Over a year ago, Sarlat welcomed Union Barbezieux Jonzac for one of the final games of the previous season. The home team had won with a decisive score of 23-10 which they hoped to repeat this Sunday as UBJ traveled once again to the capital of the Perigord Noir. Not only did Sarlat Rugby win once more, but this time secured the offense bonus point with flair and skill. Twice.
Sarlat Rugby A Team Puts Their Best Foot Forward
Union Barbezieux Jonzac arrived in Sarlat fresh after two victories with the ambition to perhaps be the first team to bring down the Blue and Black juggernaut. Unfortunately, things worked out rather differently for the visitors in white and red.
While Sarlat Rugby lost an early possession to the visiting team when Barbezieux Jonzac pushed up, the home team recovered the ball and got it to Lucas Caneda. The #14 sprinted hard and scored. Not even 3 minutes into the game and Sarlat led 7-0 with the conversion by #10, Serafin Bordoli. Worse still for the visitors, they missed their first penalty opportunity. While Sarlat, this time off the foot of #9 Theo Entraygues, secured theirs. 10-0 in under 10 minutes.
Sarlat continued to apply pressure, with well-coordinated rugby that took the ball up and down the line while gaining ground. 11 minutes in, their efforts paid off. the ball was passed down to fullback, #15, Frank Fresneda, who scored. 17-0 after the conversion. Barbeziux Jonzac were not about to give up, however, and nearly scored when they blocked a Sarlat Rugby kick and shoved the home team up against their try line.
Unable to secure the kill, Barbezieux Jonzac would see the next try go again to the home team. Bordoli caught a cleared ball and passed it just in time to Entraygues, who, with a long kick, secured Sarlat Rugby a line out within striking distance of the try thanks to the new 50/22 rule. After nearly losing it on the first line out, the second line out for Sarlat set them up for a powerful maul, which pushed # 6, Remi Cardon, over the try line with the ball. 24-0 after Entraygues successfully converted only 15 minutes into the game.
Sarlat Rugby Runs Circles Around Union Barbezieux Jonzac
Unfortunately, three minutes later, Serafin Bordoli had to leave the pitch after a yellow card, and UBJ seized the numerical advantage to push up. After several close-calls, they finally manage to score their first try 21 minutes in, signed by their #11, Renard, and transformed by their #15, Brichet. 24-7.
While things were looking a little less grim for the visiting team, the next 10 minutes would be straight out of their worst nightmare. Twenty-four minutes in, with as many points, Sarlat Rugby scores again, this time by #4 Theo Faucher after #12 Hemani Paea broke through the white and red defense. 31-7 with the conversion.
Not even three minutes later, the ball was again carried over the UBJ try line, this time by #14 Lucas Caneda after a smooth series of passes got the ball quickly to his wing. Not to be outdone on the other wing, #11 Eroni Tuwai broke through and danced past half a dozen defenders just two minutes later. He neatly passed the ball to #13 Cyril Carriere for the try, and Sarlat Rugby now had a lead of 45 – 7 with 10 minutes still left in the first halftime.
True to their stubborn nature, and despite surrendering over 20 points in 10 minutes, UBJ did their best to recover. They gained ground with a maul, but lost possession, recovering it a few minutes later when Sarlat’s maul collapsed in turn. The visitors soldiered on, but despite a yellow card in the final minute for Sarlat Rugby’s #4 Theo Faucher, Barbezieux Jonzac were unable to score and headed into halftime on the crushing score of 45-7.
Sarlat Secures A Stunning Victory against UBJ in A Far Calmer Second Half
Barbezieux Jonzac’s players returned to the pitch determined to save face, while Sarlat Rugby’s, now with the sun in their eyes, just needed to hold on to the offensive bonus. After a fierce back and forth in the first 5 minutes, however, Sarlat scored first. #15 Frank Fresneda on the outside off a pass by Eroni Tuwai. Another conversion and things were looking to be going just as well for the home team in the second half: 52-7.
