The Dangels ended the first half of the season with a convincing win in Nyon on Saturday to maintain their 100% record. Despite enduring a tough opening 25 minutes where passing and catching the ball seemed impossible, a sign of the mental strength that comes with being champions was displayed to overwhelm a spirited and tough-tackling home team.
The forwards came together well once again in a much-changed side. Manu came back after many months out to fill-in at second row and play superbly. Jenny played a full game at flanker and used the minutes to perform admirably and improve noticeably as the game went on. Crucial additional support once again from our Basel friends came in the form of Steffi, who despite having played only a couple of sevens games so far, displayed real determination and fight.
But the start of the game was frustrating. With good possession, albeit mostly in the Luzern half of the field, the back-line simply could not catch the ball or even pass it with any kind of accuracy. Credit should go to the Nyon/Monthey side for their speed in putting our backs under pressure. This is something that our backs can really learn from.
Through sticking together as a team, Luzern kept fighting back through the mistakes, and when a ball finally found its way wide to Edith, she took full advantage to sprint away in the 15th minute, breaking two tackles and scoring under the posts.
For the rest of the first half Luzern began to string more phases together, working their way up the field only to be stopped by formidable defending. It took until the 39th minute to increase the score, Carole sprinting wide down the right side after good quick passing through the back line. There was even enough time to steal another try just before half-time. More good passing and support play allowed Luzern to put serious pressure on the home goal-line. After one attempt at scoring was held up, a scrum 5 metres out saw Judith attempt a number 8 pick-up and attack the line. Desperate defending saw her held up, but the ball was recycled and Schlumpf managed to crash over for the try. A conversion made it 17-0 at the half.
The second half saw much more consistent play from Luzern. Handling errors were still present and tackling was still too passive. But this is a confident team that never lets their heads go down at the sign of trouble. It is seen as a challenge and all the Dangels played in the second half with real determination to finish the job.
10 minutes into the second period and a ball played inside the Luzern half came to Carole, who despite being in the centre of the field was able to attack the line, use Steffi as a decoy runner and carry on up the right sideline for an impressive try in the corner.
Another ten minutes later, the same player scored in exactly the same place – this time after concerted Luzern pressure in the Nyon 22 metre area. The home side kicked the ball up-field, but Carole was there to receive it and sprint right back at them, missing 2 tackles and dancing up the sideline to make it 27-0.
With ten minutes to go, Luzern confirmed the victory. Henni stole the ball in the tackle and made 10 metres before giving the ball to fellow back-rower Judith, who had been running aggressively all day at the Mermigans, making big territory gains. After finally being brought down, the quick support ensured the backs could pass it wide to a rampaging Sarah Stuart. She unselfishly gave it wide for Edith to easily run into the left corner for her second try of the day.
Credit to Nyon/Monthey, who were willed on by a loud home support, and had a dominant 5 minute spell where they so nearly scored what would have been a deserved try after big pressure in the Luzern 22. But the Dangels’ defending held until the last, and the scoring was finished off by Carien close to full-time – a ball wide into space leaving her still with two players to beat, but her strength and speed taking her into the far right corner.
Many thanks to the great support of the girls who were not playing. Also to all the girls who stepped up to ensure we had a full team, even if they may not have been 100% fit. We can now head into the Winter break to recover from our injuries, get people back from holidays and work on the areas that we need to improve on. Make no mistake, it will be a tough second half of the season. We will need to step-up our performances in order to retain the championship – but by showing the same spirit and attitude as we did in this game, we will be just fine.
Angel of the match: Judith. Led the forwards well and ran like her life depended on it
Devil of the match: Lala. Big bump on her head meant the horns would go well with it
Drinks for: Steffi (first match and played well), Manu (great to have her back after so long out and played like she had never been away)
written by Luke