Success away at the Hornets
Yet another great performance yesterday morning and well worth the journey down the M5 for the travelling support.
A good turnout of about 22 boys. We had more backs than forwards which meant that we could have nearly two whole back lines. We planned to get one back line playing the whole of the first half and the other playing the whole of the second half. This would mean that all the backs would get at least a half of rugby.
When we arrived we thought that we were at the wrong pitch since the only team in sight appeared to be several years older than our boys. Enquires were made and it became apparent that we were in fact looking at our opposition for the day!
I introduced myself to their coaches who appeared very relaxed, thinking that they were in for an easy day at the office when they looked at our flyweight boys casually warming up at the other end of the pitch. The Hornets on the other hand were fully focused with an entourage of backs coaches, forwards coaches, defensive coaches, physios and team managers all in matching track suits!
It is a credit to our boys that they appeared to be much less perturbed by the size of the opposition than their parents
However we were to play on a 4G artificial pitch under clear blue skies which is a perfect combination for our brand of fast expansive running rugby - if only we could get on hands on some ball.
We chose to receive the ball from the kick off and within a few phases our new signing Jerry, ran a perfect outside arc dissecting their centres to score in the corner. A good way for St Brendans’ first ever oversees signing to announce his arrival. However had we peaked too soon and sticks and Hornets nests sprang to mind?
We received the ball again from the kick off and not to be outdone Will demonstrated to Jerry that he is still The Man by scoring one of his trademark tries. Two tries in 5 minutes not a bad start.
After this excellent start, the game then settled down with our forwards giving as much as they got up front and competing manfully with a much larger pack. Fantastic defence from the forwards stopped the Hornets’ big runners in their tracks and often knocked them backwards. In fact the game was memorable for two tackles. The first from Shep who stopped one of their largest runners in full flight. It was more of a head on collision than a tackle and Shep was rather harshly adjudged to have gone high and penalised accordingly. The second was a textbook tackle from George who picked up his opponent and knocked him backwards. George was himself adjudged to have taken the player beyond the horizontal. It was marginal but he was penalised all the same. It was great to see big hits and double tackles all across the park and our defensive and much as our offence won the day.
One thing to keep working on is our speed at the breakdown. When we have to go into contact, we often get turned over as our support is too slow to arrive and clear out. This is a facet of the game that can easily be improved upon at training
The boys were again too quiet on the pitch and we need more leaders to organise things on the pitch and lift the boys when we concede. How can a bunch of boys be so chopsey off the pitch yet so quiet on it? It is great playing heads up rugby and this is what we want to encourage but a little bit more organisation on the pitch would not go amiss. Perhaps Llewellyn can work with the boys organising simple attacking and defensive lines.
Also we lived off side in the first half which annoyed the ref and we must have conceded 5 or 6 needless penalties. This aspect of our game really improved in the second half when we conceded far fewer penalties.
Otherwise a very impressive display. Talking to their head coach, who is also a DPP coach, it became apparent that he was quite jealous of the quality of our handling and passing and our use of space and our ability to get the ball in to the hands of our strike runners out wide.