Saturday was all about concentration, consistency, and finishing off 2012 with a win against a strong Bern team. We knew we’d let ourselves down vs Bern in Luzern, and it was time to do our progress justice. With 4 months to wait until our next game, should we slip up against Bern, this was an important opportunity we were not going to waste.
Right from the start, RCL battled brilliantly, rucked well, our backs were clearly “clicking,” and our mistake count was low. However, and early try from Bern from a penalty near our line put us up against it. There was no question that RCL were up to the task, and we quickly settled into a game where we held a slight advantage through the first half overall. Against a large pack, RCL used their advantage in the speed and intensity of our game, constantly keeping Bern moving. Our lineout was working excellently, and the mauls formed from many of them gave us the opportunity to attack. Our backs ran well, our moves coming off nicely, and tactical kicking from #9 and #10 was putting good pressure on Bern. Tackling was consistent, with several important tackles out wide made when Bern attacked with their dangerous backline.
Bern infringements were punished, and RCL led 9-8 at the break. While the second half was quite even, RCL did spend a lot of time in the Bern half. Indeed, there were few occasions where Bern spent much time in our 22. Sadly, this territory was not translated into points. Eventually, Bern’s dangerous attack broke through and scored in the corner. RCL and Bern exchanged penalties, and, with 7 mins to go, Bern led 16-12. No team wins consistently without a little luck, but you have to be aware to take advantage of that opportunity. And an interception with 4 mins to go gave us the try we needed, and we eventually held on to our 3-point lead. This was a significant demonstration of RCL’s fighting spirit and self-belief.
Tactical kicking; backline cohesion & passing; rucking; Shamrocks; lineouts; scrums; concentration…and RCL’s awesome fans* – led by Pompom Ninnihuusi…
To be worked on:
Knock-ons in the tackle (perhaps too intent on offloading, rather than holding & setting up ruck); charging their receiver in a line after we kick for clearance; dept of our backline in attack; too much forwards’ ball (e.g. Shamrock) when under pressure/deep in defense; continued development of cover defense by backrow; increased use of tactical kicking from all backs.
Finally, Saturday saw the debut of the RCL DJs, with several players whose careers stretch back to between September and 2 weeks ago. It said something about RCL that we gave Bern 2 players. The game was 12-a-side due to Bern numbers. The tackling was great, and especially considering so little experience. Rucks and lineouts were also impressive for the same reason. Rugby is a complicated enough game, so the way the new guys have taken to it is highly encouraging.
Bern2 and RCL DJs traded tries for the first half or so, but then Bern2’s clear advantage in experience gave them the edge, and they won it 5 tries to 2.
Overall, the presence of so many new guys is having a great effect on the club, with greater competition for places, and the leadership role several of the more experienced guys are taking. Looking great for 2013.
Final scores: Bern1 16-19 RCL1; Bern2 25-15 RCL DJs
Men of the Matches: Masi (tackling), Yannis (tackling)
Twats of the Matches: Pasci (for playing well despite training attendance), Guido (dirty Italian play…)
*With that support, if you didn’t know, who would you have thought were the home team??