A TALE OF TOO MANY PENALTIES
by Ben Swift
For the 8th game of the league, the British Rugby Football Club of Paris travelled to Champigny, the home ground of Rugby Club des Alentours du Pathéon, or RCAP. Despite continued demonstrations that the team has the qualities to thrive this season, the ultimate loss of this game by a score of 24-15 means that the Expat have yet to find their best form.
British began the game strong; successfully receiving the ball and working out of their half to set up some attacking phases in the RCAP 22. This aggressive start was quickly rewarded as the BRFC forced an error by their opponents to secure a penalty kick for the posts. Though they may have been unable to put points on the board, they continued to put pressure on their opposition with strong carries and strategic kicking.
When another opportunity to kick for the posts was given to the Expats, the kick by scrum half Kieran Chandler put the BRFC ahead by three points. As the first ten minutes came to an end, RCAP attempted to apply some pressure of their own but a kick return by full-back Agustín Albornoz and the coordination of the British defensive line ensured that the home side was kept out.
Not for the first time however, the British proved to be their own worst enemy. As the game progressed it was the penalty count against them that really started to take it tolls. At the 15 minute mark the BRFC gave away a penalty in their 22 giving RCAP a kick at their posts. Though that particular kick did not go over, a penalty a few minutes later caused the break down of Expat attacking play in their opponents half. A kick tap of the ball and a kick for the line after another penalty gave RCAP a line out in the British 22. From that position a simple maul drive and a couple of phases by the backs was sufficient to breach the expat defences and score. The subsequent kick being converted the score stood at 3-7 against the BRFC. In an instance of insult being added to injury, RCAP broke the line not long after to score again which was converted to set the score at 14-3 for the home side.
Repeated penalties meant that the Expats struggled to make persistent headway in the RCAP half and apply consistent attacking pressure. In addition, penalties committed by them gave the home side more confidence in attack. A yellow card at the 28th minute of play put the Expats down to 14 men. For the last 15 minutes of the first half the positives of the British performance were seen rather in their defensive prowess. Strong tackles and cool heads meant that RCAP was unable to covert a one man advantage into a points on the score board.
When the second half started up, the BRFC, now back to 15 men, had something to prove. Within the first ten minutes of the half, wing Brian Dodson barged over the line from close to put the British back on the hunt. With the try converted by Kieran Chandler the score was set to 14-10 to RACP. The home side responded with a try of their own after a break from the backs put them in the position to pick and go from the base of the ruck from close to the try line. The try been converted RCAP extended their lead by 7 points to make the score 21-10.
Again the BRFC squad responded by going on the offense. When an RCAP error was forced and a British scrum called, the Expats used that platform to run an attacking play with the back line which put them on the home side’s 5 meter line. A quick ball from the breakdown to Franco Podgaetzky then took the RCAP defensive line off guard and allowed the number 8 to breach the line and score. The conversion kick being from a difficult angle, the try was not converted setting the score at 21-15.
As the game came to a close, two penalties by the British gave the home side two opportunities to kick for the posts, one of which was successful. Despite the best effort of the British to maintain their attacking pressure, they simply did not have the time on the clock to make up the points difference and the game closed with a score of 24-15 to RCAP.