Blues To Further Stress Quins
Taroona Blues return from a fortnight’s break to play Harlequins in Saturday’s Tasmanian Rugby feature match at Rugby Park.
Quins by contrast have had two visits to Devonport, at the Cougar Cup and returning last week to a comprehensive crushing from the Bulls. They badly need to pressure the generally focused Blues group and seek any rustiness from lack of match time.
Taroona found the resolve to deny Glenorchy at their last start in a disciplined all field performance. Whilst the best of the Quins attacking flair could be enough to provide some heat on the Blues outside backs, it is difficult to see Harlequins getting and retaining enough possession to disrupt the Blues back-rowers James and Andrew Wicks, Chris Thompson and Marty Cuddihy. Too often Quins have had to rely on Jeff Altmann and David Wollemann. Others need to put their hand up.
Glenorchy Stags University at Eady Street, and after eclipsing Hobart last week, the Stags need to keep pace with the leaders and the Red Men will be in for a physical encounter. Worrying for University is that Glenorchy focused heavily on close support play last week, but still managed to identify the gaps in a tiring defence and secure a break with two to three passes.
Glenorchy fly-half Dan Aualiitia finds appropriate support runner for most occasions and Stuart and Wally Dare have been effective strikers. University will need to find another defensive gear. Recent acquisition Brad Doran has lent the Red pack some size, but he will need plenty of willing support.
Burnie Emus celebrate 50 years of rugby with a post-match dinner but need to overcome visiting Hobart Lions before the entrée. Burnie need to keep to a sound game plan that involves creating and securing ground ball possession and subtle angled running from the backs. They will be keen to avenge their last defeat by the Lions via the direction of form fly-half Rhys Webber but might not field his regular scrum-half partner Josh Baldwin.
Hobart also have some issues trying to replace injured scrum-half Wilhelm Koch, at least in his try-scoring capacity. They scrummed and defended the edge of the breakdown well last week but offered little patience or variety in attack after the first half hour.
Devonport Bulls look to have all the answers against the visiting Eastern Suburbs at Don Recreation Ground. Some stern defence from Easts will be called for to try and keep key Bulls runners Mark Meo and Sticky Leavasa in check. Another large score looms.
Round 11 Fixtures: Harlequins v Taroona (3pm, Rugby Park); Glenorchy v University (3pm, Eady Street); Burnie v Hobart Lions (2.30pm, Burnie Sports Ground); Devonport v Eastern Suburbs (3pm, Don Recreation Ground)
Author: Don Moor