It all came together for the UM Wolves RFC men’s team as they stormed to a record 41-20 win over Kavallieri RFC in the penultimate match of the CISK League on Easter weekend.

The game kick-off was well handled and well cleared, and Wolves held Kavallieri well in the first defensive set until a Cody Schmidt turnover and clearance resulted in the first scrum of the match on the halfway line.

Schmidt again kicked well, and Axel Jeffers ripped the ball back from his opposite number in the backfield, giving the boys in green a platform in the 22 metres.

Debutant Tomas Strickland made a break down the left and played the ball inside to Gabriel Seychell, who almost made it over the try line by himself before being brought down.  Wolves were not to be denied points from their strong start though: a number of sustained phases saw Tomas Strickland eventually beat the Kavallieri defence to score the first try.  He converted from out on the left wing, making the score 7-0.

Wolves were up for this match, and Kurt Sciberras carried 15 metres into the Kavallieri half, fighting off two defenders, to give a good platform for attack.  Gareth Blundell broke well down the right and made up more metres, and Kavallieri infringed giving Wolves a chance to move further downfield with a penalty, but the ball was lost at the first breakdown after the ensuing lineout.

Kavallieri cleared their lines and a penalty allowed them to get into the Wolves 22 for the first time in the match. Blundell however rose highest and stole the lineout, with Tyrese Hayman picking the loose ball up and taking it into contact.

The kicked clearance was reclaimed by Jeffers, and the ball went through the hands quickly out wide to Hamish Boult, who ran into the Kavallieri half before being tackled into touch.

Kavallieri won a penalty for a high tackle just past the 10-metre line in the Wolves half, and scored it to make the score 7-3.

Momentum was with the boys in green at the moment however, with each Wolves carry going beyond the gain line and Schmidt’s kicking off the base – despite being against the wind – putting immense pressure on the Kavallieri backfield and causing mistakes.

It was off a penalty from one such mistake that Schmidt made a half-break, offloading to Agustin Rabini who almost powered his way over the line to score, but was held short.  Schmidt however played out to George Strickland, who played to Virain Hariramani, who in turn found Jeffers in acres of space, allowing him to tap down the easiest of finishes for Wolves’ second try of the day.  Tom Strickland found the conversion, making the score 14-3.

Wolves threatened again as the ball went wide for a lineout, with Tom Strickland sidestepping two before offloading to Hayman who beat three defenders before going down.  What could have been another break down the wing was lost though due to a knock-on.

A mistake under the high ball allowed Kavallieri into the Wolves 22 metres with a scrum, and an infringement at the breakdown by Rabini saw him on the receiving end of a yellow card.

Kavallieri managed to get back into the game in the ensuing ten minutes, with two tries – one of which was converted – giving them a marginal 15-14 lead as half time approached.

However, Wolves came together and won the ball back straight off the rebound: Hayman capitalised on Kavallieri uncertainty under the high ball, even nutmegging his opponent as the ball dribbled along the ground, before picking the ball up and sprinting towards the line.  He was brought down by a Kavallieri last-ditch effort, and Wolves were given a strong platform to work off.

This was taken advantage of, and a few phases on the Kavallieri line created space on the blindside for Hariramani to score his second try of the season, and put Wolves back in the lead.  It wasn’t converted, but it was 19-15 going into half-time.

Wolves were immediately into their groove in the second half, and again carrying past the gain line at every phase.  Jeffers was almost through down the right wing, but slipped as he approached the final defender.  Tomas Strickland would score off a deft offload by Schmidt, but it was disallowed by the match’s Italian referee.

Wolves still had a penalty advantage to play off of, and soon got another as Jeffers was tackled high, and another from the ensuing tap penalty.  Damian Mifsud almost made it over but was tackled half a metre short, but George Strickland then made the pressure count and charged over himself.

His younger brother Tomas Strickland made the conversion using an unconventional drop kick as time on the shot clock ran short, putting the score at 26-15.

Kavallieri got one back however, with an unconverted try making it 26-20 and keeping the game tight in the early phases of the second half.

Schmidt’s kicking game continued to put pressure on Kavallieri, and a mix up in the backfield allowed Jeffers to run between three to pick a loose ball up and score – but the action was brought back as Jeffers had knocked it on.

Wolves however won a penalty in the Kavallieri 22 metres off the ensuing play, as Kavallieri infringed, and Hariramani kicked it through the posts to make the score 29-20 and increase the advantage.

Schmidt’s kicking again put Kavallieri under pressure, and they were tackled in their own try area by Jeffers and Hariramani.  Play restarted with a dropout, which was caught by Rabini who carried back into the Kavallieri 22.  Tomas Strickland was put through by Seychell, and he made up ground, but was penalised for a double movement.

Wolves won the ball back at the lineout and were moving forward again, until the action was brought to a halt by a deliberate knock-on from a Kavallieri player.  He was shown the yellow card, and Kavallieri were down to 14 men for the next ten minutes.

Wolves had a scrum metres away from the Kavallieri try line, and Schmidt managed to extract the ball even as it went backwards, carried and then offloaded off the floor as he was tackled to Seychell, who crashed over to score his first try of the season.  Schmidt converted, and the score was now 36-20.

The scoreline was almost increased immediately off the restart, as Blundell broke through, playing an inside ball to Boult, who found Schmidt, but he was brought down just before the line.

Kavallieri tried to exit with the ball, but a knock-on meant the ball came back to Wolves in open play, and some quick hands from Aquilina to Rabini to Leonard Schembri to Hariramani and finally to Daniel Ghirlando on the right wing resulted in another try for the boys in green and a score of 41-20.

Boult was almost through for a seventh try of the match, but his offload to Schmidt was intercepted.  Hayman also thought he was through as he picked up a ball which had dribbled loose out of a ruck and had free real estate in front of him, but play was brought back by the referee.

41-20 ended up being the final score as the referee blew his whistle – a record win for the Wolves and one with great importance as the season draws to a close.

The UM Wolves RFC men’s team now face champions-elect Falcons RFC on Saturday 13 April in what will be their final competitive match of the season.


Michael Galea, Nick Xuereb, Kurt Sciberras, Agustin Rabini, Kurt Aquilina, Gareth Blundell, Hamish Boult, George Strickland, Cody Schmidt, Gabriel Seychell, Daniel Ghirlando, Virain Hariramani, Tomas Strickland, Tyrese Hayman, Axel Jeffers.


Leonard Schembri, Damian Mifsud, Luke Maistre, Isaac Scerri, Jonathan Pace, Philippe Ioffe


Matteo Alessandro, Loris Cornuault

Wolves Admin

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