Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 12. September 6, 1954
Varsity Does The ...
Jubilee Cup Hat Trick
Against Petone two weeks ago, Varsity clinched the Jubilee Cup. It was the culmination of a season's bright Rugby and on three season's performances, they showed that they were still the premier club in Wellington. But in that decisive game, Varsity were definitely overshadowed.
With the wind with them. Petone could only manage a six-point lead and the Varsity supporters sat back with the start of the second spell to watch the slaughter. But something must have upset the Blue forwards because they tore into the game like terriers. This aspect of the game was not pleasing; Varsity had let Petone attack all the first spell so that they would tire against the wind and here was Petone hogging the limelight. They threw everything at the Varsity goal line and excellent breaks by Abbot Dougan and Brockle-bank failed through bad luck or bad handling. Varsity rallied all the time but the forwards could not get the ball away cleanly, Scott's line kicking and the very solid rucking had made them slower than they had been for several games.
Bremner comes in for a lot of praise from the local press. However, how many times did our scoring wingers get the ball? Bremner showed some excellent sense in not letting the ball out to men who because of the close-up defence of the Blue backs were in a worse position than himself. But why in the name of alt that's green and gold did he go down, ball and all, on so many occasions? He had to be very chary of the kick-through or of a grubber kick because of Maestro Scott. He also had to watch the loose ball in case Jack Dougan slipped through with his forwards. Loose foot rushes would have nullified the superior weight and packing of the Blue scrum and could have easily had Scott in trouble. Put Laurie Haig in the same position and he would have known what to do with the ball. But his breaks and defence were excellent. He kicked passes off his toes and smothered many of the Petone breaks. His highlight though came with the clock showing full-time and the Petone defence moving across to cover the anticipated break through. Bremner swung the attack across in the opposite direction with a little lobbed punt for Jarden to take at full steam and clinch the Jubilee Cup.
Peter Osborne also had a good day. Possibly inspired by Scott, he evaded tacklers with something of his old confidence and did all that was expected of him. Fitzgerald and Jarden had quiet days, being more concerned with battling the well-sprung Petone attack than with their usual capers.
The forwards toiled hard. The referee let the rucks continue for too long. Petone were heavier, taller and grimly determined. But they never once gave up hope. In the first spell especially, with Bob Scott sending them traipsing fifty or sixty yards back down the paddock, must have had its sour moments. The determined cover defence of the forwards in the second spell meant the difference between victory and defeat. The best forwards are those that aren't seen during the rucking and it always seemed to be Ivan Stuart who was last or second to last up from any ruck or sacks on the mill. Biathwayt played a good game and his tackling was always solid. Oliver was shaded in the line-outs but was often in the limelight. Bill Clark did not have his usual charging down opportunities as he viewed most of Scott's kicking from behind in a prone position.
Saturday's team was perhaps the strongest we have fielded this season and had no weak links. Had it been otherwise Petone would have swamped us.
So the Jubilee Cup will be drunk out of, by jubilant Varsity footballers and reside in the trophy cupboard for another year. The team had some lapses but it was during this season that it provided the most consistent and attractive club football. It is not as strong a side as either of the previous champion fifteens, and perhaps because of this are more firm idols of the crowd. Once the crowd saw that Varsity were no longer invincible yet still played their attractive open football, they became idols once more, as the game against Petone testified.
Salient is well pleased because our early reason optimistic forecast seemed to fall on cynical ears which flapped derisively when the Greens were behind in the championship. But the team pulled through with a full four championship points and we look forward to next year, knowing that if a team beats our own fifteen for the Jubilee Cup, our boys will be grand losers.