Sun 30.04.17, 14:00 h | Allmend Brunau
home vs Stade Lausanne
GC Zurich (62-13) Stade Lausanne
Match report by Alex Ramon
I think the last time we saw such a big score on the board was when Nyon and Geneva PLO smashed us at the beginning of the season. Since then, relentlessly, baby step by baby step, the group gained in maturity and started to build enough confidence to become a real threat for any opposition. From a coach perspective, the result doesn't matter as much as the performance, as result is not always a fair representation of the amount of work and skills displayed on the day. This weekend's performance was however the result of a tremendous amount of hard work on and off the ball, coupled with patience as we built phases of continuous play without losing the ball.
Stade Lausanne traveled to Zurich confident after their narrow loss to Nyon the previous weekend. However, they were unsettled from the very start. Taking advantage from a numerical advantage for a high tackle, we scored within the first 5 minutes of the game. Six months ago we wouldn't have been able to capitalize on those sorts of opportunities. We just didn't know how. Now is a different story though. Keeping composure, we worked our way to their try lines on countless occasions, our forwards building a solid platform for our backs to rise and shine.
Losing key player James Pickering during the warm up was a massive blow to the team. Captain Liechti had some big shoes to fill in, but as expected from a leader, he stepped up and led the squad to victory. He was not the only player this weekend to bring his A game. Young talents such as play maker Zurich Academy kid Henri Esterman or U18 Swiss International Andri Koefferli really start to make themselves a name in this team, as they consistently produce startling performances. Although some big names were missing this weekend in key positions, opportunists seized their chance and played remarkably well. There are still so many things to work on before we can even pretend to reach the top 4, but if we keep on delivering such performance the team may well achieve the unthinkable.
We are still struggling in several aspects of the game, with our decision making with the ball in hands for instance or with support play, and our wingers still have to find their way to the try line. However, our defense and attack around the ruck is becoming really solid now, forcing the opposition to spread the ball wide and be caught off without support by a solid and organized defensive line. The duo Staubli-Kooger supported by try saving tackler JB at Full Back outclassed their opposite players, breaking the line on many occasions and scoring tries from our own 22.
For the first time this season we scored a handful of solo tries, the countless amount of hours spent at the gym finally paying off. Giant Swiss International utility forward Tim Vögtli has influenced dramatically the outcome of the game, relentlessly smashing the opposition and breaking the line before pushing the gas pedal and outpacing the last defenders. Also to be cited for his heart as big as a watermelon, Sylvain Coutu celebrated his return from injury with 120 minutes game time and displayed a comparable level of positive aggression and stamina trademarked by the Visser's brothers.
We saw a couple of pieces of brillance this weekend with some reverse passes, SBW one hand offloads, big fend offs and turnovers. I found that we utilized smartly the width of the field, attacking the blind side poorly guarded. Comfortably sitting behind a dominating scrum, inspired Fly Half orchestra conductor Finlay Small attacked the advantage line and opened gaps in the defense, which eventually fell to pieces.
I don't usually praise my players enough. Today is a bit of an exception, so enjoy it. The tunnel to lead to that has been long and dark and cold, so it's good to finally see some light. We still have so much work to do though to deliver consistently this type of performance. I won't stress again how important it is for everyone to attend training, not only for your benefit but also for your team mates who need players around them to practice. So if you want to secure a spot in the squad for Avusy this weekend, you know your way to Brunau, on both training nights.