Match report 1XV vs. RC The Dukes
Sunday 20 October somewhere far away from the Palenpadje, the LSRG I played a game against the number one in our pool: Dukes II. We knew from the results that this team didn't concede many tries and that they were a solid team with a good pack, but we had never played this team before. Jack and Sebas needed to retreat from the game due to a food poisoning and a minor incident on our dies diner last friday. Nevertheless, we went out there with a strong team, aiming for an upset.
During the warmup the pieces feel together as we noticed that almost their whole team were aged between 17 and 20 and they had a few very experienced players among them. We had a clear game plan as this has been our winning formula last week, dominant them in open play with the pack and outplay them with the backs after.
As the first half kicked off a tug of war started and there wasn't a score in the first 20 minutes. Both teams made hard hits and didn't gave an inch in defence. This resulted in a lot of errors from both sides and a lot of scrums. This was a part were the Dukes got the better of us. We were struggling to keep the ball and the ref wasn't on our side. Penalizing us (free-kick, I know) for early pushing and not going the other way. This in combination with penalties for not releasing when the tackler clearly used a Richie McCaw technique not being on his feet and then using the force to get hands on the ball, pinned us in our own half. The first blood was caused during a blood replacement of or team. As blood poured out of the nose of Jord, the floodgates were literally opened. While asking the ref for a blood sub, a quick tap was taken by the dukes which resulted in the first points were on the board. This didn't affect our game as we started firing again and continued the tug of war. As they were slowing down every ball using hands and counter rucks, we couldn't convert this into tries. We were forced into slow attacks from our forwards, working there butt off, and dangerous plays from our backs. The second try came just before half time as a random kick with a lucky bounce ended with us under the posts again.
We knew that we could takes these guys and we started the second half great. We pushed them into their half and started the assault. A perfectly executed orange between Willem and Big dan resulted in a try for us. As they slowed down every ball and again won penalties using their jackaling formula, we again couldn't convert our chances into tries. As our fly-half had a flash back to the France-Wales game of that morning, he attempted a drop goal to get some points on the board. This just missed the posts and just a few phases later they got their final try after pinning us into the corner with another penalty. We did again keep the fight up. As they were getting tired and we got some fast ball the ref awarded us a penalty try after multiple offside on the try line. As we kept on fighting, we could get another score in. The final score was 24-14.
Again, everyone deserves to be mentioned for their work rate. We got a lot against us, but we kept on fighting and our tackle completion rate was very high. We showed great attacking and defending power but just were not lucky in the finishing. They only scored from mistakes which means that they couldn't crack our defence once even with their years of experience packed in their team. The things we can work on for the next games are the ruck and game management with slow ball. A special mention is going out to Alvero who re-scheduled a visit of his parents, even though he only sees them twice a year, to be at the game. Te quiero mucho!