Sunday 1 November 2009

AFRC – Dandelions : 19 – 28 (Half time: 14-7)
3 tries : Charlie (19’), Taka (31’), Yamamoto (70’)
2 conversions : Stephane del Gallo (19’, 31’)
AFRC team : Naiki (replaced by Joe (35’)), Kousuke, Charlie, Alexandre M (replaced by Benoit (55’)), Hiro, Masayuki, Matthieu R (captain), Teru (replaced by Yamamoto), Jeremy (Vice Capitaine), Dan, Kei, Stephane DG, Jean Philippe, Fabien (replaced by Teru (60′)), Ito and Yuji did not come in.

The AFRC are improving their rugby and have probably played their best rugby since the start of this season. Well, it is still a defeat but a defeat with honours, A same game played 4 weeks ago would have resulted in a defeat by 40 to something. In lieu of that, Dandelions had to fight hard to beat us.

Why improving? why a defeat?

Improving because we are in a better physical shape week after week. Everyone who attended regularly the trainings can now run for 70 mns, fight for 70 mns and keep enough lucidity to decide what is the best to do for the team.

Improving as we play as a team. More support was brought to the ball carrier. The forwards were able to develop some good mauls, got the ball when they were running at full speed. On one these actions, Charlie scored our 1st try. And, my pleasure was to see the backs passing superbly the ball to each others. The repeated work, under the leadership of Jeremy is paying off. Clearly our attacking tactics are proving to be better and better.

But, therefore, why a defeat?

A rugby game is played at 22 and not at 19 as we were. Clearly, in the 2nd half, the Dandelions got fresh blood, mainly in their back lines which helped them to speed up and go to try.

Then, if we can be satisfied by our attacking spirits, our defense still remains our Achilles’ heel. Once again, there was too much gap between our fly half and our 2 centers, giving space to their #12 and 13, who scored 3 out of their 4 tries, togo through. And, I would like to add that our defense line is a not straight line but a zigzag which increases the gaps. Finally, it is true that we need to work to get a 2nd defense line to overcome a missed tackle. This role is the one of the 3rd row and the full back. WE SHALL WORK TO FIX THIS ISSUE for our next training. Writing that, the AFRC showed a fantastic team spirit when we succeeded to avoid a try during the 1st half for several minutes. Everyone sacrificed himself to prevent Dandelions to cross our try line. On that occasion, Well done boys!!

Finally, there were also too many penalties given for rather stupid actions at maul and ruck, tackles, kick in open space. I counted at least 9 of them mainly from the backs. Once again, we shall review the rules on these actions, on Thursday’s training. But remember, if you tackle, roll away; go on your feet again if you wish to play; if a maul or ruck is formed, join from the hindmost foot of your player’s side and enter by the gate formed from this hindmost foot. Don’t play the ball with hands if this one is on the ground.

Otherwise, We lost 3 balls on our own line outs. It is too much. We can improve this record. At the opposite, we contested well and often successfully their line outs and we were able to get back the ball.

5 turnovers against us, mainly for a lack of support and due to a weak organization at maul or ruck. Remember: it is often more important not to compete for the ball at ruck or maul but to clean up our opponents’ arms from the space to make the ball easier to be handled by our scrum half.

For your information, games stats:

Score development : 0-7 (10′), 7-7 (19′), 14-7 (31′ and half time score), 14-21 (45′), 14-28 (50′), 19-28 (70′ and full time score)

4 conceded tries
3 scored tries – 2 converted and the last one hit the post.

1 missed conversion pour 2 succeded (EXCELLENT)

8 knock ons (better record but we can still improve it).

12 missed tackles (UNACCEPTABLE).

1 ball lost on our own throw in at scrum (MUST BE IMPROVED)

On line out, 3 balls lost on our own launch (MUST BE IMPROVED)

1 off side on kick in open play (MUST BE IMPROVED)
6 off side in joining a maul or ruck (UNACCEPTABLE)
2 hands in maul and rucks (UNACCEPTABLE)

Several balls not caught directly but after rebound only from opponent kicks (UNACCEPTABLE)

In CONCLUSION, if we can fix our problem in defense by tackling well, by improving our 2nd defense line, by reducing the number of mistakes at rucks and mauls, WE SHALL WIN THESE GAMES for the next time. WE SHALL FOCUS ON THESE POINTS for our next trainings.

WE NEED MORE WORK, MORE EFFORTS to come back home with a victory and a great feeling. We are on a good way and we shall succeed if we continue to train and play like that.

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