In a tight, tough game from the beginning, RCL equipped themselves well with even more injury problems than last week. Neuchatel, a comfortable mid-table Ligue B team last season, brought a strong, well-drilled pack, and a decent back line. The game remained scoreless in the first half, but RCL were camped largely in the Neuchatel half for the first 40 mins. Sadly, opportunity didn’t pay with scores. With so many forced changes due to the absence of several players, almost all of our backs started out of position. Nonetheless, they proved threatening. Several changes were made throughout the game, with two more debutants being used, who equipped themselves well.
The sole try of the game came in the second half after a mistake in defense by RCL. However, curious refereeing allowed an apparent knock-on, for the opposition to score under our posts. Later, RCL created several opportunities to get a score. Territorial advantage was ours on many occasions in the second half. However, a combination of inexperience, the lack of a well-drilled pack, poor cohesion between players due to so many changes, and more bizarre interpretation of the rules by the custodian meant RCL would eventually fail to capitalise on the chances they had created for themselves.
Overall, a far more satisfactory performance than last week. The work mid-week on defense in the forwards paid off, where a far tighter, organised line awaited Neuchatel attacks. As ever, still a lot more to do to bring this RCL team to the standard that is both expected in Ligue B, but, more importantly, what we should expect of ourselves.
RCL 0 – 7 Neuchatel
Nudity: Mike & Micky (and Tomas last week)