After a solid performance against Zürich2 last week, RCL Men took on Alba Lausanne, a team with several seasons’ experience in Ligue B. After a disappointing defeat away to them in October, we wanted revenge.
RCL started well. Our scrum showed continued improvement, even on the previous week. Throughout the match, plenty of ball was won against the head, and our quick put-in and strike will be essential against stronger scrummagers. With changes in the back line, RCL found it difficult to penetrate the Alba defense. Still, varied moves were executed, and our back line showed a more complex style of play.
Reviews are proving useful, where players are considering what we did well the previous week, what we did poorly, and what we need to change. The pack improved in several areas from the previous week: defensive lines, pick-and-go, and Fatboy balls were improved, and ball-retention was consistent. Line-outs are still a problem, however. Backs took the ball into the tackle well, and the whole team – forwards and backs – rucked with good speed and effectiveness. The back three got plenty of ball, and caused Alba a lot of trouble. RCL showed what a strong attacking team they can be, and it was also promising that our supposedly small pack can do the business, too.
The strength in our squad showed Saturday, where we coped well with several first-15 absences, with players adapting to new positions and playing partners. The continued, consistent training of a growing number of committed players is essential in giving RCL the depth needed to do well in Ligue B. The RCL squad is not only consolidating its rightful place in Ligue B, but is challenging for a play-off place – a significant shift from the atmosphere of last Autumn.
While Alba arrived with just 16 players, it must be said that you can never take a French-Swiss team lightly. Alba fought hard, and were clearly well experienced. RCL dealt with the trouble. Right to the final whistle, our defensive line was solid and consistent. Disappointingly, for all our possession, we failed to get a 4th try, and the bonus point. Still, this is a great sign for a team new to the division: to set our sights not just on winning, but on winning well.
Finally, a sincere thank you to all the supporters there Saturday. It was a great crowd, and always so important to the players. It was a great setting for our last home game of 2011/12…unless the play-offs produce some surprises…
RCL 22-7 Alba Lausanne
Nick (2), Raa