Rams' spirit not enough to compensate for tactical shortcomings
A massive second-half comeback by the Southland Rams was not enough to topple the Otago Whalers in the South Island interprovincial rugby league competition in Dunedin on Saturday.
The young Rams lineup, with five players under 19, was left in shock after the first half, by which time Otago had a 20-4 lead.
Rams coach Bruce Miller said his team had drifted away from its game plan and had not used the wind to its best advantage – and that it had paid against an Otago team that included five South Island trialists.
However, in the second half the Rams stormed back into the game to get within striking distance.
But while they showed a lot of spirit, they could not quite sneak a win, with Otago holding on 36-28.
Loose forward Nic Ah Kuoi was one of the best Rams, and when Mason Rudolph was introduced from the bench he showed plenty of enthusiasm in defence.
Miller said he could not fault his players for effort and energy in defence but that they just had not taken on board how he had wanted the game played tactically.
"I'm picking, by the end of this competition we would have improved a lot," Miller said.
"We're making progress."
The South Island interprovincial competition certainly does not get any easier for the Rams in the coming weeks. They will take on Canterbury under-20 this Saturday at home and then have fixtures against Canterbury A, West Coast and Tasman.
The Southland Times