The Wolves men’s team fell just short of exacting revenge over Kavallieri for last week’s defeat, this time losing by just two points in another close affair.

It was a mixed bag as far as the Wolves performance, with Kavallieri coming out of the blocks quickly – as they have become known to do during this season – and scoring two tries in the space of the first 20 minutes to take a 14-0 lead.

Winger and Wolves top scorer for this season Simon Borg came off early with an unfortunate injury, being replaced by Virain Hariramani off the bench.

As the first half wore on, play started to flow more in favour of the boys in green: scrums were holding up well, although lineouts proved to be a weak point, and the Wolves soon found themselves in the Kavallieri 22m.

However, a long period of pressure was not transformed into points, and it was only on the stroke of half time that debutant Gaston Fricker received a pass from a Cody Schmidt quick-tap penalty out wide, and zipped in down the right wing to score.

Cian Mulkern slotted a brilliant conversion from the wing and against the wind to make the score 14-7 going into the break.

Changes abounded in half time, as Jonathan Pace came on Nick Xuereb at hooker, and the backline was re-shuffled, with Fricker going to scrum-half, Daniel Ghirlando and Cian Mulkern going onto the wings, Philippe Ioffe dropping into Full Back and Cody Schmidt settling into Outside Centre.

The changes paid dividends early in the second half: Gareth Blundell won a Kavallieri lineout in the Wolves half, with the ball falling to Fricker who cleared the ball down field with a chasing Kavallieri defence unable to claim the ball, instead giving the boys in green a lineout.

It was taken quickly by Fricker, who found Hamish Boult who carried into the Kavallieri 22 metres.  Some solid phase play followed as the ball worked right, and then back towards the middle to Gabriel Seychell, who played it to Schmidt who stepped his opposite man and went in to score.

The try wasn’t converted, putting the score at 14-12.

Wolves immediately piled on the pressure, but a dropped ball allowed Kavallieri to clear their lines.

A yellow card to Schmidt allowed Kavallieri back into the game, and two quick tries but them back in front, with the score now at 28-12.

However Wolves responded again, and began to play some trademark phase play as they sought to get themselves back into the game.

The boys in green won a scrum off the kick-off, and it provided a solid base for Fricker to run at the defence from his scrum-half position – skipping past two before being stopped ten metres from the line.

Kavallieri were penalised for offside, and after a few phases trying to get over the line, Schmidt played out wide to Mulkern who ran in to score his first Wolves try – a try which he converted to make the score 28-19.

The pressure was on, and Hariramani intercepted a Kavallieri pass and streaked free.  He didn’t have the legs to make it to the line, but found Schmidt who was subsequently stopped five metres from the try line.  Multiple phases followed but the Kavallieri defence held firm and turned the ball over.

Schmidt managed to charge down their clearance, but a Kavallieri defender dotted the ball down, giving a 5 metre scrum to Wolves. A grubber kick from Philippe Ioffe trying to put Ghirlando through did not bounce favourably though, and Kavallieri came away with possession.

Wolves would have the last say though, and a prolonged period of pressure on the Kavallieri line led to Schmidt putting Mulkern in on the left wing for his second try of the day.

Mulkern’s conversion followed, but it was the last play of the match and the score stood at 28-26 in Kavallieri’s favour.  Wolves still came away with two bonus points – a losing bonus point and a four-try bonus point.

The men’s team will now be back in action on Saturday 23rd March, as they face Stompers for the final time this season.

STARTING 15: Aitor Santos Juanes, Nick Xuereb, Kurt Sciberras, Luke Maistre, Agustin Rabini, Hamish Boult, Gareth Blundell, Kurt Aquilina, Daniel Ghirlando, Gabriel Seychell, Simon Borg, Cody Schmidt, Philippe Ioffe, Gaston Fricker, Cian Mulkern

SUBS USED: Jonathan Pace, Virain Hariramani

SUBS NOT USED: Matteo Alessandro, Michael Galea, Marco Gauci

Wolves Admin

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