RCL2 got their first league win, away to Zug2. A great performance across the pitch, from young and old, experienced and inexperienced.
RCL2 started with the aggression and speed we asked at the Tuesday meeting. Our reward was an early penalty. From the outset, it was clear that RCL2 were there to win, and not merely to improve and gain more experience. With a full squad available to Zug2 (as Zug1 played at the same venue Saturday), this was big task for RCL2.
The game was a great spectacle, with a lot of open rugby, and really not too many errors. But it did get a bit dirty, largely thanks to fouling by both sides in rucks. RCL2 showed themselves able to defend themselves and their teammates. Still, this was a lesson in just getting on with the game and not reacting to the bad refereeing decisions that happen every week.
The whole game was a tight affair, and RCL2 never looked in trouble. Concentration and spirit were great. After slipping behind later in the game, we kept pushing right to the end. And were rewarded with a penalty to steal the game by 1 point.
Overall, the level of improvement was huge, when we reflect on performances in the Autumn. Rucking is now clean and fast in most cases. Tackling was consistent across the team, and we rarely allowed Zug2 to break through our defensive line. The rate of retention (taking into the tackle, then rucking) was really high. Simple things, like placing the ball after the tackle, were done really well.
One really impressive improvement was the reaction speed of the whole team. We took many tap penalties, and the support was always there. One tap penalty led to some tidy phases before Nico Balboa went over. Likewise, while the decision to kick for goal had already been given, another tap penalty near the end showed that, even after 75 mins, RCL2 were ready, focused, and kept a cool head.
But more general than that was that this felt like a regular team: players showed that they knew what to do at the different parts of the game, such as positioning, responsibilities and hard work. This is what was needed.
Looking great for 2014/15!
Final score: Zug2 13 – RCL2 14