They came, they saw, they tackled like animals opponents who were way bigger than them, and they reached the quarter-finals* of the recent schools 7s tournament in Zug. After 3 whole training sessions (1 being on the day of the tournament), it didn’t look good. Too much of the basics still to learn; a mostly small bunch of players; and facing matches against experienced players, many of whom in international school with a long culture of rugby.
All concerns were washed away during the first match. The tackling was superb. While the technique is, of course, in its infancy, the bravery and spirit was without questions. The size difference in almost every game was obvious, but that didn’t put off the Entlibuch lads. The “swarm” tactic worked a treat, where opponents were hit by 2 or 3 tacklers, and where opposition dropped ball was quickly stolen. The lads ran superb lines, and were constantly hungry for the ball.
The quarter-final match was against a physically tough Cham. Again, not too many Swissies on that team, and clearly an experienced bunch. In a good first half, the score was relatively tight (1 try to 3). While winning this game was always likely just out of our reach, what was most impressive was the aggression. With Cham interpreting the rules in a rather novel fashion, rather than Entlibuch being intimidated, their aggression rose and the hits they put in got harder. We lost in the end, but the 2nd half was something Cham won’t forget.
In the end, Entlicbuch got the award for clean playing. Still, it was explained to the lads that, in their careers, they will face many tough teams who have their own concept of the rules. At school-age, it’s a great time to start getting used to it. This is certainly something Entlibuch have within them.
Sadly, some of the lads suffered injuries. We wish all players all the very best. While many of these injuries are just as likely in that girly-boy “sport”, football, it’s important that the lads come back hungry for the game. More training will naturally help with avoiding injury as they get used to the game and build strength.
A special mention must go to the Entlibuch Cheerleaders. The only school to produce a cheerleader squad, the venue had plenty of purple and yellow, they had trained for a psych-up song (which was supported on decks by the inimitable DJ Dennis), made a huge flag, and cheered the lads on in all games. Thank you for your efforts!
We at RCL look forward to developing this extremely promising relationship with Entlibuch. Within a few short years, we can see several of these lads challenging for a 1st XV place.
*which is more than can be said for Ireland in Euro 2012…