The virtues of attrition on the field of rugby cannot be underestimated. RCL has won both its most recent matches on the strength of their capacity to defend their line come what may. Indeed, RCL make a solemn promise to themselves as a team before the begin of each match to defend to the last. It is this kind of heroicism which captures the imagination; it is this kind of resolute determination not to concede points on the own try-line and remain there denying the opposition any chance of scoring. This is a quiet kind of heroicism. It is understated and dynamic at the same time. Its dynamism is so forceful it can break a team. It did so today. La Chau de Fond’s will to play was broken by sheer determination on the side of RCL today. This is an achievement: when the opposition capitulates and that is what they did.
The first half was plagued by one penalty after another today for RCL. No sooner was some territory claimed, some possession won than ill-discipline handed all the recent gains back over to the opposition. It was RCL that kept La Chaux de Fonds in the game by giving them the chance to play some much of the first half in RCL territory. And yet, despite a couple of penalties, La Chaux de Fonds never really looked like scoring a try – not even in those dark ten minutes of the second half. There were flashes of ingenuity, excellent kicking from behind the rucks, and steady minds occupying linch-pin positions. It was this steadiness of attitude, resoluteness of spirit which made the final win possible.
The second half belonged to RCL on the whole. The dark ten minutes of defending and a few scrums aside, RCL had the upper hand for most of this half. After the big pushes from the La Chaux de Fonds’ scrum in the first half, RCL seemed better able to contain the opposition’s scrum in the second despite losing them. Harrying and busy at the backs of the scrums, their scrum half did not have an easy time of it.
As always, RCL were dynamic and dangerous when they found the slightest slither of space to break into. And yet, the back line was under-deployed, there having been ample opportunities for overlaps to be made. Nevertheless, this is a team in the making still. Absences and injuries have created instability and unpredictability in the line up. However, there is competition for places now and as this team coheres further, we can look forward to more instances of brilliant support play, further excellence among the forwards, fluidity in the backs, and daring in general. A well-deserved win today.