It is difficult for a side to conquer a team who have won the referee over to their side through their machinations. I don’t write this in some kind of distemper, rather it has become noticeable to me over the course of the last two games how much teams appear to be intent on winning the favour of the referee. If the referee’s favour cannot be secured in some plaintive way, then downright intimidation seems to be the way forward. It appears to be working for teams who eschew the principles of the game over the desire to win. Not that I begrudge a team for their sheer aggression on the field of play in order to achieve their desired goals. Not at all. That is all well and good. RCL could learn a thing or two from this aspect of the opposition’s game.
It was awkward refereeing that frustrated the players yesterday. It was unfair and the number of decisions that went against the team hampered the pace at which RCL like to play the game. When they have the ball in hand and can keep it alive, they are very difficult to read. The first five minutes of yesterday’s match was very well contested. And in the eighth minute, RCL responded very well under pressure. It was an excellent display of defensive rugby right up until the first try was scored, which is a bit of an obvious statement really. RCL maintained their determination and were able to launch a great attack out of defence, which led to the first try. However, there was a touch of nerves that probably led to a dropped catch on a restart and this was a critical incident as it handed ball back over to the opposition and put them on the front foot again. Alas.
Second half was familiar scrappy rugby on the whole. Bern were very good at the breakdown and contested fiercely for the ball often winning ball by counter-rucking. For their part, when RCL got the ball in hand, they always looked dangerous and likely to score most of the time. When the ball went to ground though, it was invariably lost. The momentum of the second half seemed to swing back and forward really. Whenever RCL could stay on their feet, they put Bern in all kinds of difficulty. When Bern could get the ball to ground, they invariably won it. Still, when Dave Reber went over for his very well-deserved try, which was by no means a gift, it looked as if RCL might still be in with a chance of a win. And yet, it was not to be. Even in the dying moments, it looked as if RCL might still get another try on the board down in the bottom right hand corner of the pitch, but Bern were tenacious in defence. It was a good match, all in all.
Try scorers: Sven and Dave Reber