No rain, but Sarlat Rugby took Malemort by Storm

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Sarlat Rugby players celebrate a fine weekend of rugby after beating Malemort, twice.
After the Sarlat Rugby’s B team made their return to the pitch in style with a strong victory against Malemort, the A team imposed itself by an even wider margin. Two high-intensity away games to delight the fans who made the trip and braved the cold. A perfect way for Sarlat to end its final away game of 2021. Now only one game stands between them and a perfect first half of the season.

Sarlat fans who made the trip to Malemort for this weekend’s rugby games were greeted by grey skies. However, as the afternoon progressed, more and more sunlight broke through, as if to reflect the bright performance of the blue and black teams below.

The main event started at 3 PM as the A teams lined up. On one side, Malemort, in fourth place and looking to reclaim the top echelon of the bracket. On the other, Sarlat Rugby in red, undefeated and the team to beat, but just as eager to maintain their lead with Bergerac hot on their heels

High stakes Made for a High-Intensity Match

Feeling the pressure perhaps, or the cold, Sarlat fumbled the reception on the kick-off. Moments later, they found themselves on the defensive as Malemort took advantage of a penalty to advance, and Sarlat had to kick to gain ground twice in two minutes. Unfortunately for the home team, though, Eroni Tuwai found a gap in the defenders and danced through to score a try for Sarlat Rugby just a minute later. #10 Serafin Bordoli converted the try, 0-7 for Sarlat. 

Alt Text: Theo Entrayegues and Man of the Match Nico Gal keep the game flowing
Malemort had a hard time stopping the quick and dynamic Sarlat Rugby offense

Malemort, however, was not about to let their fans down without a fight. They seized a penalty to take a kick on the posts, and their #10 scored six minutes into the game. Malemort’s offensive line kept Sarlat Rugby on the defensive, not letting up the pressure. Neither team found an opening, but 12 minutes in a penalty gave the home another chance to narrow the score. 6-7. 

Pressure seemed to help Sarlat Rugby thrive, however, and their pushes accumulated. Finally, Lucas Caneda (#14) found a gap and was only brought down by an illegal tackle. The visitors kicked for the line out, and a quick series of passes got the ball to #7 Theo Faucher for the try. Another conversion. Caneda did get his moment of glory on the wing, however, as not even 5 minutes later a rapidly played penalty ball is passed down to him to score. Sarlat’s lead continued to grow, 6-21 after a third conversion. 

#7 Theo Faucher finds a gap in the Malemort line to score for Sarlat Rugby
Theo Faucher, Sarlat Rugby’s #7, as he dove to score the try against Malemort

The pace started to slow, however, as the friction between the teams grew. The additional penalties did give Sarlat Rugby another shot at the Malemort goalposts 25 minutes in, which Bordoli scored. Both teams vied for control over the ball and the pitch, each securing ground, but few opportunities. Thirty-one minutes in Malemort got their best chance yet, but a penalty-worthy tackle by Eroni Tuwai cut it short. The resulting line out saw Sarlat’s defense pushed right up against the try line by Malemort. A yellow card sent Lucas Caneda off the pitch to cool down and Sarlat was able to clear the ball.

The first half ended on a sour note, however, as a general melee saw one player for each team sent off with red cards (#1 Djordan Belle for Sarlat). A score of 6 to 24, however, spoke volumes about which of the two teams had best been able to concretize the opportunities of the first half. 

Sarlat Rugby Confirms lead in Second Half Against Malemort

Determined not to be daunted, or further baited, Sarlat Rugby turned up their play a notch further. Line outs and mauls succeed each other, and when their push is stopped by a penalty, Bordoli nails it. 6-27. Malemort, however, took their penalty to line out, needing to score a try. Their pushes were thwarted, though they kept Sarlat on the defensive. The home team had trouble with penalties and injuries, however, cutting into their ranks and momentum. 

Seventeen minutes in, with neither team gaining ground and Sarlat still ahead, the visiting coach started to make some changes. Giving tired players a rest, and putting fresh ones to the test, #17, Chadourne, #18 Ben Hamouda, and #21 Aleyrangues were sent in. Though the teams kicked back and forth, Stephane Labrousse’s changes paid off when Achraf Ben Hamouda carried the ball in for the try. 6 – 34. Five minutes later, the coach sent in the rest of the reserves, banking on new energy. 

