Rugby Union: Orrell exposed as Second class

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Leicester. . 9

Orrel. . . .10

THE Lions' selectors who took up their positions in the stand just before kick-off to scrutinise, among others, Leicester's Martin Johnson, Neil Back and Dean Richards, and Dewi Morris of Orrell would not have learned much from a formless and scrappy league game.

Orrell are in trouble. They have a gritty forward presence and tend to drag their opponents down to their level with a ponderous and unadventurous approach. They rely disproportionately on Morris at scrum-half, the massive figure of Bob Kimmins and one or two other greybeards elsewhere. This is not enough to survive in the higher reaches of the First Division and may well not be enough for them to survive at the lower end either. This, their fifth defeat in their past six league games, may be the one that sends them in to the Second Division next season.

The wonder is that Leicester's more evenly balanced team could not cut loose more often. But with Orrell's organisation in the line- out - which meant a difficult afternoon for Johnson, Paul Grant and, at the back, Richards - Leicester had little ball. And what ball they won they squandered - twice in the first half with over complicated moves among the threequarters which ended with the ball being thrown about wildly.

One hopes that league games will not become as turgid as this. Leicester's thrilling victory over Northampton a month ago was far more exciting. Perhaps one should be charitable and say it was one of those days. There seemed to be no apparent reason why John Liley and Gerry Ainscough should each have missed four kicks at goal, although Liley did land three penalties.

The referee, Tony Spreadbury, took a strangely passive role as the game got increasingly bad-tempered. He often seemed reluctant to intervene even when, as on one occasion, a brawl was going on underneath his eyes. Leicester's fiery front row gave them an edge in the scrums and were the source of increasing frustration to Orrell. But that was only one of many problems that the northern team have. On this evidence they are only barely good enough to play at this level of rugby.

Leicester: J Liley; S Hackney, S Potter, L Boyle, R Underwood; J Harris, A Kardooni; G Rowntree, R Cockerill, D Garforth, M Johnson, P Grant, J Wells (capt), D Richards, N Back.

Orrell: S Taberner (capt); C Bibby, S Langford, G Ainscough, P Hamer; B Wellens (I Wynn, 78 min), D Morris; M Hynes, N Hitchen, S Southern, R Kimmins, C Cusani, N Ashurst, S Gallagher, P Manley.

Referee: A Spreadbury (Somerset).

Scores: Liley (pen, 16 min, 3-0); Liley (pen, 35 min, 6-0); Liley (pen, 53 min, 9-0).