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THE TRIPLE CROWN, j

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THE TRIPLE CROWN, j WON BY WALES. THE SHAMROCK DEFEATED BRILLIANT END TO THE INTER- NATIONAL SEASON. GREAT MATCH AT BELFAST. (By "OLD STAGER.") Welsh footballers have reason to be proud of the achievements of the players who have so worthily won the coveted triple crown and secured premier honours for the second time since the institution of tbj International tourna- toenfc, while the Welsh Union Selection Com- mittee merits all praise for ignoring local feeling when choosing their team for 1900. Though thft final triumph was not a brilliant victory, and the only score made against Ireland was the lowest possible, yet some incidents of this game will aeed a. lot of effacing from the memory of the enthusiasts who made the long journey to .Bel- fast, and it is never likely to be forgotten by any of the forwards, whethsr Irish or Welsh. Better battles between scrummagers I have often seen, but none more even or in which there Was such a, mix up of styles, so thorough at times as tomake one think that the steady-going Cymric pack had suddenly become adepts at the wild lashing which is the distinguishing feature of the weavers of the gteen. Never though have I known keener tackiingâ that's a mild expression âoc keener heeling among the irishmen. This last point it would pay them to cultivate, inas- much as there ia now in Ireland the nucleus of a. tnost powerful back divia'on, Allison, the most promising of the bonoh, DontlJ, Ferris, and Fulton being all youths with long years of football before } them. It was a case of diamond cut diamond all through between the forwards, and each side has claims to have come the better out of the severe contest. Ireland's difficult-to-stop rushes came off at times, but never was there any real danger of scoring from these tactics. A rattling ballacking lot, as they say in Ulster, they sadly lacked the finish of a John Little in dribbling, kicking so hard as to give oar backs every chance to save. Though the Little playing (a Dnbilu man, no relation to the famous Jonn) was clever in the loose, he is far from being a rival to the cele- brated C. V. liooke. Bancroft hadn't a singla dangerous rush to stop, aud from forward work purely there never came the hot attacks :,e:.1 as the doyen of the game desperately staved off in the English match. In the rushes and open work generally tho homesters greatly missed Sealey, but it is questionable whether his value in this respect would not have been neutralised Oy his want of solidity in the mauls. It will have been appreciated that the brunt of the hard work fell upon the visiting scrummagers, a.nd I unhesitatingly assert that they cams out of the trial of strength with signal credit. They certainly managed to play the recognised Welsh game, and heeled often enough, even in the first half, to have made victojy assured before the interval. They were often icbbed of the chance ¡ of getting command of the ball through the skilful manoeuvring of Magee, who almost invariably artfully, but legitimately, deceived them as to the side from which the ball was coming into the scrummage. In Wales we have got into the hang of always expecting the ball from the right side of the referee, and our for- wards get heads down and prepare for its recep- tion. The result of this anticipation was that the I ball cannoned off onr forwards beautifully into the ranks of the other pack. Biggs and Phillips were asked to play the ball in full view of Mr I Turnbull, and as our halves always do so the only hardship of this order was that any infor- I mality was penalised, while on the blind side sach would not possibly have been tetested. 1 However, all's well that ends well, and no one who knows Adam Turnbull will for a single I moment entertain the ghost of a suspicion I that he was a, party to anything which was in any degree unfair, no matter how pre- judicial certain rulings might have been in their bearings on any issue on which 80 much iepended. I have known no referee who was in- fallible, and never expect to see him. It is beyond doubt that Mr Turnbull is the beat referee who has yet been discovered in Inter- nationals, and outside Mr Harry Bowen, Llanelly, I do not think hfs equal is to be found, and all Who have followed his decisions closely "lUjom me in wishing him many happy returns oi the dav Our men throughout, and m what the Irish captain tersely but expressively cahs a give and take game," bad one been unsound in wind limb, or