Sun 20.08.17, 14:30 Hours | Allmend Brunau, Zürich
Forward training camp and GC – RUZ game summary (August 19th, 20th)
After quite a successful 2016/2017 season, where many improvements and goals have been achieved, GC Rugby Club is slowly but surely entering the exciting and challenging 2017/2018 season. To keep up with the good atmosphere and working habits that started being set last year, Coach Alex thought it would be great and amazing (Donald Trump, leave this body please!..) to have a specific training camp dedicated to the club’s forwards. Not only are the players composing the pack less handsome, fit, skilled, fast and fun (kindly let me know if I forgot anything) than the backs, but they also sometimes, more than any other person on earth, need to go back to the very basics - or just learn them. In order to complete the week-end objectives, Alex got in touch with former French professional player and current LOU Academy’s Coach, Cédric “No Neck” Chaubeau.
After a delightful awakening at 7.30am on a Saturday, GC forwards took a train to Winterthur - a lovely city where the latest cool and hipster trend seems to be riding noisy mopeds in the forest - and shared a training pitch with the local team’s concerned players. After a short introduction of who’s who and who does what, we started working mainly in pairs and dealing with exercises Cédric prepared for us. The aim was to make us realise how important it is to know one’s own body stability, positioning, and strength in order to be a useful player once on the pitch. 2 and a half hours later, we could enjoy a well-deserved barbie composed of delicious (?) St Galler and Cervelas sausages, salad, and watermelon. The perfect combo to make the participant’s intestinal transit easier. But thank you anyway Raph for organizing it. After the lunch break the happy few were back on Winti’s green grass to get more into the scrummage techniques. Starting with groups of 3, then 4, to finish with 8 players, we spent another 3 hours trying to build up solid pieces of scrums and feel comfortable with our binding and overall positioning. I guess we eventually ended up practicing about 100 scrums each, maybe slightly more. After a quick brief during which each player had to share his feedback in one word, it was time to head back home and get a bit of rest before the second part of the session, planned for the day after. If we have to remember one sentence summarising this first day in Winti, it’s certainly that “1 + 1 equals more than two”. Through this weird equation, Cédric said he wanted to emphasize on the importance of having all 8 parties playing their parts in the scrum to have an efficient and combative one. Though I will still ask him to show me evidence of the engineering degree he pretends to have when you scroll down his LinkedIn profile.
Sunday morning, August 20th. I am not sure how many forwards were happy to get up and leave their comfy beds. Sometimes you see the bed as just another random piece of furniture, sometimes it’s your best friend, and would like it to play FIFA with you. Painful bodies, stiff necks, general fatigue were somehow the main feelings hovering over the troops. But we had no choice, this is what we’ve signed up for, huh? The morning topic was line-outs, and we shared this session on our Brunau home pitch with the Infidels™ from RUZ (might be a bit critical using those words in such an unstable geopolitical situation, but this seems to be part of Zurich’s derby history, so let’s go for it), who we were going to play against in the afternoon. We split the players into two groups, the hookers on one side, and the jumpers/lifters on the other one. The hookers (or “drowers” if we pronounce like Cédric) had to train at throwing the ball properly (Cédric said each hooker has to throw the ball about 1’000 times a day to improve their accuracy, true that), while the jumpers and lifters practiced… yeah you got it, lifts and jumps. At the end of the warm-up, we all gathered in full line-outs and worked on optimising this key feature of a rugby game with our newly acquired skills. At half past noon, after 1,5 days spent learning how to become better forwards, it was the end of the camp. Like on Saturday, each player had to sum up in one sentence what would be THE tool he would take from the box Cédric had opened for us. After the conventional but above all warm and well-deserved gratitude towards Cédric, came the time for another healthy BBQ (a vegan one Sama would have enjoyed so much) and the friendly 3x20 mins game against RUZ. Please find below the details regarding the 69-12 victory of GC Crusaders over RUZ Infidels™, divided in 3 “halves”:
1st 20 mins
5-0 Mischa (try), 7-0 Adam (conv.) ; 12-0 Liechti (try) ; 17-0 Ivan (try), 19-0 Adam (conv.) ; 24-0 Ivan (try), 26-0 Adam (conv.) ; 31-0 Adam (try).
