RCL Men couldn’t have had a tougher start to the 2011/12 season. Missing captain Raphi with a knee injury, and with several significant players unavailable for the season opener, this newly promoted squad was always facing an uphill struggle. Several injuries during the game ensured all subs were used – many of whom were playing their first competitive game.
Bern, a Ligue A team only two years ago, who finished only one place short of promotion back to Ligue A only four months ago, were as tough an opposition as RCL will likely see this year. Then, as if that weren’t enough, a scorching day showed the poor fitness of much of the squad.
Despite this, we fought hard, and kept pressing Bern, scoring a fine try near the end of the game. Overall, the forwards did well in the lineouts, and competed well in scrums especially against the head. In the open, the difference between the teams was clearest, where Bern’s rucking and multi-phase rugby was difficult to defend for a far lighter, less drilled RCL pack. The backs performed well with the ball they received, and stretched Bern on several occasions. Again, however, the quality of the opposition ensured a constant stream of threatening Bern attacks. However, the lack of regular practice as consistent units – the back line and forwards – showed against a highly organised opposition.
Life is vastly different for RCL to a mere four months ago. But this squad has huge potential, and has benefited some quality additions in recent months. It is certain that we have the ability for Ligue B, once the work is undertaken to do ourselves justice at this level.
Final score: RCL 5-52 Bern