Indeed, just three minutes later, the Blue and Black powerhouse scored again. This time it was #14 Lucas Caneda, who, after a neat kick over a UBJ defender, and a powerful sprint forward, scored his third try for Sarlat Rugby. 59 points after another nailed conversion.
Sarlat’s coach Stephane Labrousse then decides to start making some changes over the next 10 minutes, giving players on the bench a chance to play, and avoiding injuries for others on the roster. Starting with the entire first row, half the second, and even Serafin Bordoli, moving Louis Boyer to scrum-half, and switching Theo Entraygues to fly-half. It does seem to cost the team some momentum, however, as they then had some trouble scoring.
Barbezieux Jonzac gained ground, aided by penalties accumulating for Sarlat, including a white card for Wihan Hay. Keen to score more than just 3 points off a penalty, UBJ kept going for the line out. 29 minutes into the second half, the strategy finally pays off, with a short pass on the line out and a quick pass back for their # 1, Brunet, to score. 59-14.
Barbezieux Jonzac seemed to be on the upswing, but they simply had too far to go, and Sarlat Rugby’s defense was not about to let them score easily. The final ten minutes of the game, full of strong pushes and long kicks from both teams, nevertheless failed to lead to more points for either team.
When the final whistle blew, many Sarlat Rugby fans were on their feet cheering after such a stunning performance against Barbezieux Jonzac on home turf. Or stunning performances, as the B Team had earlier pulled off a powerful win of their own!
Sarat Rugby B Team Redeems Itself with the Bonus Against Barbezieux Jonzac
Sarlat’s B team hit the pitch over an hour before the A teams. While the sun was against the home team, and they lost ground to penalties, Barbezieux missed their chance to score first off a penalty three minutes in. Instead, Sarlat Rugby would open the score with an elegant kick over the defenders, caught caught by #15 Jarod Millet who passes it down the line to #4 Bastien Puyraud for the try! Moments later, they scored another try when a long pass and a quick pair of precise offloads left #9, Matt Doyle, with a ball to charge home. Both tries were confirmed by #10 Roman Aleyrangues for a score of 14 – 0 just 7 minutes into the game.
Led by strong line outs and effective mauls, Sarlat Rugby continued to dominate in the first half, in no small part led by Matt Doyle’s reactive and fearless playstyle. Twenty-four minutes in, he kicked it over Union Barbezieux Jonzac defenders not once, but twice in a single push, charging forward for a third try. Barbezieux Jonzac, while outmatched, was not about to go down without a fight. Some intense phase play 30 minutes in allowed them to find an opening on the far flank for their #10 to score, transformed by #14 to put the score at 19 -7 going into the halftime after Sarlat missed a penalty in the final minutes.
The second half was even more one-sided in Sarlat’s favor, however. Five minutes in, the home team scored and converted their third try, a double for Puyraud. Another followed four minutes later as Matt Doyle broke through and scored, converting it himself to put them up 33-7. UBJ defenders were having difficulty keeping up, and their offense had trouble scoring against a tight Sarlat Rugby defense. Sarlat was able to score another try; this time signed #6 Martin Mazelaygue, who dove it over the line.
While audiences saw some of the same errors that had cost the B team the win in the last two games, their skill and determination were on full display. Twenty-six minutes in, Sarlat’s #19, Filip Perica, ducked, dodged, and sprinted his way past half the UBJ team to dive for the try. However, the B team did start to lose steam, and ground, in the final stretch, with certain players called off to rest. However, their grip on the game only started to give way in the last 10 minutes of the game, as UBJ’s #9 scored first one, and then another try against them to put the score at 45-21.
Perhaps not the perfect game, but one in which Sarlat’s strengths more than made up for their weaknesses. Indeed the victory against Barbezieux Jonzac showcased the breadth and depth of talent on Sarlat Rugby’s reserve team. With an offensive bonus point as the cherry on top!