As you can read, the first 20 minutes were just a formality for GC to run through RUZ defence and touch down the ball in the Holy Land. Moves were smooth and fast, tackles were efficient, well, GC was undoubtedly superior in all sectors. We won’t say anything here about Ivan’s outstanding performance, otherwise his ego may over inflate and too bad, he won’t be able to cross his doorstep to go to the Uni tomorrow and study his CFA exam. Please, however, note that the guy scored another hat-trick a bit later in the game. Well done bro’. Adam “The Hungarian Maori” B(too complicated to spell) gratified us with a few nice conversion kicks as well. Shot Adam! Then Ethan blows his whistle, end of the 1st 20 minute festival, water break, quick speech, substitutions.
2nd 20 mins
31-5 RUZ (try) ; 36-5 Liechti (try) ; 36-10 RUZ (try), 36-12 RUZ (conv.) ; 41-12 Radu (try), 43-12 Adam (conv.)
Talking about substitutions, you might notice a correlation between the 2nd game stage and the draw score of this latter, 12-12. Some spiteful tongues would dare saying it was because of a poor performance from your devoted narrator (3 knock-ons out of 4 “should-have-been-carried” balls, a few missed tackles, a great game all in all, R.E.S.P.E.C.T). Nevertheless, for those who haven’t understood all those mistakes were made on purpose to work on our scrums in real situations and put in place what we’ve been learning during the training camp, I’m afraid there’s nothing we can to do to save you from depravity. I also thought about Woody’s fitness condition – instead of staying close to the line after a throw and pretending to be a winger, he had to jog in and hook. If it does not show a great team spirit and dedication from me, I don’t know what to say anymore. A bit of common sense would be highly appreciated. But I also have another theory to explain our counter-performance. Don’t you think, instead of blaming me, it’s because Dom Moser and his bad vibes came into action that we played so badly? I personally believe in this sad but horribly realistic probability. Your call. Anyway, another highlight was that Radu could eventually play a game for GC, even scoring a try on his first appearance. Hopefully he will remember the training hours for the upcoming season and be able to get his release letter from the Romanian Federation, after a year of what seems to have been tough negotiations. Then Ethan blows his whistle, end of the 2nd 20 minutes, water break, quick speech, substitutions.
3rd 20 mins
48-12 Ivan (try), 50-12 Pachi (conv.) ; 55-12 Ivan (try), 57-12 Pachi (conv.) ; 62-12 Ivan (try), 64-12 Pachi (conv.); 69-12 Julian (try)
In the third act GC sobered up from its previous slump. Even though it was not as good as the first one in terms of attacking moves and defence - certainly due to a bit of fatigue - a few more tries were scored in our favour, and none against us, which was positive and appreciated. And the Mass was said on this sunny Funday afternoon.
Before coming to the conclusion, although I don’t clearly remember when those facts happened during the game, I wanted to relate a few of them:
- Captain Lychee breaking through the defence an impressive amount of times. Trying to challenge Tim?
- Sami sprinting like a winger, yes Sir. But according to Sylvain from Toulouse, it was a once-in-a-lifetime run. Hope you enjoyed it, Sami ;
- Sylvain from Toulouse pronouncing the final speech. He says he never knows where to play because he can play everywhere, but let’s all acknowledge he would be blind not to see his vocation: Coach assistant;
- Andri “Basefit” Koeferli starting a new role as hooker. A well-deserved promotion after 2 years of intensive protein shakes drinking. Fortunately this mixture doesn’t give hangover, otherwise the poor dude would be continuously suffering;
- Claudio smashing Joe “Traitor” T. Maybe the RUZ bench is more comfortable than the GC one? Do they warm it up during winter time Joe? Let me quote Murray Head, in autotune mode: “Say it ain’t so, Joe please, say it ain’t so, that’s not what I want to hear Joe, and I’ve got a right to know. Say it ain’t so, Joe please, say it ain’t so, I’m sure they’re telling us lies Joe, please tell us it ain’t so”;
- Gus and Romain playing for RUZ. They looked really handsome in their jerseys.
To conclude, I wanted to say, I reckon on behalf of the Club, a few things:
- Big thanks go to Okko, Tom, Dome, Raph and all the others who helped out grilling the burgers and pouring the beers;
- Another big thank you to Winti and RUZ (Schabzh insta-profile please don’t kill me) for the opposition;
- Another other big thank you to Cédric and Alex for organizing the camp;
- Another other big big thank to the numerous spectators who showed up;
- a warm welcome to the new players, Ueli, Patchi, Schuepp, and a few props (sorry guys I’m always bad with names);
All the Best for the new season!
(Von: Germain Brunet)