1stXV beat Fettes
To lose our opening game of the season in the final minutes against Merchiston last week, our first game for 650 days, was no bad thing. We played some terrific rugby, had most of the possession but just lacked some fitness in the heat, and were not as clinical as perhaps we should have been. It was good to have things to work on, and the squad had worked really hard during the week to get our patterns of play right and be more ruthless when in the red zone. It is still early days, but the intensity of the training and the skill levels on show from this large squad, gives Mr Stephen and myself real selection issues for the 1st and 2nd teams which is just how it should be, with everyone pushing each other on to improve and not accepting second best. It has been good to see, I must say.
This week, we headed over to our friends at Fettes at long last and it was great to see so many former pupils coming to say hello, full of smiles and stories of what they have been up to! We were playing on their 1stXV pitch – a huge expanse – and with the sun shining, it was the perfect place to play our expansive game, dominating up front, recycling quickly and getting the ball quickly out in to the wide channels.
We took a little while to get going this week – in stark contrast to last week’s dynamic opening ten minutes – and we were guilty of trying to play too much rugby, looking for ambitious off loads, not going through the phases enough, and not using our fast and powerful rucking game enough. However, that did not last too long, and I was impressed at how we regrouped and put things right pretty quickly; once we hit our straps, Fettes found it very hard to get possession, and after holding on to the ball for long periods, the gaps in their defensive line inevitably opened up which meant we ran in a lot of well worked tries.
What pleased me the most was our decision making, playing what was in front of us and after the first ten minutes, we played some terrific rugby, recycling again and again, making good decisions and showing real discipline at the breakdown, jackling when we could, counter rucking really well and just looking after the ball. This was down to an outstanding display by the forwards, who never once relented, and I was pleased to see players looking for work on the shoulders of the inside backs, taking the ball up the middle relentlessly making ground and giving the scrum half front foot ball. It was great to watch. Last week, we passed the ball from every ruck (and we won a lot then too!), but today, we varied the options, attacking close to the ruck, using the blindside and keeping the Fettes defence guessing; as a result, we scored a lot of tries as the defence was not set and were unable to scramble, such was the speed of our rucking. Fettes tried to get the ball wide, but our own tackling and defence was excellent and it was good to keep a clean sheet: we communicated well in the backs and made our tackles and this bodes well for the challenges ahead.
Overall, it was a tremendous team performance and unlike last week when we played too much through the skipper in the midfield, today we mixed things up and the end result speaks for itself. Two games in, and two terrific performances, and we are looking forward to more hard work during the week as we build towards our game with Belhaven next Wednesday. More of the same, but we are always looking to improve and that says a lot from this group of boys. Very well played, chaps!
Welcome to Cargilfield! We hope this short film gives you a glimpse of what life is like for the girls and boys at our school. We would love to welcome you in person to tour Cargilfield and explain more fully exactly what makes a Cargilfield education so special and so different. Please get in touch with Fiona Craig, our Registrar if you would like to find out more; her email address is [email protected] or you can telephone her on 0131 336 2207.