Luzern strengthened their chances of keeping the league title with victory in Zurich on Sunday. Against the only side to take points away from the Dangels this season, the visitors showed great commitment and aggression to overcome a determined opposition in a tough match.
Before the game, RCL Dangels were able to name a full teamsheet, with 7 substitutes available. It was also great to welcome back Judith and Wespi to the team.
From the very start Luzern took control, dominating possession in the first 10 minutes through good rucking and confident ball-carrying. Zurich tackled well, but a stunning run by Esti straight through two tackles in the centre set Luzern on their way to a 7-0 lead.
Zurich still hadn’t got started and it wasn’t long before Carole made it 14-0. Some superb counter rucking near the halfway line allowed Luzern to get quick ball. Great hands from Esi, Schlumpf and Carien got the ball wide to Lolli, who sprinted half the pitch to double the lead.
The home side had to raise their game and they did. With powerful forwards helping to keep possession with small runs either side of the ruck, Zurich gradually moved closer and closer to the Dangels’ tryline. It needed a big tackle or some quick thinking to steal the ball, but unfortunately Zurich were too powerful to hold back and eventually they charged over for the try to make it 14-5.
Everyone remained calm and focussed though. From the kick-off, Luzern forced Zurich to defend deep in their own half. A lineout near the 22m line was stolen by Lala and passed wide through the backs to Henni, who was too quick and strong for the opposition to stop. She scored in the corner to make it 19-5.
Zurich kept coming back at Luzern and made sure that our tackling had to be at its best. The home team had some good pressure on the Dangels’ tryline but determined defence kept them out. Just before half-time, Luzern scored a crucial 4th try to get a bonus-point. After Zurich kicked clear from their 22m line, the ball was passed wide through the backs to Henni who still had 3 players to get past. This she did, handing off 2 of the girls and outsprinting the 3rd to score a great try under the posts. The score was 26-5.
The second half saw a lot of tired bodies take the field from both teams. It was no surprise that there were much less attacking opportunities available and this would be a half where the aggressive tackling and rucking from both teams cancelled each other out. However with the big advantage in the scoreline, RCL Dangels was just fine with this.
Credit to Zurich, who kept attacking Luzern no matter how many times a big tackle came back at them – often from Sarah Mac, who led the Dangels superbly all day. A period of pressure in the corner finally led to a score, following lots of hard work from their strong forwards. At 26-10 with 20 minutes to go, perhaps this game would finish nervously for the visiting team?
In the end, one more try confirmed a deserved victory. Carole received the ball just past the halfway line and kicked long and high. After running for her own kick, a good bounce saw the ball fly into her arms and she crossed the line for a superb try. The celebrations could begin!
31-10 was a deserved scoreline for a strong performance away from home. Thank you to everyone for your outstanding commitment to the team, especially to those who didn’t get onto the pitch. One more win against Bern at home on Saturday will confirm the league title. Let’s hope we can make it over the finish line!
Angel of the match: Mac. Relentless tackling all day and total commitment.
Devil of the match: Cynthia. She gets the horns for trying to break someone’s elbow with her jaw, a dodgy pass from a lineout 5 metres out from her own line and injuring Jürgen in the warm-up.
Beers to: Judith and Wespi. Welcome back!
Report by Luke, Coach Dangels