When does a team grown into a team?
Nowhere does a team show its strength in depth more than when it has its proverbial back to the wall and is forced to defend territory repelling one attack at their goal-line after another. It is exactly this fortitude and for want of a word, force, that led to the home-side throwing in the towel after twenty minutes of sustained pressure resulted in no try being scored. Opting for the kick at goal instead of another attempt at try-scoring, Luzern had demoralised the home side. This is not to say that it was all plain sailing after this as there many more tackles to be made, crooked line-out throw-ins to contest and scrums to be turned.
In his debut at number ten, Leonardo made a very good impression having the confidence to run with the ball in hand, throw it out to his backs and kick for position under pressure. He responded very maturely to being moved to outside centre after 20 mins, proving himself very much adept at securing ball in the line and breaking tackles in the opposition’s defence. He wasn’t to out-shadow his team-mates however and Chreegu, who thoroughly deserved being awarded man of the match, was literally everywhere, whether it was contesting ball in a maul, getting stuck in at a ruck, making tackles, or punching holes in the defence he was very dominant. His wits permitted him to make a splendid interception later in the game and it looked for a moment like he was going to make an eighty yard dash to the line on his own, but looked to put his team-mate away to be stopped by the only remaining defender.
Did the two young men steal the show? Well, nearly. But not quite – there were great runs by both our wings both of whom brushed off defenders with their physical prowess. Texi too played a great game marshalling his troops in cohorts with Marcel at ten, after Leo’s initial spell. Jinking runs from newbies Doppel and Wespi regularly put the Frenchies under huge pressure, and relieved our lines. Good solid rugby all round, the substitutes also leaving their mark with some great tackling from Alain in the last throes of the contest. And, last but not least, it was a special pleasure to see Benno grow into and assume the stature of a number nine worthy of his place today. Indeed, another tradition “Stew Talk” – this time of Benno – brought out the leader in a young player.
What can we say of the forwards? They were formidable once more, and none other than the very same John F Lalor who got the first try of the game, which is reconstructed here by Christian Cullen. And what now, you might well ask? What more could be in store? It was time for the new man with the golden boots to step up and slot the ball safely between the uprights. You are right in reading ‘safely’ as each and everyone of the kicks at goal be they the two penalties or three conversions was converted with an ease we’ve been waiting for. Tobias performed excellently when kicking for goal, as well as putting their team under a lot of pressure off second and fourth phase ball. The same can be said for the forwards in general: they contested consistently and won the mainstay of the battles on the fields conceding very rarely keeping La Chaux Fonds on the back foot more often than not.
In the scrum, Roli stole some good ball from the opposition with this hooking skills while the second row really took it to them in the loose showing lots of aggression and making ground every time they ran with the ball. Martin’s encouragement and leadership by example, Sami’s wise decision making kicking for territory at the right times, and Greg’s ferocity about the pitch either felling forwards like trees, or busting his way down the blind-side were further examples of a pack bossing their opposition up front. Stew was ever present, either in loose play or waiting to join the attack or defend with the back line. Great support play there.
All in all dear readers, this was a great day for RCL and there is a lot of excitement in the camp about the future growth and development of rugby in Luzern Rugby Club.
Final score: La Chaux-de-Fonds 15-27 RCL1
Man of the Match: Chreegu (nominatied: Doppel, Leonardo)
Twat of the Match: Roli (just showing you’re never too old to learn the rules…). (Stew bought a new costume for Twat of the Match. Each week’s twat will be responsible for bringing it to the next game…and replacing it if damaged/lost/puked on…)