P7 Match Report – at Boroughmuir
Sunday 4th December 2016
It was nice to get back to winter rugby in the sunshine at Meggetland on Sunday. Although we only managed to play against Boroughmuir, with Dalkeith struggling for numbers, they were a well drilled side and gave our boys some great game time over the 2 matches we played. In advance of the games, we’d drilled the boys on decision making around defensive rucks, choosing when to commit numbers and when to stand off. While it sounds simple, this is a very technical matter requiring quick and cool decision making in the heat of the contest for the ball and very good communication amongst the boys to re-order the defensive line and set for the next tackle.
And so to the matches. In the first half of game 1, most of the boys played as though still asleep. Players chose not to make tackles in critical areas of the field, support running was poor with our faster boys getting isolated in contact and the speed of delivery off the back of the ruck was really slow and indecisive, allowing the aggressive Boroughmuir pack to push us off the ball on numerous occasions, even after we’d won and secured the ball on the ground. That said, we scored some nice individual tries to go in 3-3 at half time.
The half-time team talk wasn’t pretty, with the frailties of our performance in the first half pointed out and some clear instruction given for what needed to be done differently going into the next period. And from here, our day improved…..
The second half of this game saw all boys committed to the task, driving forward when in possession, clearing out rucks and securing the ball, allowing the inter-play of our backs to cut through the Boroughmuir defence and seemingly score at will. We ended the game winning by only one try, but the difference between the 2 halves was much more stark.
In our second game, the boys were well into their stride and both halves of the game were a joy to watch. Our decision making and communication in attack led to some great interplay – most notably in the backs where the timing of passes and running lines would have graced any level of game. But coming back to our pre-match preparation, in defence, the boys formed a Red wall every time the ‘Muir boys had possession and frustrated their attack time and again. Our decision making and commitment at the ruck was excellent, giving the larger Boroughmuir lads no-where to go when in possession – we lost count of the number of times they ran out of space on the wing and were driven into touch, or fumbled a pass under extreme pressure and were forced backwards, conceding possession.
The second game was won very convincingly, and the smiles on the boys’ faces were mirrored by the coaches at the final whistle. It was a great way to end the afternoon having played to their potential and ideal preparation for this coming weekend.
Please pass on our congratulations to the boys for entertaining the supporters on the touchline and playing some lovely running rugby against a very good Boroughmuir side.
One last plea – from our drills pre-match and on Wednesdays, it’s clear that some boys still struggle with passing and catching the rugby ball while running (a problem that runs through to our National team and Pro clubs, sadly….). It’s not a natural action, and one that needs lots of practice to perfect. Can I ask that you encourage the boys to play with a rugby ball when at home, throwing and catching it and maybe even join in. (Our senior teams are always looking for new players….;))