After 4 and a half months’ break, it’s hard to know how your first game will pan out. A great performance in Dublin in February followed a poor one against Zug last weekend. Zurich2 always provide a stern test, and we were missing several first team players. We always start too softly, too slowly, letting the opponents dictate the game.
Not this time. From the start, RCL Men tore into a Zurich2 outfit that humiliated us 6 months ago. Scrums had been a massive problem for us, and Zurich2 had a significantly bigger pack, with far more experience. No matter. We won our own, we won several against the head, and Zurich2′s formidable front 5 were ground down. Our front 5 worked as a genuine unit.
One goal of the day was for the RCL pack to take it to the opposition, taking on far more Fatboy and pick-and-drive ball than before. This they did – and, significantly, ball retention was excellent. Line-outs were good, but still a lot to do. What was particularly heartening was our stealing ball on their throw. RCL competed all day long, and our performance belied our obvious size disadvantages.
By the forwards securing our own ball in scrums and line-outs – areas where we had huge problems before – as well as winning several against the head, the backs had plenty of ball. And they used it well. Despite missing some players, the backs put together some great phases of play, constantly running at the opposition. Seeing gaps and executing opportunities made Zurich2′s day very difficult. This back line is up there with the table-topping teams. April will be interesting.
Overall, much success came from both the pack’s and the backs’ willingness to take the ball to the opposition; being far more positive and willing to run with ball in hand. Still, without good ball retention in the tight, this would not have been possible. Every player who wore the RCL colours Saturday took responsibility. There was a calmness and confidence about RCL play that wasn’t evident before.
Finally, it was disappointing how several of their players complained about lack of attendance at training, and losing players. This does not take away one iota from our win; it simply shows the spirit at RCL, and the ability to work through the awful luck of last Autumn’s injuries, and come out far stronger for it. We had a healthy squad Saturday, but our attendance at training is by no means strong either.
Whatever their excuses, Zurich2 had mostly the same faces as in previous encounters. Maybe, as Corporal Jones used to say, it was more because “they don’t like it up ‘em”?…
RCL 37-7 Zurich2
Remo, Raaa, Luke, Dani, Nick