13 - 9Full Time
|Domont - Stade des Fauvettes|
|1 Rue des Boisseliers, 95330 Domont, France|
by Ben Swift
After the success of making the playoffs last season, the BRFC began the 2019/20 season with the aspiration to build on their previous achievement. For their first game, they welcomed a determined Costognos Rugby side to their new home ground in Domont in hot conditions. The ensuing tug of war ultimately saw victory for the expats who can finish the game proud that they didn’t concede a try to a strong opposition outfit.
With the visitors kicking off, the first fifteen minutes of the game saw the BRFC start quickly by repeatedly pushing Costognos into their 25, putting pressure on the visitors who were forced to kick again and again to push the Expats back. Yet despite strong initial carries by Kristofer James at prop, Villiame Osotonu at 8 and Charlie Hall at centre, the British were unable to convert that pressure into an early lead. Meanwhile, small mistakes by the home side and the visitors alike saw the ball move back and forth between two evenly matched sides.
While the BRFC might have been the fastest out the blocks it was the visitors who drew the first blood at the 20 minute mark. A penalty against the expats right in front of their posts was punished by Costognos with a successful penalty kick. The next ten minutes saw the visitors build pressure on the British which was rewarded by a couple of penalty kicks. After half an hour of play, Costognos led the British 9-0.
However, not being of the kind to let a Costognos lead go unanswered, the Expat’s counter-offensive sparked to life. A break by fullback Agustín Albornoz and winger Bastien Bonvalet saw the expats set up camp tantalizingly close to the opposition’s line. Meanwhile a dogged defence by the home side kept Costognos from doing any further damage to the score line. At the half time whistle, the British remained on the hunt for their first points of the season.
Indeed, the BRFC did not have to wait long for their first points of the game. In the ten minutes after play restarted, two successive Costognos penalties in their half led to penalty kicks which were successfully kicked over by fly half Kieran Chandler. Around the 60 minute mark, the British capitalised on a BRFC line out in the opponent’s 25 by scoring a try to take the lead. After securing the ball in the lineout and softening up Costognos, the forwards set the platform for the British to go wide in a phase of play which ultimately saw scrum-half Nick Sanders go over the line. Once the try had been converted, the score going into the last twenty minutes stood at 13-9.
While Costognos continued to harry and harass the expats pushing them into the British half, the home side’s defence held fast. A timely turnover allowed the BRFC to kick for territory and push the visitors back and mount some attacking phases of play of their own. It was not until the dying moments of the game that the British looked to be in some trouble as they lost a forward and a back in quick succession to the referees ruling. Yet, the remaining 13 held fast and, by keeping out successive waves of attacking play by the visitors, they retained their lead as the last whistle sounded.
While one should consider this initial victory as only the beginning of the BRFC squad’s journey, the game against Costognos will certainly provide the BRFC with a platform to build on as well as a source of learning and inspiration for games to come. The expat squad’s attention now turns to their next game on Saturday 5th of October against the Pompier de Paris team.