What a great match ! What a great performance ! A truly beautiful way to finish the season !
We all met up early for this last game, the crunch, the game that would decide who stays and who gets relegated. Barbarians are last, we are next to last, and this game was crucial for both teams.
We had won the first leg by a landslide, but knew that a) the team would probably be quite different, and b) they were absolutely desparate for a win. So it was never going to be a walk in the park. And indeed, we suffered in the first half, playing mostly in our 22s. They had the wind in their back and made good use of it, their backs also made some great runs, and they played mostly in our half. Our line out was a bit porr to start with so we had few balls, but managed to get some and make good use of them. After around 15mins, we had a few good phases of cheese and chablis balls, then a few runs in by the backs, who got us in their 22s. On a magnificent maul that progressed 15 meters, we ended up behind the try line and just had to put the ball on the ground ! 0-5 for the French. Alas, they came back strong and 5-10 minutes later, on a beautiful run from their left winger, they scored a try and converted 7-5 Barbarians. After that, they kept a steady pressure on us, kicking like crazy and we all sighed a sigh of relief when the ref. blew his whistle at half time.
With very few subs (they had 8 or 9), the second half was going to be decisive. After 10mins of both sides having a few opportunities, we managed to score a try after yet another great move from the forwarsd, with Carlos finally breaking free and scoring ! 7-10 for the french ! And then we built on that ! The forwards started annihilating the opposition in the scrums and showing their superiority in mauls and pick-and-gos. The backs marvelled by their tackles which killed all their opportunities, and with the wind in our back this time, it was our turn to be all over them. That was soon followed by another try, which hit them hard, and gave us even more energy. When 5 minutes later we scored another try, this time converted by Patrick, that was it, we had won.
I would like to highlight a few things :
- Our forwards are man of the match collectively. They just won the game ! We finally saw what had been practised at training : chablis, benazi and cheese balls, which proved extremely successful at drawing the defence in and progressing through the advantage line.
- The backs (and the rest of the team of course) showed great defensive skills. By tackling consistently and running up to the attackers, they completely killed the game in the second half
- Collectively, every one played at the top of their game and it shows that with aggresivity and motivation, we can do great things. Let's not kid ourselves : this team was very strong, and at a similar level as many other teams we played this season, and we won because we wanted to more than them !
CONGRATULATIONS to every one, every single player deserves to be proud of themselves. I look forward to the next season !!!
Allez les bleus,