in that essential, but not physical, qualification for a Rugby International, to wit, heart Wales conld hardly have averted defeat, for, truth to tell, oar bacli lines were moie than a trifle disappointing in attack if they surpassed all expectation in .defence. Oar otanrUrd of back pky has been high, and we are never satisfied aaless oar three- quarters shins in passing movements. We did not cio over well behind om winning pack at Gloucester bat the accident to Davies explained a Seal of that away. In the Scotland match oar backs, although recruited by Gwyn Niohofls. cannot ba truly said to have done justice to too traditions Of Welsh football, for allowing for the sterling defence of Tom Scott and Rottenberg four tries to one did not indicate much real strength in attack when we consider that the much-belauded Scots' pack, who were said to be going toshove all opponents them* were prove o e absolutely the weakest that was ever mads repre- sentative of Scotland. Now for a. resume of the game just sufficient to show the play. Ireland oponed quite as though they were going to wipe something off the slate in splendid style, and for the major portion ot tno first half of the game they had the better of the play territorially. There were no dancing-niasteis, such' as at Richmond, against England. They were only onco within distance of SCOrIng, and that followed a misjudgmeni of Bancroft in eld- ing the ball from a punt owing, so lam tol SInce, to the fact that the snn was shining into his eyes. Recovering himself wonderfully, the veteran dodged a couple of forwards and then slipped, and it was a lucky thing ior Wales that Hodges ran back at full speed in support and screwed tho ball into touch. Campbell had a good chance afterwards, but hugged the ball, and the only other occasion on which scoring was threatened against Wales in the first half was from penalty kicks. Biggs' defence was notable at this time. Towards the end of the first moiety the Welsh forwards started heeling, and the halves got the toali away cleverly. Nicholls was stopped a foot of the line by Allison, who made the tackle of the day. Then there followed a warm quarter oi an hour. The Irish goal was bombarded, and whether it was the sun or not does not now matter, but our backs failed to time their passes with their accustomed accuracy. Helhngs DroKe clear grandly, only to miscalculate his posiuo and by not passing a'srdp try was lost. JNe Buller Williams got through, and pinned xfu u on his line. Llewellyn afterwards got a long pass from Biggs, but evidently wasn t ready for it. A turn was made on the left wing, and George Davies and Trew were almost throng i, the wing coming to within an ace of scoring a, try and the centre punting over the hns and following up, but the forwards were properly ruled off-side. On a home ground one cannot conceive of all these well-deaigned attacks ending abortively. The second half was until the closing stage entirely in our favour, and now several more tries were not made was inexplicable to the party of Welshmen who followed tho game as closely as they could, the players being a long way off from the nearest seats. At length tile solitary score arrived, and it is noteworthy that in its getting onr men impressed even those conservative critics who know so little of Welsh club play yet speak sj I learnedly of its apocryphal weaknesses. It was not a case of mechanical passing frem a scrum. Bancroft, who captained the side with unbeatable jadgment, had elected to have a scrummage every time the ball was his in touch, and when he decided upon the alternative of a line out the Irish forwards were not marking their opponents I as they probably would have been bad they been having less scrams. Biggs observing the j weakness in their ranks threw out the to Bryce, who literally galloped off as top pae and then threw a nice pass to Phillips, j who put in a tricky run and transferred to Nichoils. When we saw what had happened i thui far we were ready to break into cheers, for the prince of centre three-quarters was once more j off at top pace, and describing half a circle his speed deceived his opponents. Big man as he is he probably could have knocked over Fulton, the full back, but unselfishly the Cavditnan played the correct game by giving up the ball to George Davies, and the Swansea representative took it beautifully and dashed over with the try, which meant the winning of the triple crown. Biyce might have given the ball up to Nicholls aftwa fine tear-away, and a second try would have been notcheu, but the