BRFC RECORD FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON
We took our time but the club’s first competitive win of the season came in the opening cup match of the campaign 19-12.
After a heavy defeat to Crocodiles and a narrow one to Drink Team in the League, the British were looking for a much needed win to kick start their season. Playing on home turf at Sarcelles on the main pitch in front of a stand of raucous spectators, the scene was set for the British to finally record that victory.
In the absence of many players coaches Brendan McCann and Mariano Poda fielded many of the new recruits with the club’s star Argentinian newcomer Agustin Albornoz starting at scrum half. The coaches were also boosted by the return of enigmatic fly half Luke ‘Nik Nak’ Curtis, to coordinate our attacking phases. In the pack, a first call up for Jono Conradie, with the notable presence of club president Richard Woolf and Captain Constantin de Langautier.
With the home side kicking off, the early exchanges saw some heavy tackles on both sides with some particular ‘caramels’ by our very own Jono. All the early pressure and domination went the Brit’s way as RCAP were nailed inside their own 22.
That early pressure was rewarded with a kickable penalty, but, another of our new recruits James Whitehouse, perhaps a little nervous, kicked it wide. Still the British attacked and still RCAP resisted. After a loose kick by Curtis, they ran the length of the pitch to score a nice breakaway try, albeit undeserved.
Instead of crumbling, the boys were galvanised and charged on. Another missed penalty by James brought a little urgency to the attacking play. Wave after wave of attacks crashed on a faltering RCAP line which gave way when captain Constantin battered through to score our first try, a change in kickers saw Luke convert the conversion.
With the impetus on their side, the British kept pushing for a bigger lead before the break and after being bogged down in the middle of the pitch, RCAP lost control of the ball at the ruck, and with a trademark show of deft pace, Nik Nak intercepted to race away (almost getting caught) to score the second try right on the stroke of half time.
Conversion kicked, the British up 14-5 at the break.
Some encouraging but stern words at half time from the coaches; the gist of it simply to play in our opponents half. Also time for a few substitutions, with first appearances for Aussie Ben Pinches and Florian Nicaise.
After the break the pace of the game slowed down as tiredness started to creep in. Some sloppy play from the boys saw RCAP gain in confidence and they were rewarded when a break through the middle of the pitch saw them score beneath the posts; bringing the score back to 14-12.
This was the cue for our gentle South African coach to use his soft and soothing vernacular, telling us to wake up and play in their half of the pitch. Somehow the message was well received. Barely ten minutes after conceding a move of rare elegance initiated by our back line saw us gain 20 yards off the first phase, then following a quick series of pick and goes featuring Benjamin Darras and Arnaud Idelon, the ball went out blind side and Agustin applied the finish to a good team move. This time the conversion was missed but the score left us with a 7 point cushion.
With only 10 minutes left the coaches kept rolling on the substitutes as fatigue really started creeping in. Some hard work in the centre as Jeremy Lamri and Jamie Townley kept smashing RCAP back; with the pack working as hard as ever.
After some solid defending and a kick from James sending RCAP back on their try line, the British regained possession, which would be the last play of the match.
A hard fought and deserved victory, but as Brendan said “we make it hard for ourselves”. Nothing however will take the gloss off a first victory with three tries that gives the club the right frame of mind to approach our next fixture: a must win game against BRUT in the league.