Match report RCL vs Winterthur

Clearly, RCL is a different team from the team that played against Winterthur at the end of last season. Gone are the gaps in defense. Going are the high tackles. Coming are the low tackles and the chopping down of big men on our small-ish field here in Lucerne. I am writing from a coach’s perspective so I confidently acknowledge my bias. Sixty minutes of solid defending won Lucerne a platform from which to win a game yesterday, only that a lack of patience and a lack of discipline amounted to sabotage within the ranks. As with so many matches, Lucerne were able to hold out in defense yesterday not only when Winterthur were attacking from outside RCL’s twenty-two, but also when RCL were pinned down on their own try-line.
It is a remarkable attribute of RCL to be able to defend against most teams in the division on their own try-line and be able to turn the ball around after concerted pressure. Invariably, RCL do win out in these closely fought contests during play. With 60 minutes of play gone, RCL were only down by three points and could have been three points or more in front by now had kicks gone over. Indeed, it is the strength in defense that is winning RCL the opportunity to kick points in lose play. Clearly, not converting penalties into points is what lost RCL the game yesterday – and this is becoming a recurring theme. Many matches are close calls and the difference between winning and losing is the conversion of penalties.
The forwards had a great day poaching ball off Winterthur in the line-outs yesterday, and there most of the contests went RCL’s way, showing that RCL really knows how to compete in line-out play. What is now needed is concerted effort to develop the other strand of set-phase play – the scrum – and secure more first phase ball for the back division to run off. Without successes in the scrum, RCL will not be able to play to its full potential as they have such a potent back line when all the first team starting players are either fit or available. Let’s please take nothing away from the first team line-up because when the team is at full-strength, they are a formidable force to reckon with. As we saw yesterday, even with only 12 men on the pitch, RCL are very difficult to score against. I commend that. For those seeking to play in the first team, these players need to demonstrate that they can bring something to the game that other players can’t.
I am like anyone else. I like winning. There will be teams it will always be difficult to win against. On favourable days, however, even these teams are not unbeatable. On the other hand, there are matches that should be won, and yesterday was one of them. Despite my initial reservations, strength, stamina, skill and courage meant RCL played the best part of yesterday’s match in the opposition’s territory. RCL looked far the better side for most of th game. Winterthur were relieved to have won, not elated. They were handed the match on a plate. RCL must not lose matches on the number of sending-offs they concede. We must learn to win on technicalities too.

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