Beautiful day for a run in the park
By John McGuinness
Thanks to Regent's Park for hosting the friendly
A surprisingly warm and sunny day in mid-February (18 degrees!!!), and the pitch was fast.
A half term fixture is always going to struggle with numbers, and so it was for both teams, with both teams missing some key players. We started with 12 a- side and six man scrums, and later in the game removed another back as one of the RP players got injured. We started with a full pitch but decreased the width after a while to make the game a little more competitive.
It seemed to take RP a while to wake up and a lot of tries were run in in the first half, breaking tackles and passing out wide. In the second half RP did make us work a lot harder for points with some excellent scramble defence and tackles.
The scoreline is large, so it's important to reflect on the things we did right.
- There was good directing of play from the scrum-half and fly-half
- There was some really good communications on field
- There was some good moves, wrapping around and throwing of the ball
- We were more inventive in our play, some clever kicks and chases and our support play is improving
- Defence is going in the right direction with a less honey bee (following the ball) and more structure
- Scrum did ok with two new players in it - maybe a bit more work on the scrum machine
- We had some virgin try scorers, John K, Alex K and a hat-trick from Hugo V.
As always, it's also important to focus on what we need to improve
- Although the talking improved, there is a need for more listening, especially if the ball is being carried into contact rather than taking the early pass
- There was not a lot of pressure in this game, but still there are too many decisions to bring the ball into contact rather than make the pass
- Running lines are still drifting with people available on the outside - we need to straighten up, hold the defender and pass
- Our passing accuracy is still poor - need to get it into the target
- There are not enough people running in support - need at least 3 players to run with a break, and everyone else needs to follow up to provide options in case it breaks down. (Last play of the game an RP player made a fantastic tackle 5m out and nearly stole the ball due to slow support)
Special mention to the kicking tee boy (Jack Mc) and water boy (Max M-C), pictured above assessing the play and in ready mode, who were excellent on the day and really 'on the ball' running on the pitch when needed. Great team support from the u11s, really appreciated!!!
There was a lot of good play from everyone on the team today, so selecting Player of the Match came down to who were the best team players that helped the team succeed. Alex K, on his first run out at scrum-half found his voice, well done, and Stan B was excellent in the contact area. Both deserve the award.
This game was a really helpful run-out for some core players and showed the coaching team that we have options to move people around. The next game, in a week against Verulamians, is expected to be a lot more challenging game of 15-a-side rugby. We will need to play a lot better and improve on the areas above.