What a terrific game of rugby we had with Sedbergh on Friday afternoon. I was very proud of the way we played and once again we dominated possession but were just not clinical enough when we had the chances to score. Five metres out, we have to score and we lacked that killer punch which was frustrating because we had done all the hard work to get there but just could not finish it off. Mr Harrision from Fettes refereed the game superbly and brought his filming equipment with him, and when watching the game afterwards, we had some very useful pointers where we were lacking and putting pace on the ball and making the dominant hit was something that we worked on in training on Tuesday this week. If we had come on to the ball at pace and used all the ball we had more effectively, we would have won the game rather than losing by a try.....by such close margins.....! However, it was a high quality game of schoolboy rugby and we are looking forward to the rematch down at Sedbergh next Monday when we are there on tour.
This afternoon's game against Craigclowan saw the team dust themselves down and having analysed a few things from Friday's nail biting encounter, we worked on our alignment in attack and the forwards running straighter and more aggressive lines and I was delighted with the way we managed to execute our plans against what was, in fact, a pretty good outfit from Craigclowan. They had some big and aggressive boys, they carried pretty well but they found our defensive system very hard to break down, scoring a consolation try in the final play of the game. We cam up quickly together, made our first time tackles, and we were very canny when to compete at the breakdown and to jackal, or reset the defensive line again. The communication between the forwards and the three quarter line was excellent, telling people to leave the ruck alone and to get in the defensive line, and Craigclowan were suffocated when they had the ball. The backs moved the ball really well, zipping it with much more pace and aggression, something that the video from Friday highlighted: having Rafa back gave us that extra attacking weapon which we used very effectively throughout the game and he took some stopping. Well played, boys - a fine defensive shift against a useful ball carrying team.
With the ball, we ran much straighter lines with forwards really working hard and making the dominant hit which then put the backs on the front foot and Craigclowan's defensive line were going backwards and were unable to cope with the speed we moved the ball. We used the whole width of the pitch, and it was good to see Kit and Rafa exploiting the space in the wide channels, with Sylvan directing operations at the rucks which were so quick - exactly what we were trying to do. Zak, Thabo and Xander showed a really impressive understanding of how we wanted them to play today: they ran at pace, ran excellent support lines and jackled really well and won numerous turnovers at the breakdowns. Once or twice, especially in the 2nd half when they were tiring, we could have shifted the point of attack and tipped the ball on to the next runner, but this is the way we want to play down on tour and it bodes well for the weekend. Felix was MoM this afternoon, however: he ran blistering lines, breaking the tackles, looking after the ball so well in contact and really causing the opposition defenders problems. It was his best game of the season and shows how he can have a big role to play when we play down in Yorkshire.
All in all, a very good team display and we scored seven excellent tries to win the game convincingly. It was great to see you all looking to put our plans in to action as to how we want to play the game this coming weekend. The rugby will be hard, but that is what we want; we want to test ourselves, and show that we have the game to compete against the best. On today's showing, it is going to be a memorable few days down in Yorkshire and Mr Stephen and myself cannot wait to see you play!
Thank you to WS for refereeing so well!