Sun 27.05.18, 15:00 h | Allmend Brunau, Zürich
1st Team end regular season in 3rd after beating CERN at home
On a brutally hot early Summer’s afternoon in Zurich, the 1st XV faced the daunting task of facing the only league rival that had not been beaten so far this season. CERN were in town and they brought with them a dazzling array of newly imported Frenchies who didn’t want to miss the chance to have a peak at our lovely home city. The stage for this quarterfinal-like match-up was set!
As is usually the case with CERN, the game was very forward-oriented early on and they kept throwing their big bodies at GC’s defensive line repeatedly. Aided by sometimes silly penalties, they were able to camp in the home side’s 22 for large parts of the first period, but the mighty GC defense stepped up to the task and kept all and everyone out of the end zone.
As efficient teams do, Zurich managed to take a penalty’s worth of three points from its very first journey into CERN’s territory thanks to the steady boot of Hugh Kisielewski (3-0). Soon after that, however, Zurich continued to make too many mistakes, resulting in CERN once again camping in its 22 for an extended period of time. The pressure was absorbed beautifully and after a missed penalty kick by the away side, the clearing 22 dropout was made. Off the ensuing phase of play, a remarkably random sequence of spilled passes and missed dives on the ball were followed by a couple of neatly placed grubber kicks that led to inside center Yared Ketema chasing down and selflessly throwing himself onto the ball in the try zone to give Zurich some much needed offensive momentum (10-0, con. Hugh K.).
Coming against the run of play, this seemed to have woken up the home team and soon after, they showed what they could do if the execution was spot on: off some yard-gaining paper balls, the ball was spread wide, with big Felix von Reischach running a text book dummy line to create space for outside center Yannick Staubli to cut through the opposition defense and offload to an on-rushing Ivan Kraljevic, who raced under the posts untouched to extend the home side’s lead to a healthy 17 points at halftime (17-0, con: Hugh K.)
Although injected with some fresh legs off the bench, Zurich was once again repeatedly shooting itself in the foot with silly penalties to allow CERN to pile on pressure within the Zurich 22. After lock Felix von Reischach was sent to the bin on a team white card, CERN managed to take advantage and sneak through eventually (17-5). Not long after Zurich was back to 15 players, the ref went to his pocket again and sent Tauira (pronounced “toe-era”) Herewini Albert Patterson into the bin for 10 minutes. Even though they tackled valiantly, the Zurich defense was unable to keep out the CERN attackers this time, and so after multiple phases just off the line, they managed to pound their way over to make it 17-10.
The ensuing relief didn’t last long and soon, Zurich found themselves defending in their own half again. Luckily, however, replacement outside center Jess “Jesus” Roberson made wine out of water and was able to intercept a loose ball in midfield to race away and score under the posts to give the home side some much needed breathing room (24-10, con. Hugh K.).
The Zurich boys had control of the score board now, but their play kept being riddled with silly mistakes, meaning that CERN kept getting the ball back and attacking the Zurich line. It came as a welcome miracle against the run off play, therefore, when Pachi “El Mago” Arocena gracefully intercepted a blindside move off a scrum in midfield to break away for the bonus point try (31-10, con. Hugh K.).
This seemed to have finally broken the visitors’ spirit, and not long after, the Zurich backs were able to capitalize on some very solid forwards’ work, drawing and passing along the line beautifully to set replacement fullback Jean-Baptiste “Alopecia” Flüeler free down the line to cross for GC’s fifth try of the day (38-10, con. Hugh K.).
Now Zurich seemed to have finally been able to kick into gear and after being stopped just short, the mighty Zurich pack stole the visitors’ lineout ball and set the platform for a text book backs’ move that saw Pachi lob a beautifully weighted pass out to onrushing winger Hugh Kisielewski, who dotted down in the end zone. Gassed from his Herculeaen effort, the so far faultless kicker unfortunately missed his only kick of the day (43-10).
The last try of the day was eventually scored by CERN on the last play of the game, when halfback Flo Bézard felt compelled to gift them a howler of an intercept try when he could have just kicked it out to end the game (43-15).
The win ensured that the GC Rugby 1st XV kept its 100% win record at home for the season and will now travel away to Hermance for the semifinal next Saturday.
1: Sämi König (sub. Josh Bjornson), 2: Philipp Henggi, 3: Ekim MacKebab, 4: Felix v. Reischach (sub. Phil Schüepp), 5: Norman Pedrini (sub. Tauira Patterson), 6: Andri Koeferli, 7: Yannick Liechti, 8: James Pickering (sub. Diego Favre), 9: Flo Bézard, 10: Finlay Small (sub. Pachi Arocena), 11: Ivan Kraljevic (sub. JB Flüeler), 12: Yared Ketema, 13: Yannick Staubli, 14: Louis Reyes (sub. Jesse Roberson), 15: Hugh Kisielewski
(Von: Yannick Staubli)