BRFC MAKE IT FOUR WINS IN A ROW
It was hard. It was tough. Nerve Racking for the supporters who were there… But in the end the British Rugby Football Club of Paris recorded a well-deserved 8-5 victory over CSPTT five places above the expats in the league table.
There was a feeling in the air right from the warm up that the day held good omens for the British. The squad down in numbers on Saturday got out and got the ball rolling even before coaches Brendan McCann and Mariano Poda instructed them to. A moment which would embody the team spirit of the day.
The side was captained by the iconic Manny Bouscasse, the most English French person alive. Scrum half for the day was Nick Sanders still unbeaten with the British; the club’s lucky charm. British Top scorer Martin Taillandier started at 15 whilst young player of the season Franco Poda started at hooker. The bench which would be sorely needed later featured the experienced Richard Woolf, Alessandro Donada, Brian Dodson and Constantin de Langautier.
BRFC had the ball to kick off and off we went. The first tackle of the match highlighted what proceedings would be like that afternoon, but unfortunately a first penalty against the home side brought CSPTT inside the British half. A first blow and substitution for the expats as Simon Harding pulled a hamstring and came off but was replaced by Guillaume Pellan returning to the fold after four years. An emotional moment for the British forward.
The game started in a very closed fashion and the British were pinned back in defence. Edward Wrigley, Maxime Jean and Guillaume Pellan tackling time and time again to bring down the CSPTT waves of attacks. The work on the training ground was showing for the British though who made ground every time they attacked. However it was CSPTT who would draw first blood and looking at the first 20 minutes it was a deserved lead. A succession of phases led to an overlap on the wing and it was 5-0 to the visitors. The conversion kick was missed and the score remained the same.
Half Time came around quickly, but it was an important moment that would change the match. The BRFC were barely puffing and clearly frustrated with their own performance so far which only lacked points. On the other hand our opponents were clearly struggling with the rhythm and intensity of the match. Brendan and Mariano with a few clear and to the point instructions and we were off again.
It took very little time for BRFC to start their domination in the second half which would see CSPTT go into their half just three times. Wave after wave of British attacks crashed onto the CSPTT defence who gradually lost ground. After a succession of moves substitute winger Brian Dodson crossed over into the corner to level the game. Nick Sanders missed the conversion and the game was tied. From kick off the visitors made a mistake scrum on the half way line and straight away the power of the forwards made the difference.
CSPTT were starting to give away penalties frequently and at 40 metres in front of the post Sanders chose to chance his range. The direction was good but the kick lacked a little power and the ball fell short of the posts. The game picked up in intensity with the arrival of other substitutes who brought fresh legs to the team. Constantin and Arnaud making good runs and splitting the CSPTT defence.
Another penalty for the British, but once again the kick wasn’t accurate enough to give the British the lead. However, the shoulders didn’t drop, the team held their heads up high and came back guns blazing to heave the pressure on CSPTT.
With 12 minutes to go another penalty for the British right in front of the posts and substitute Harry Mobbs took over the kicking duty and buried it to give the Brits the advantage. If you thought that the expats would sit back in defence you were wrong. The ball kept coming back into the CSPTT half, the British dominating possession. There were other good chances to get a match winning try but a few times they fell just short of the line.
In the end CSPTT wasted a good break to get back into the BRFC half with a strong tackle by Elias Mayer… and a few minutes later the referee brought an end to high intensity and entertaining game of rugby.
Relief and roars of delight for the Brits, their unbeaten streak continues but they will have to be more clinical if they wish to beat league leaders Costognos in a fortnight.