGS pack was much quicker to the breakdown than SIC. The size differential negated this advantage to a very large extent, Grammar seemingly unable to use their superior numbers to put pressure on the SIC possession. I can imagine that this will be an issue for the SIC forwards throughout the season.
35-0 at half time.
The second half meandered somewhat: the writing was on the wall with a try to SIC’s Jack Redden (13) after one ruck following the restart. From then on I regret to say that the physicality of SIC told across the field: their backs were bigger and faster and their forwards were bigger and were strong enough that the breakdown could be committed to sparingly. SIC forwards were also well drilled in making their tackles “dominant” (as they say in the other code). As a result the second half saw SGS scrambling in defence and on the back foot when they did get the ball.
SGS pulled one blindside move from an almost midfield scrum that should have the SIC coaching staff worried: SGS got to within metres of a try only to be denied by determined defence from the SIC outside backs in cover from the open side. There was no back row pressure which was what gave SGS the space necessary to get in behind the defense. There is no doubt that SIC showed great commitment in getting back and stopping the try which looked a certainty at one point.
The SIC backs were able to beat their man one on one the more the game wore on: Jack Redden has impressive acceleration and a good left foot step.
I have heard a lot about Rorke: he is physically intimidating and he did some great work on the ball. He made a great cover tackle to stop a grammar breakout that showed he is not just a big hitter, which he most certainly is! I predict that his future lies in the front row. Dempsey was impressive: he has a great work rate on both sides of the ball and good skills for a 6.
The ‘view outside backs looked good to me, though I would temper that observation by noting that the SGS defensive reading is not the best and missed first up tackles mean that the sheer pace of kids can get them to the line. In other words judging the quality against SGS is not necessarily a good idea. I thought the SIC backs showed more speed and skill than Newington did against SGS last week. I do wonder about the SIC penchant for kicking – particularly against a side like Grammar. Having said that the general kicking was of a high standard.
The SIC points: Dempsey 3, Rorke 2, Redden 1, Mete 1 and Lyons (10) 1.
For SGS Penklis at 1 was hard working and carried the ball with purpose. He made some good tackles and the Grammar scrum held its own – unlike the week before. Gorry is a useful lineout exponent and gets around the field well. The swapping of the 5/8 to fullback seemed to work quite well for SGS.
The SGS points: Penklis 3, Prately (10) 2, Gorry 1.