Match Report – BRFC Paris vs. XV de la Pinte

First of all, I know what you are all thinking. “It’s the middle of December and this is the first match report of the season?!” Yes, I know. Unfortunately I have been rather busy rediscovering the student life….

Anyway, on to the important stuff. Life for the BRFC in the FFSE Top 14 hasn’t been easy so far, as we knew was going to be the case. Three defeats against PEER, RCAP and CSPTT were balanced out by wins against VRP and Tribal XV meaning that the expats went into the last game of the calendar year in the middle of the table. The opponents for this weeks game were XV de la Pinte who eliminated BRFC from the FFSE Cup last year. Revenge was in the Domont air, then, as the boys looked to finish 2015 on a high.

A full team-sheet featuring some familiar names in the form of Joe “Trigger” Bough, Tom “Hackney Hipster” Bentley & Bryn “Christmas Balls” Davies took to the field knowing that they would have to come out of the blocks flying in order to startle their opponents. Luckily that is just what they did with some big early carries from Maxime “Mother Russia” Jean who set about sending pints flying everywhere. The fast and furious start from the expat almost paid dividends as the wall of white edged closer to the visitors try-line. The referees whistle soon put pay to any hopes of an early try as the British were penalised for counter-rucking from the side allowing the XV de la Pinte to clear their lines. The big pints then went to work, marching the BRFC forwards back to their own line, so much so that the backs were able to spread the ball wide and take the lead against the run of play. The conversion was made to make the score 0-7 leaving the British boys a tad shell-shocked.

In front of a sold-out Stade des Fauvettes, the boys in white decided to up the ante after this early set back. The big boys set about rumbling the ball up the park as they love to do sending the Pinte big boys packing on their way. Unfortunately this wave of attack was also not enough to get the well overdue first BRFC try and the scoreboard would remain untouched at half time. The message from Coach McCann during the break was simple. BRFC were quite clearly in the ascendancy and it was just a matter of time before the scoreboard showed it. Knowing exactly what to do, a re-jigged team took back to the field to finish the job.

The elusive try that everyone was waiting for would come roughly 10 minutes after half time from a trademark bowling ball style carry from Liam “You Knows I Loves The Bumpaa Caaaaaars” Isaac. The conversion was made by Nick “Hey Everybody Come See How Good I Look” Sanders to bring the scores level at 7-7. The BRFC tails were now well and truly in the air and after a huge hit on the Pinte 10 by James “Chow Chow” Grieve lead to a turnover, the boys knew that momentum had finally turned in their favour.

The shift in momentum soon led to a shift in the score. In a never before seen BRFC move, both Brian “Freedom Bald Eagle Corn Dogs Mustang” Dodson”  and James Grieve managed to pass the ball between themselves a couple of times which saw the bearded giant score the expats second try of the game. The conversion was made by the ever reliable Colonel Sanders giving the BRFC a 14-7 lead.

As bizarre as that move sounds, what happened next was just as bizarre. The referee had to be temporarily replaced to stop a nose bleed. Cue the entry of Richard “Probably The Best Referee In The World” Woolf to take over the officiating duties. After two minutes of being called Sir by his mates and a penalty for each team, the actual referee had seen enough and took back to the field.

Avid BRFC match report readers will know all too well that the boys don’t like to make their lives easy at the end of close games. Heading into the last 20 minutes the XV de la Pinte came knocking at the BRFC door and at the umpteenth time of asking, scored a try of their own. All eyes were on the Pinte kicker as he lined up the conversion to draw us team level. The cheers from the BRFC supporters confirmed that the attempt drifted wide meaning the BRFC had a slim 2 point lead to defend. And defend it they did.

If we had possession stats for the game, the last 10 minutes would probably read XV de la Pinte – 100%. The visitors threw absolutely everything they had at the BRFC try line but the heroic defence that you would have read about last year held strong. Maybe 2 hours of tackling practice at training wasn’t such a bad idea after all…

The Pintes task was made slightly easier for the last couple of minute as try scorer Isaac was binned for a mis-placed naughty word but the BRFC line remained unbreakable until the end of the match. Victory for the BRFC, then in the last game of 2015!!!

Who says last game of the calendar year says CHRISTMAS BALL! And what a Christmas Ball it was. Special thanks to the Dodsons and Nick Sanders for the organisation (despite forgetting the raffle prizes…) and to the BRFC band consisting of Selim Izrar, Tom Middleton and guest for the banging choons! Chez Christophe didn’t disappoint either and the 400g entrecotes went down a treat!

Rendez-vous in 2016 for the next chapter of the BRFC Top 14 adventure, next game is the 9th of January at Domont.