This Sunday, Sarlat Rugby traveled its farthest yet this season, all the way to Surgères, for their second game of 2022. With a difficult start to last week’s game but a staggering victory against SC Surgères last year, no one knew what to expect on the pitch. In addition, the B team finally got to play again after over a month. While they were slow to get started, they proved hard to stop!
Sarlat Rugby Dominates First Half in the Mist
Having climbed on the bus for Surgères before 7 in the morning, the players of Sarlat Rugby might not have been blamed for being a bit slow on the pitch. But nothing could be further from the truth as they got off to an explosive start.
Pushing SC Surgères back fast, Sarlat Rugby’s # 9, Theo Entraygues, was soon within striking distance to open the score off a penalty. 0 – 3 in less than two minutes. The rhythm continued for the visiting team as they went back on the offensive and searched for an opening. Lucas Caneda (#14) found one in the corner barely 6 minutes into the game. 0 – 10 after the successful conversion.
While SC Surgères tried to rally, they quickly found the ball, and the game, escaping from their control. Two minutes later, it was #7 Nicolas Gal’s turn to score for Sarlat Rugby. Ten minutes later, they had tried to stop one try only to have it awarded as a penalty try to Sarlat Rugby, and were reeling from another lightning fast try from Lucas Caneda, his second of the night. Though only out of the three was successfully converted, the visitors were already up 0 – 27.
Sarlat Rugby showed no signs of slowing either, taking advantage of penalties to move smoothly to line outs, and grabbing every opportunity on the pitch. This time they sought out the other wing, giving # 11 Eroni Tuwai a chance to score. 0 – 34. Just twenty-six minutes into the game, with SC Surgères having clear difficulties containing the Sarlat Rugby offense, Lucas Caneda scored his third try of the evening. 0 – 41 as Theo Entraygues once again nailed the kick.
Finally, however, SC Surgères seemed to find their footing on their home turf. Though not before Ikapote Fono scored one more try for Sarlat Rugby, bringing the score to a staggering 0 – 48. The home team, however, were giving ground less easily now, and play was heating up. Before the halftime whistle, both Lucas Caneda and #7 Theo Faucher received yellow cards, giving the home team a glimpse of hope for a second-half comeback.
SC Surgères Fight Hard for Redemption Against Sarlat Rugby in Second Half
Temporarily down two players, Sarlat Rugby started off the second half with a significant disadvantage, though an even more significant lead on the scoreboard. However, SC Surgères had clearly found their second wind, or perhaps their first one, in the changing rooms. They ran back onto the pitch determined, and were quick to take advantage of their numerical superiority, scoring a try in the first 5 minutes of play. Bordes found the corner after a nice kick over the defenders by Lamotte.
Three minutes later, the home team proved their try to be no accident, Lamottes scoring this time as the Sarlat Rugby defense failed to bring down the runner in red. Narrowing the gap slightly to 10 – 48 just 7 minutes in. Their inability to convert the kicks, however, was costing them precious points.
Sensing the shift in momentum, Sarlat Rugby’s coach Stephane Labrousse started making some replacements on the pitch. Far from reinforcing the visiting team, the influx of new players, and the loss of certain key elements seemed to disrupt the blue and black lines further. Play slowed, stuck now between Surgères’ more confident defense and Sarlat’s struggling offense.
It was the home team who were first able to find an opening in the destabilized Sarlat lines. Awarded a penalty try of their own with 20 minutes left on the clock. The sudden turn in momentum certainly helped to add tension for the audience. Would the home team be able to pull off the comeback? Certainly, according to some in the audience, whose excitement at Surgere’s next spectacular inception and try less than ten minutes later, was considerable! 24 – 48 though they still had a long way to go.
Unfortunately, however, their momentum started to run out, and the Sarlat Rugby roster was beginning to come together with fewer errors and smoother play again. With mist thickening on the pitch, the visitors found an opening at last, and Theo Faucher carried the ball in for the try. 24 – 53.
With barely ten minutes left on the clock, Sarlat Rugby’s fans who had braved the distance and cold to make it to the game were once again treated to their team in full swing. Five minutes to go and a pass from Lucas Caneda to Serafin Bordoli (#15) secured another try, with the conversion by Roman Aleyrangues putting the score at 24 – 60. The Blue and Black tide was coming in again and, despite Surgères’ valiant efforts, they could not stop Eroni Tuwai from securing his second, and Sarlat Rugby’s tenth, try of the game.
On a final score of 24 – 67, there was no doubt in the minds of anyone watching who the victors of the day were. The second-half comeback of the home team had certainly proven that the SC Surgèrien were not to be discounted in the competition, and made victory all the sweeter for Sarlat Rugby.
Especially after the much closer, and tenser, B team game earlier in the afternoon.
Sarlat Rugby B Team Struggles But Recovers Against SC Surgères
Where the A team game was one-sided for most of the duration, it was a stark contrast to the B team game earlier in the day. There Sarlat Rugby’s reserves, who had not played in over a month, struggled neck and neck with SC Surgères for most of the game.
Without a clear lead for either side, the first half was nearly even. On the Sarlat Rugby side, the visitors managed to open the score with a try by Dorian Peyrou off a break by Jarod Millet. On the other hand, they only managed to score one more try throughout the rest of the first half, this time by Filip Perica, a powerhouse of the B team who had been absent much of last season due to injuries and international commitments.
On the home team side, while they had not managed as many tries, SC Surgères took advantage of errors and penalties to score twice with kicks on the goal. Together with their one try in the first half off a strong push, and its confirmation, those six points meant that SC Surgere’s reserves had the lead going into halftime. 13-12.
The second half got off to a better start for the visiting team, however, as they started to find their momentum and #9 Matt Doyle pulled off an impressive try a few minutes into play. Unfortunately, their lead would not last long as Surgères’ player broke through mere minutes later to score a then confirmed try. 20-17 with the home team again in the lead.
The struggle continued as both sides vied for possession and position on the pitch. Just under 20 minutes into the second half, it was Sarlat Rugby who came out triumphant, with first an elegant try by Maxime Fontenay followed up by a conversion and, minutes later, a penalty scored by Matt Doyle. 20 -27.
Now the Blue and Black tide was coming in (well, Red and Black for the away jersey!). Ten minutes later, Filip Perica scored again, though the conversion was missed. SC Surgères’ players were clearly shaken as, two minutes later, nearly six of them were unable to stop a beautiful breakthrough run by Sarlat Rugby pillar Bastien Puyraud. He scored the try, and the successful conversion brought the score to 20 – 34.
The SC Surgèrien reserves however were not about to go down without a fight, and their efforts paid off in the final moments, with one more try. 27 – 34 for the final score. A clear, but hardly solid, win for the B team. Fans can still hope for even stronger performances from the team—like those seen in the bright moments in the mist today—as they find their rhythm and cohesion again in this New Year.