After a successful first half of the season which saw the BRFC Paris go unbeaten in their qualification pool with 4 out of 5 bonus points taken, the ex-pat boys were ready to take on another challenge in the form of the FFSE Corpo D2 (much like the Pro D2 but with less southern accents).
So, after a Christmas break which probably involved too much foie gras (speaking from experience), the first match of 2015 was to be played on a Friday under the lights of the Stade Georges Millandy in Meudon. Unfamiliar territory for the BRFC, who up until now were used to playing their games in the far more comfortable surroundings of Domont. The message from the outset was clear. Blow them out of the water within the first 20 minutes then move on from there.
The first part didn’t go entirely to plan as, despite a pristine 3G pitch, the boys in white were slow to get going. The hosts were even given an early chance to take the lead after some BRFC discipline gave their kicker a shot at goal. 3-0 to the Leopards after not many more minutes. The Leopard based onslaught would continue on for many minutes after the penalty but the first of a couple of periods of heroic defending meant that the British were able to keep themselves in the game.
BRFC would soon do more than just keep themselves in the game as a penalty gave the returning Luke “LC -Loose Canon” Curtis the chance to clear his lines. Clear his lines he did, and a monstrous kick gave his forwards an attacking line-out just outside the opposition 22. Joel Smith did what he is known best for and snapped up the line-out at the front, setting a platform for his forwards to pile round him and start trundling towards the line. As the maul advanced Paul “The Veteran” Moss-Bowpitt aka 2Names found himself with the ball at the back enabling him to touch down for his first try in 11 years! Alex Barker kicked a superb touchline conversion to bring the score to 3-7.
The subsequent scores would be much harder to come by as the opposition defence stepped up a gear and denied attack upon BRFC attack. Emmanuel “Stagiaire” Bouscasse is able to testify as to the solidity of the opposition defence. Imagine a man running bolt upright into a brick wall. Yeah, that happened…
A penalty in front of the sticks gave Alex Barker the simple job of increasing the score to 3-10 before BRFC were given another chance to go over the line. A well-placed scrum gave Joel Smith the opportunity to run at the Leopard defence. Said defence parted as if it was the Red Sea, and despite numerous calls from his team-mates, the big man went himself to bring the score to 3-15. The conversion was missed although the expat boys had given themselves a good platform from which to continue. Captain Curtis did his best to extend his teams lead and impress his parents on the sideline with an “attempt” at a drop goal. The less said about that, though, the better.
Half way through the first half and in typical BRFC fashion, Alessandro “Nastro Azzurro” Donada decided that he needed a rest. The BRFC’s resident Italian decided that crawling around on the floor in a ruck with his hands on the ball was the best way to go about it and the referee agreed with him, showing him a white card and the way to the touchline.
The first half continued without much incident until a cunning backs move sent the powerful Jeremy “Boss Man” Lamri through on a barnstorming run which he finished by touching down under the posts. This time, Barks made no mistake with the conversion giving the visitors a relatively comfortable 3-22 half time lead.
The start of the second half was almost as uneventful as the end of the first as the BRFC boys were determined to keep their grip on the bonus point that they had earned themselves in the first half. However, the standard BRFC ill-discipline that you have undoubtedly read about before began to creep in, meaning the visitors would struggle to make it out of their half for a while.
Eager to shut their opponents attacks down early, the BRFC forwards found themselves straying offside on more than one occasion giving the XV Leopards opportunity after opportunity to score their opening try of the match. However, once again the BRFC defence would hold strong and another heroic team effort, to match that of the first half meant that the BRFC line would go the whole match without being breached. Another card for Alessandro “DICK of the day” Donada, saw the BRFC boys back down to 14 men, but even then, the opposition were still unable to find a way through the wall of white.
Deciding that they had spent enough time in their own half, the BRFC backs decided that it was time to go up the other end. Some neat kicks from the half back combination brought the British boys back to the half way line. After some ducking and diving from Nick “Colonel” Sanders confused the otherwise solid opposition defence, up popped Sam “The New Boy” Belfond to scamper in for the BRFC’s fourth try of the evening. A third conversion for Barks brought the score to 3-29
A fantastic evening of rugby was rounded off when Alex “Goose Step” Barker found himself in space after a kick over the top. His blistering pace was far too much for the Leopard defence to handle and after having decided that he quite likes scoring tries, Sam Belfond was on hand to take Barkers offload and finish the game in style, much to the delight of the BRFC bench and the 9 or so BRFC supporters who had made the trip to Meudon. After playing such an important part in the build up, it was only right that Barks slotted the easy conversion to bring the final score to 3-36 for BRFC giving the expat boys their first bonus point win of 2015.
So, the first hurdle of 2015 has been successfully negotiated. Now the expat lads must capitalise on this great start in order to get to the promised land that is the FFSE Top 14. Next up on the fixture list is a trip to the Stade Carpentier in Paris, where BRFC will take on the Kudu’s on Saturday night at 19:30. All support is more than welcome!
Nice work boys and long may it continue!
We are BRFC!
P.S. Apologies if this match report isn’t factually correct. “Some” JagerBombs have been consumed since Friday night…