Aberavonue didn't realise that Gwvn was near One other opportunity presented itself, and tbi* time it was a thousand pities that Llewellyn just missed a pass from Nicholls, having maae a magoi cen opening, when the ball, which I ana *,0*c* w,^s. a bit difficult to hold because of ;t9 extreme light- ness, glanced off the tips of his fingers into touch. From this stage to the finishâjest the final ten minutesâIreland's backs were seen to advantage, and Magee, Alison, and Dorau specially f hone. They travelled up to our line, it was with a sigh of real relief that we iouna Ceilings lead a wheel which, converted into a j i wh, sent play out of danger. This c'osed a j ,<>atch whose closing minutes appeared wofnlly to the spectatois from Wales. To me no ide was a positive relief, for I had expressed myself as sanguine of a success as when I tipped my fellow Celts to bea.t England and Scotland. To anm op, Wales beat the defence on several occasions, and this was no mean thing to do. Whether it was nervousness or whether they had j not thoroughly recnperated from the effects of j t ie sen. trip reeks not at present, but it redounds to the credit of Ireland that their representatives played above all preconceived form, and that our men drawn, or even lost, no single indi- vidual could have been described as neglecting the slightest details calcu- in-ied to make them fit enough to tight for a kingdom. Briefly only I will touch ii j-">ii the players. Every member of the 30 did t i level best. and there is risk of being invidious. Personally I concluded that Louis Magee cap- tained his side as well as ever he did, and played caSly yefstm fell short of his best. Harvey who made his debut, impressed me as a forward likely of making a name. Meares, Ryan, ana Little were first among the others, and Allison j t have the making of & three- 5S?t«If real class. Fulton, called upon at the fast moment, performed well as custodian, On our side Hodges improved on his already un ou Hellines was invaluable aa feagLTd bTa.Sh«ved\»irl ia .to co«. ieaaer, i Rrvce was Al, but his remark- able Tor m at Gloucester was not repeated. Boots was Ss hard at it in the mauls, and handy onts'de Blake, who often started the backs, Miliar,* and W.lliams did yeoman service in the tackling department and must have Millar, and Williams did yeoman service in the tackling department and must have done their w ac Thomas, whose following ap was Specially quick. At half-back we would doubtless have been better served it Lloyd had been able to play. Phill.ps and Biggs â¢rk°d together with greater smoothness than Fhad expected. The perfect combination between the Newport pair would have given uo ma^y Si, a*. resurrection of Biggs ought to gire i^ cred for playing his best defensive Rame n °n International, atid to being wonderfuJy well in attack considering the way be was tackled by the giant brothers Ryan, not_ to ir of Mearc a demon at ugly collaiin, any contributed by the halves. the Irishmen and really gained thei try. x Swansea couple both distinguished themselves. Davies made no mistake about nu, played the game of his life ^X^v 3 be gathered from what I have already saia, proved himself a master of stra |jnt the Irish papers talk about sa -c;'tieB 0 Bancroft's eccentricities are the e centric.ticB O genius. If this should prove his lab appear^ ance in the International a^°a'h a0 sj<rns retirei when his pbenonieii&i sliill ° of deterioration. It is interesting ^Cand^S have decided the matches Between Ire^d aLa Wales. The biggest score registered was m goals 2 tries to nil. In last game at the cnampionship, they <von then k. Llanelly by a try. In the next year the thre j games, their last, on {jy a forgotten bog at 13anc! Scotland now penalty goal to ml. and Ireland and tif. with four honours each, of Wales are al--o 0"eva!' t\ san!e form, as in victory will probably tak^ t nlayers I 1SS3, when medals f^lhuo/should am timid about saggest^S fa Jike th present the men with wfa%he c!ub-B in. given to the ^ei P ;actjou would be raised vincible year. Fl.°^a.b^ jJt"eznational Board, but to this course by approached in the matter before the form is decided upon. for Dublin, ana tuey momin^ arriving at at 8 0 7 74 Cardiff at 7.55, and Swansea at 10. Up to drte the tonr in every respect has ed all records, the secretary and commutse u~: vi j done all that could be desired to ensure the comfort of the whole

----------THE MATCH.

THE IRISH XV.

THREE-QUARTER BACKS.

THE HALF-BACKS.

------...--..-------SATURDAY'S…

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