Stoics or heroics – RCL v Fribourg

RCL I receives commendation from many quarters at present. Fribourg’s coach mentioned to one of our spectators how much RCL have improved as a side. This is hight praise coming from a former member of the Swiss rugby team! Not just this week, but last week too, was one where spectators stated clearly their appreciation of the performance RCL I had put in. This week was no different. And yet it was different in that the match was lost. And that difference again shows how great the efforts are on the pitch during matches and off the pitch during training sessions: RCL do not concede tries! It is a very great strength of a side that forces other teams to kick for goal because they know they cannot score tries. It is a great strength of a side that can contain a team, keep them under pressure and force them to kick possession away because they know they cannot get through – they won’t score a try. Such strength of resolve, such determination, such will to defend to the last: there is great stoicism in these acts of defiance. It is great to watch RCL command a game and keep it in the opponents half for 30 minutes of a match. It is a marvel to watch teams kick in desperation coupled with sheer frustration. And it is equally frustrating to see teams kick easy penalties and slowly build leads when RCL are winning the contest hands down.

RCL had a worthy opponent yesterday. Fribourg came for a fight, and went away happy men satisfied with having faced a foe of equal status. As the Fribourg players left yesterday, I found myself thinking to myself, “They seem to be unwilling to leave without saying a proper ‘adieu’.”. I thought I detected respect and admiration in their attitude as they left. For sure, there was a great deal of respect and admiration from Fribourg during the second half of the match in particular as they really stepped up the pace and intensity of their rugby for the third quarter: they had not been that ferocious all match and it was because that they knew if they did not do so they would lose. Indeed, if there had been a few more minutes to play, RCL would have scored another try. By this time, RCL were moving as a unit and backs played like forwards and forwards played like backs. There was great skill, great effort, great flare, too. Nevertheless, getting a sniff of victory can make the stoicism take a back seat and for patience players substitute glory. Heroics rather than stoics gives ball away, and despite the massive efforts to win the match in the last 20 minutes, indiscipline weakened the team. It was a game of nearly, but not quite. To lose 12 points to 7 is no disgrace. Next time though, RCL will hope to have the patience to win.

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