By LI Bohemian
February 19 2018
LI Bohemian steps-up to produce a match report for a truly terrible game of rugby, played in front of few people, in the cold while the Six Nations is on elsewhere.
For the match against Sale I travelled to the game by car, with a fellow season ticket holder and my wife, who could also attended as, for once, she had a free weekend from work. It was a last minute decision but I managed to get her a ticket on the way to the ground, as my friend was driving. I say managed to get a ticket, but I had accidently bought it for the west stand. Being east stand season ticket holder this would have caused a slight communication problem, luckily the ticket office agent at the ground worked his magic and swapped the ticket for free one in the East stand.
I must say when we got to the ground we were uncertain that there was a match taking place, as it was pretty empty around the stadium.
After watching the first third of the Ireland v Italy international in the Jazz Café we took our seats in the almost empty east stand. The west stand opposite looked more like the North stand, it was that empty. This to a certain extent was understandable as England were playing Wales later in the evening, plus Sale is a fair distance and not the biggest crowds of travelling support, but as the game was played the main reason there was faint interest for this match soon became apparent, it was the style of rugby that was on offer.
Before the Irish team was announced I felt that maybe Irish could sneak a win, on looking at the team selected, I wasn’t so sure. The Irish team seemed to be set up for an attritional game plan of the type not to lose. This would completely suit Sale, who will arm wrestle you all day long. Coupled with the fact that so far we have shown little of the cunning arts required to secure the ear of the officials, that all of the other Premiership sides have. I really detest this type of manipulation, but if you don’t partake you leave yourself open to the opposition. I think that at least in football this sort of thing is in your face and blatant, making it in a perverse way, more of an honest thing than the sly manipulative and bullying of officials that is a requirement in rugby.
The game started with Irish making some unforced errors of the daftest kind. The nerves were playing up from the start, this resulted in the game for most of the first half being played in the home side's portion of the pitch. I say played it was pretty poor stodge. On the half hour Brophy-Clews went off for HIA and was replaced by Bell, this substitution proved to be permanent and in a way the story of this season: one player who could do things to win a match replaced by a player who is out of sorts and seems to lack confidence.
HT and Irish were 3-10 down. They would have to come out and first of all try and play in the opposing half. The second half was pretty forgettable and similar to when Irish played Worcester, there was a lot of huff and puff but no cut and thrust, this in translation means no tries so no real pressure. This along with some muddled decisions through lack of leadership led to the final score being 9-13.
We walked to the Hotel on the final whistle to watch the England v Wales game for a dose of competitive rugby. The lounge was more akin to a hushed library, this was not because of the astronomical prices at the bar but from the realization the large lady had finally sung, and no one knows how to shut her up.pqs: qs:
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