In the crushing heat and in front of what seemed like thousands of spectators, Sarlat Rugby faced off against the Belvès Boars off at Sem Gallet stadium for the first game of the Federal 2 season. An encounter between two teams whose mutual respect has built up over their many challenges each season. There was palpable tension in the air from the start, but the teams managed to keep the game civil.
With a more stable line up, the “Boars” and their core values of aggression and combativity dominated the encounter for more than an hour against a Sarlat Rugby on the defensive. The home team, more present from the start, offered a realistic game; with an aggressive defence and efficient swapping between effective forward game and back line initiative.
During the scrums, which until now had not been a problem for Stéphane Labrousse’s team, his men’s footing was uncertain and they gave up four penalties and a short arm. Only Sérafin Bordoli’s nearly perfect aim and powerful kicks allowed Sarlat Rugby to score a few points; so it was no surprise to find the score 20-9 for the home team at the half time.
Ludovic Pérusin, an understandably disappointed Sarlat Rugby staff member, bemoaned a lack of engagement and their failure to follow the guidelines they had set up before the match. “The stakes got to their heads and they played exactly the opposite of the game we had planned, it was a pity. We woke up far too late, only really playing for fifteen minutes, not nearly enough to win such a game.”
In effect, the second half started off no better. Belvès continued to dominate the scrums and widened the gap in the scores even further with some well executed tries and transformations. With a score of 33-15 at the 60th minute, the final verdict seemed clear.
Bringing some new blood off the bench however allowed Sarlat Rugby to finally start gaining some ground and offer up some worthy rugby! The prop Bastien Puyraud crossed the try line with forceful determination, and was followed only a few minutes later by Eroni Tuwai. The winger pushed his way to a try on the opposite side from his position, bringing the score up to 33-25.
An unfortunate mistake by local player Mouhoubi ultimately allowed Sarlat Rugby to score one final transformation against Belvès off the foot of Marvin Garrigue. His timely score allowed the visitors to leave with, despite everything, the defensive bonus point: more than they had any right to expect considering the game they had played for the first hour!
Sarlat Rugby needs a win on Sunday against Barbezieux-Jonzac
A new Sunday, a new game, it is time for Sarlat Rugby to concentrate on the challenge to come. With many lessons to be drawn from last weekend’s mistakes, the game against Barbezieux-Jonzac will be of capital importance. The home team will need to be wary of these visitors from the Charante who bring a team that has been considerably strengthened in the off season with the arrival of a 10 from the professional D2 league.
Barbezieux-Jonzac have a win already under their belt from last Sunday, if a narrow one at 21-24. Winning against them will be essential to erase any doubt following Sarlat Rugby’s previous performance, and to keep the spirits high for both the players and their loyal fans for the season to come.
The added pressure might be just what Sarlat Rugby needs for its players to test their mettle and show off their skill. If they can unlock their potential, and come together as a team, we shall see some real good rugby this Sunday.
We hope to see the town turn out in droves (and masks) to watch the team play in their new jerseys, or to cheer them on from home by following the game live on facebook.