Under new coaches this season, August 17th was the first testing ground for St Brendan's to play their new scheme in a live action game away at Broad Plain. Under Joe Batley and George Perkins, St Brendan's are playing with a new game plan from what they are typically used to. Although familiar in some aspects, there was still a learning curve for The Saints in their opening pre season game.
Overall, St Brendan's looked strong and a common word cropping up from spectators...'fast'. It led them to a 19-17 victory.
Broad Plain, having faced off against Frampton Cottrell the week before, came out fast and physical, which led Brendan's to spend the opening quarter defending for the majority, testing their match fitness. After 20, some time to collect their breath and thoughts, The Saints started applying the pressure. The new game plan began to settle, being executed with more composure and co-ordination, before ripping off a rumbling try from Stu Rose, scoring under the posts from the half way line. Physical carries from Matthew Stanley, Joe Rogers and Ben Thomas-Williams set up the score.
The opening half was predominantly led by the starting 15, including noticeable first starts for new additions, winger Jake Fox and Back Row, Ben Cass. Jake ripped open a few nice runs in open space showing off the wheels, while Ben made for great physical presence, making great tackles all over the park.
The half ended 7-7, which opened up the stage to rotate in the new, young and old Brendan's players looking to make a case for the 1XV come September.
Many players stood out in the rotation. A recent transition from Colts to Senior, Ben Robinson, ripped off a stunning full pitch try, beating his man on the outside with a strong fend and blazing past the Full Back with pure speed. Guy St-Leger made fantastic carries and tackles showing off the strength, while also getting his name on the score sheet with a try.
A huge proportion of the 2nd half was spent camped in our own 22, but despite the situation, The Saints defended relentlessly and managed to keep Broad Plain to only 1 score in the 2nd half. It proved to be a great indication of mental toughness against what was an impressive Broad Plain side who played with more structure and flare from what The Saints had seen from them in previous pre season matchups.
St Brendan's final pre season game will be at home on the 24th August against BAC.