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The opening of the 1963 rugby season saw some great football especially the Pirates - Invercargill encounter which was a great spectacle and you would have thought it more a mid season game than the first of the season.
Pirates played a class of football which looks as though they will be the team to beat. Pirates were the first team to settle and the forwards had to play an honest game to combat the strong Invercargill forward pack. The Pirates forwards ensured that their backs got a good share of the ball which they did not waste and it gave them ever opportunity to show their paces. It would be encouraging for the coach, E. Saunders that there was not one weak link in the backs.
Invercargill was beaten for pace in the mid field and they will have to improve in this area if they want to be a serious contender.
The forwards worked hard and did not give up coming back in the last quarter to share the rate of possession. A speeding up of play nearer the scrum will make all the difference.
The game went something like this. Pirates through down the gauntlet at the first kick-off and showed fitness and stanima to win 21-8.
Invercargill raced on to the 25 and were quickly halted by Pirates with L. Williams showing great quickness and slick passing to get the ball from the forwards to the backs. L. R. Waby (first five) and K. Harmon (second five) fitted in well and ensured that their wingers got a lot of good ball.
Robin Welsh proved a hard man to bring down, but was inclined to go too far or hang on too long when a try was on.
B. Broad scored the first of three tries after 12 minutes with Owen Brown converting.
John Healey converted for Invercargill, closing the gap but Pirates were not to be denied even though it took the rest of the half to gain control of the game.
The half time score was Pirates 8 Invercargill 3.
Bruce Broad scored a great try just after half time and and D. Smith (wing) followed up with another - Brown converted.
Unexpectantly Invercargill rallied and a burst saw their forwards muscle their way towards the line and finally after several attempts they managed to cross the line. The scrum at the post saw Kenny Dixon pick up the ball and cross untouched - the try converted by Healey.
Mr W. G. Miller was the referee.
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