Sarlat Rugby prop, #18 Achraf Ben Hamouda, drove home the try
Sarlat Rugby Coach Stephane Labrousse’s choice to send in Fresh Forwards against Malemort paid off big time

Two minutes later, however, it seemed to have been a mistake as Malemort gets close again to the try. Hard work and luck kept the home team from scoring, though, and Sarlat Rugby cleared it on a penalty. The visitors kept the pressure up, push after push, but Malemort did not roll over easily and continued to clear and push back.

Five minutes from the end, however, Sarlat put on a fine show of clean rugby, rolling right out of a line out to get the ball all the way down and across to #22 Vincent Pageneau for the try. Four minutes later he does it again, this time on the opposite end of the pitch. A great double to cap the final away game of 2021 and secure the tenth win in a row for Sarlat Rugby, 6-46, with the offensive bonus. 

Sarlat Rugby #22 Vincent Pageneau sails past Malemort defender to score the try
Vincent Pageneau scored two tries back to back in the final minutes of the game against Malemort

It was also a perfected repetition of what the B team had achieved earlier that afternoon. 

Sarlat’s B team roars back with Malemort triumph. 

Sarlat Rugby’s reserves, as the players themselves can tell you, have not been having the best time lately. The previous block started off with two defeats, including one against the heated local derby rival. While it did end with a victory against Rochefort, it was only by default. Down several players and struggling, the Sarlat Rugby B team needed to redeem themselves this weekend against Malemort. And boy, did they!

After recovering the ball almost immediately, a Malemort penalty gave Sarlat Rugby’s #10, Matt Doyle, a kick at the posts less than a minute into the game. 0-3. Malemort pushed forward and got their own shot two minutes later, but missed. Matt Doyle, on the other hand, did not miss the next one just 4 minutes later. 0-6. Penalties and injuries slowed the game, with three players escorted off the field for Malemort within the first 15 minutes. It was not until the 21st minute that Sarlat’s offense pays off when #13, Antoine Delmas, scored the first try of the day. 0-13 on the conversion. 

Nicolas Testut scores for the Sarlat Rugby B team against Malemort
Stands had not yet filled and already Sarlat Rugby was scoring in Malemort

Malemort showed spirit in their retaliation, however, shoving Sarlat Rugby’s B team back to their try line. Visiting fans went up in roars of disapproval when the ref, after a particularly messy phase play, awarded the home team a penalty try for a double tackle. Sarlat’s players seemed particularly motivated after that, and pushed hard. Though their attempts fell short, two penalties gave them the chance to advance the score. 7-19. Finally, in the very final minutes of the first half, the blue and black maul got Leo Bouty #17 over the line for a score of 7-24 at the whistle. 

Sarlat Rugby #17 Leo Bouty at the head of the Blue and Black Maul
The Malemort defense had a hard time stopping the Blue and Black Maul

The visitors were no less fierce coming out of halftime as Doyle found an opening and passed to Testut for the try. Malemort retaliated in style and a penalty gave them the chance to score, though at the cost of another injury for their team. 14-31. A few more pushes fell short, but 11 minutes in #13 found #21, Alexandre Bouchiat, with a pass for the try. Less than ten minutes later it was #5 Carriere, who scored for Sarlat Rugby. 14-43 with just over 10 minutes left.

With tries adding up and the bonus seemingly secured, Sarlat Rugby’s B team started to get a little cocky. Matt Doyle decided to run, rather than kick a returned ball, but an interception cost the visiting team another try, and potentially their offensive bonus. 19-43. But they wasted no time redeeming themselves, pushing back up with a penalty and sending the ball straight down to Bouchiat for another try. For the final nail in Malemort’s coffin, and the cherry on top of Sarlat’s B team victory, a final try in the last few minutes for #18 Paulin Pezet took their score over 50 points, ending 19-55. 

Alexandre Bouchiat surges through Malemort defenders on his way to score
Malemort did not make it easy, but Sarlat’s Alexandre Bouchiat kept scoring anyways

Two offensive bonuses, two Malemort teams outmatched despite their best efforts, and two more victories for Sarlat Rugby. A fine way to wrap up the last away game of 2021, and more than enough to warm the hearts of all the fans who made the trip. 

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