Sun 02.06.19, 13:00 Hours | Nyon, Centre sportif de Colovray
2nds lose nerv wrecking Semi Final against Nyon in extra time
Following the brilliant results of both the Men’s 1st XV and the Women’s team the previous day, the pressure was on for the 2nd XV to make it 3/3 teams representing GC at the Swiss Rugby Finals day. Challenge accepted.
The omnipresent end-of-season aroma of Tiger Balm in the changing room was concealed by a mist of Factor 50 sun cream as the boys prepared for battle in the searing midday sun. A roaring crowd greeted both sets of players as they entered the pitch; GC knew this was going to be a tough game against a strong Nyon side with vocal home support. The game started at a frantic pace, with GC winning the ball from their own kick-off before conceding position in the middle of the pitch. This allowed Nyon to build momentum through some steady phase play. A penalty for offside, taken quickly by the Nyon 9 led to a successful kick and chase, with the GC defense still reorganising, Nyon scored the first try of the game.
If anything, this was the catalyst GC needed. Through physical ball carrying in and around the breakdown, GC worked themselves up into the Nyon 22 and were awarded a penalty. The attempt at goal was missed but Nyon were shaken and quickly conceded possession back to GC. A couple more penalties followed by more powerful ball carrying from the GC forwards resulted in Schelte forcing his way over the line for GC’s first points.
The remainder of the first half and the beginning of the second half continued in the same way, with strong ball carrying mixed in with handling errors from both sides meaning that the majority of the game was being played between the two 22m lines. As the game progressed, more and more encouragement from the travelling GC support spurred the boys on. Despite a penalty kick by Nyon, GC continued with their successful tactic of using the strength and size of our forwards to drive us deep inside the Nyon 22. Culminating in a quick pick and go by Tati for our second try.
Nyon responded with intent, with another penalty taken quickly allowing them to break through the GC defensive line to score in the corner. 15-12 Nyon, with only minutes to play. The tension in the crowd was building but the boys kept their heads and stuck to the game plan. Continuous strong carries by the forwards drove us once again up into the 22, allowing Andrea the time and space to slot a beautiful drop goal to make the scores even. With the score at 15-15 on the final whistle, the game was taken to Extra Time.
Rugby is all about building on positive actions and GC used the momentum of that last minute drop goal to their advantage as Extra Time started. More controlled, forward orientated gameplay using our big ball carriers took us up to the try line where Tati was held up over the line. However, it was not long before he was once again proving his class, scoring from another quick pick and go.
Nyon once again pegged the score back by kicking a penalty but this did not phase the GC boys who continued to exert more forward pressure, combined with direct running lines in the backs to control territory and possession. Again driving up to the Nyon try line, this time it was the more diminutive Adam who managed to dart over the line in close quarters. Nyon started to fight back, but two monster covering tackles by Nico disrupted them, keeping GC more than two scores clear, with the final 15 minutes to play.
Nyon started the second half of extra time brightly, running through the phases without making too much ground. The GC defense was standing strong, with a scrum eventually relieving some of the pressure. But with continued possession in our 22, it was only so long before Nyon were able to break through a tackle to score their first try of extra time.
Numerous handling errors started to creep in on both sides as exhaustion started to take its toll. But Nyon, with the wind in their sails worked through some quick phases, making the most of the tiring legs in the GC defense to find the gaps and spread the ball from one touch line to the other to score a second try in quick succession.
From the kick off, Nyon kept hold of possession, winding down the clock, but eventually giving away a penalty. Slightly out of goal kicking range, Cyril drove the ball towards the corner, giving GC a lineout on the 22m. GC could now start to make ground using the forwards again, driving their way up the pitch right in front of the now delirious Tim and Fin, who were supporting from the shade behind the try line. From the 22m to the 5m, GC dominated the Nyon defense, with each carry driving us toward the try line and glory. Unfortunately, the ball was knocked on just short of the try line, giving Nyon possession at the scrum. Nyon won their own ball and with time up on the clock, they kicked it out of play to end a monumental game of rugby.
All of the GC boys can be proud of their effort, showing great spirit and determination right until the final whistle. The result may not be what we worked for, but the performance sets a strong platform for further growth and success moving into next season.
Full time: 30-29
Tries: Schelte, Tati x 2, Adam
Conversions: Henry, Cyril x 2
Drop Goal: Andrea
Wishing a speedy recovery to both Louis and Mischa, we look forward to having you back on the pitch with us next season. Thank you to all the support, both those that travelled to Nyon and those that watched via the live stream, and a special shout out to Hei Hei for your barks of encouragement.
(Von: Jack White)