Rugby Union: Callard calls the right shots

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The Independent Online
South-West. . .29

North . . . . .16

TWO men, different styles, but the same objective. Yesterday's divisional at Kingsholm was a match within a match for Jonathan Callard and Ian Hunter, with Jon Webb's full-back place the prize when England play New Zealand at Twickenham next month.

On the one hand Callard, the goal-kicker from Bath who has made a big impact with the boot this season; on the other Hunter, a non-kicker but a powerhouse of a runner who takes some stopping. Both have much to offer and both had their say here as the South-West went looking for their second win in the Championship and the North sought to break their duck.

The odds did not favour Callard in this one. The previous week he had felt quite at home against the Midlands, surrounded as he was by 11 good men of Bath but the league champions' representation had been cut by half since then.

However it was Callard who made his mark first with a couple of fine tactical kicks and then a simple penalty from in front in reply to one from Paul Grayson after 16 minutes when the North collapsed a maul.

Hunter wasted no time in replying in his own style. A line-out win a minute later, and a winning ruck, saw Hunter entering the line and breaking two tackles before releasing Jim Mallinder for a try that Grayson converted.

By half-time, Callard and Grayson had had a further exchange of penalties. But as the South-West found some cohesion it was Callard who made the telling points and Hunter who was thrown on the defensive. Yes, Callard appears to be the complete all-round replacement for Webb.

Callard finally ended up with 14 of the South-West's 29 points and had helped turn the match around immediately after the resumption with a penalty. Paul Hull next wriggled over and Callard added the conversion and landed another penalty. Besides which he slipped into the line, broke diagonally and laid on a perfect scoring pass for Adedayo Adebayo to cross on the left.

Callard's day, then, and the South-West's too, Steve Ojomoh adding the finishing touch with a straightforward scrum pick-up and dive over the line.

SOUTH-WEST: J Callard (Bath); P Holford (Gloucester), P de Glanville (Bath), N Beal (Northampton), A Adebayo (Bath); P Hull (Bristol), K Bracken (Bristol); C Clark (Bath), K Dunn (Wasps), D Hinkins (Bristol), D Sims (Gloucester), A Blackmore (Bristol), J Hall (Bath, capt), S Ojomoh (Bath), D Eves (Bristol). Replacement: G Adams (Bath) for Ojomoh, 8-11 min.

NORTH: I Hunter (Northampton); J Mallinder (Sale), M Fielden (Northampton), K Simms (Liverpool St Helens, capt), J Sleightholme (Wakefield); P Grayson (Northampton), D Sculley (Wakefield); M Hynes (Orrell), G French (Orrell), S McMain (Sheffield), D Baldwin (Sale), J Dixon (West Hartlepool), C Vyvyan (Wharfedale), A MacFarlane (Sale), N Ashurst (Orrell). Replacement: G Ainscough (Orrell) for Mallinder, 69 min.

Referee: D McHugh (Cork).

Scores: Grayson (pen, 5 min, 0-3); Callard (pen, 16 min, 3-3); Mallinder / Grayson, try / con, 17 min, 3-10; Callard (pen, 22 min, 6-10); Grayson (pen, 36 min, 6-13); Callard (pen, 42 min, 9-13); Hull / Callard (try / con, 44 min, 16-13); Callard (pen, 53 min, 19-13); Grayson (pen, 62 min, 19-16); Adebayo (try, 64 min, 24-16); Ojomoh (try, 73 min, 29-16).