Winterthur 26 RCL 5
Away matches are difficult to win, are they not? Why so, we may ask. Perhaps it has to do with confidence in the surroundings, sense of belonging, the body being able to recognise better what it does week after week in training and consequently feels readier for the battle. Winterthur didn’t appear to be that ready for the game, and it was RCL who had the better part of the first half. Not only did RCL manage to hold on to quite a lot of possession when they wrestled it from their opponents, but they also managed to keep Winterthur in their own half even when Winti had the ball. In fact, it would be a safe estimate to say that RCL spent the best part of the first half in opposition territory. And yet, despite numerous attempts to get across the try-line by RCL the team failed to get more tries on the board than that single one in the first half. And what with playing against the wind, the score at half-time looked manageable. RCL were only a try and a conversion behind. I thought RCL were going to win this game at half-time.
What came to pass was the repetition of a familiar pattern in the way matches go for RCL. No sooner has the second half started than the opposition put points on the board. No sooner do they score points than this familiar ‘freeze’ seems to creep into the team and suddenly, there is little fire – the cold has set in and the team is really off the boil. Both last week and this, there have been players in the opposing side who have come to life it seems in the fortieth to sixtieth minutes of the match for their sides whilst RCL seem to resign themselves to crashing into situations where they are outnumbered, losing patience, or failing to hit their tackles.
Having said all that, it is not all bad. There is a real sense of a team in the making. This was a great team effort on Saturday. There was good support at times, less support at others. There were excellent kicking decisions made, good organisation from the backs and excellent support of newcomers by the forwards – not to mention a lot of very hard graft! Indeed, it was exciting and rewarding to see the forwards turn a scrum around in one short go. Their ability to make amends for set pieces poorly contested to set pieces firmly won in one attempt is worthy of note. There is lots to be said for this team. It will find its winning ways. It is a very good team in the making – having received high praise from the referee by the way – and I think we can all look forward to seeing a few victories chalked up very soon.