It was always going to be a tough day, but RCL Men stood up to a significantly more experienced team and fought to the death. Facing a team that recently played Ligue A rugby, the difference in the levels of experience was clear. Fribourg were a highly clinical, polished team.
The first quarter went well, with Fribourg only leading by a couple of penalties. RCL had to defend quite constantly, tackling and rucking well. Scrums started poor, as did lineouts. While there was a good weight difference that helped Fribourg in the scrum, RCL did have the height advantage. However, our lineouts lacked the level of training necessary for this level, especially with an opposition using more dynamic and complicated tactics. In the backs, while Fribourg ran well, it was their positional kicking that was so difficult to manage. Still, our back 3 defended superbly, and used these catches to mount our own attacks. Rucking was solid, tackling was consistent, and we didn’t spend a huge amount of time inside our own 22.
Eventually, however, our defense was broken, and Fribourg scored 3 tries in the second quarter – often founded on their strong mauling. It’s these higher-level skills that expose RCL’s lack of experience – and something we will have to overcome.
Within 10 mins of the second half, RCL were down 2 more tries, and things were looking ominous. But then things changed. A certain defeat did not mean certain humiliation, and RCL had a big weekend ahead vs Bern. RCL spirit was needed, to be able to take some confidence from the game.
As often happens, RCL really switched on once they got significantly annoyed. This is not to say that the first half performance was poor. Far from it. But we stepped up to the challenge – not to be humiliated – and tore into Fribourg. What we did was finally start playing our game: fast, aggressive, relentless, running, and with great shoulder support. Kicking for goal was meaningless being 5 tries down, so quick taps were used, and used highly effectively. Support was great, and a series of attacks like this made Fribourg look far from perfect.
This was not supposed to happen: at 5 tries down after 50 mins, RCL were supposed to crumble, start arguing, and concede maybe 3 more. But this just brought us together. Our lineout worked better, with great drives from them. Our scrum held – and, indeed, drove Fribourg’s back. Eventually, RCL got 2 tries, and might have gotten a third. In one game, we doubled the number of tries conceded by Fribourg all season.
One humorous excuse from Fribourg for the last 30 mins was that they had made several changes. And RCL hadn’t? And RCL hadn’t come with several key players missing? This just goes to show the strength in depth that RCL are now developing. The big test of this will be for RCL1 and RCL DJs in Bern next Satuday.
Final score: 34 – 10
Men of the Match: Feed the Goat, Rollergirl
Twats of the Match: Santa (scoring a try), Belushi (insubordination)