Yesterday, Sarlat Rugby players and fans made the drive to St Yrieix for the first test of their new roster. After nearly a year without an official game, the stands were already reaching capacity at the Albert Bordes Stadium for the B team game. And they were not disappointed.
After the B team’s stunning victory, the St Yrieix and Sarlat Rugby A teams faced off in front of larger crowds still. Despite a rocky start and some fierce opposition, however, they too managed to seal the day with a win. A first day that further confirms Sarlat Rugby’s status as a front-runner in their bracket.
Sarlat Rugby B Team Kicks off the 2021-2022 Season with a Bang
St Yrieix may have wished they made it to the friendly game earlier this summer, as they might have been better prepared for the intensity and skill of the Sarlat Rugby offense. Bolstered by several players from the rotating A team roster, as well as several who had played in Sarlat Rugby’s first team in previous seasons, the B team got straight to work.
Twenty minutes in, Sarlat had already scored 2 tries against St Yrieix, scored by Tom Pinta Tourret and Cyril Carriere, with a conversion by Marvin Garrigue. This put the score at 0-12 when Marvin surged forward on an interception and scored once again, converting and raising the score to 0-19 for Sarlat Rugby.
They did not slacken the pace, however. Just two minutes later, Cyril Carriere nailed the first double of the afternoon for Sarlat. Nevertheless, it cannot be said that the B team had worked out all its kinks, as they did miss a few conversions, and some momentum was lost from time to time on errors or fumbles. However, there were not nearly as many as in their previous game, and Sarlat Rugby finished the first half of the match in style with one more try, bringing the score to 0-29.
Sarlat Rugby’s B team opened the second with a run halfway down the field to score a try in the first 30 seconds of play. Staying focused and concentrated, Sarlat’s lead grew as the players seized every opportunity to score. Sixty-four minutes into the game, they were up 0 to 57. But St Yrieix was not going to go down without a fight. By the end of the match, they had managed to score twice, though not before the boys in Blue and Black had pushed the score up further still.
The final whistle blew on 10 to 64 for the visiting team, and Sarlat Rugby had secured its first 2021-2022 victory with panache. Coach Stephane Labrousse put it perfectly: “A very fine game, with a stunning score. Serious from start to finish!”
But the main game hadn’t even started, and St Yrieix and Sarlat Rugby both now had a lot to prove.
St Yrieix and Sarlat Rugby A Teams Go Head to Head
Crowd expectations, and applause, were high as St Yrieix and Sarlat Rugby’s A teams took to the Albert Bordes pitch. Unfortunately, the roster looked slightly different than expected for the Blue and Black visiting team. Sarlat’s #5, Wiehan Hay, had to be replaced with #19 Ikapote Fono, who in turn was replaced by Mathieu Granger. Nevertheless, they had a place at the top to earn and came on strong.
Despite pushing hard, Sarlat’s A team found it much harder to move the ball forward against a far more determined and cohesive St Yrieix defense. When the home team in red kicked it far down the field, and the Blue fullback pushed the ball back in to keep it in play, St Yrieix opened the score with a stunning sprint, capitalizing on the mistake. 7 – 0 with the conversion.
Tensions were heating up on the pitch, however, and penalties abounded on both sides. Nine minutes into the game, Sarlat Rugby capitalized on one with a goal kick by Serafin Bordoli, narrowing St Yrieix’s lead to 7-3. While the visiting team was still making some mistakes, Sarlat’s technical skills had improved as well, especially on the line-outs. Seventeen minutes in, they finally took back the lead with a try by Lucas Cousin, and conversion, 7-10.
St Yrieix was not about to let this become a repeat of the B team game, however. They were playing full steam and putting the brakes on the Sarlat Rugby offense. While Eroni Tuwai received a yellow card, temporarily putting the visitors at 14 players, Sarlat Rugby was not going to roll over either. Twenty-five minutes into the game, Theo Entrayegues made a snap call, keeping the ball in play after a penalty with a quick foot tap, allowing Sarlat’s Lucas Cousin to run down the line and score again, earning a double and the Player of the Match in the process.
Five minutes later, it was St Yrieix’s turn to kick on the goal, bringing the score to 10-15. Some very aggressive defense, a yellow card for each team, and a missed penalty by Sarlat kept the score static going into halftime.
Sarlat Rugby Fights to Secure First Victory
St Yrieix came out of the gate swinging after halftime, nearly scoring a try in the first minute. However, an intercepted pass kept them from completing it. Indeed, tactical errors (like not getting enough support in the ruck) and fumbles were more common in this second game for both teams, as pressure stayed high throughout the match. With St Yrieix missing their penalty, it took almost 15 minutes into the second half for either team to score, another penalty goal kick by Bordoli. 10-18.
Both teams were refusing to give ground, but were also having trouble gaining and keeping it. Injuries, tensions, and faults slowed the pace of the game. But Sarlat Rugby’s work on defense was paying off, presenting a Blue and Black wall St Yrieix couldn’t seem to pierce. With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, it was Theo Faucher who would finally score for Sarlat after a long period of phase play up against the try line. Another missed conversion meant that by the end of the game a few minutes later, the score was 10-23 for Sarlat Rugby.
A clear win, but by no means an elegant one. Sarlat Rugby’s coach Stephane Labrousse summarized it well: “The objective was reached, 4 points for our victory, but there is plenty of work to do. Now we will have to start preparing to receive Surgères this Saturday.” Given that the next team just beat Sarlat’s derby rival Belvès handily—putting them at the top of the division—all eyes will be on the clash next weekend in Sarlat.
Indeed, with the win under their belts, Sarlat Rugby is even more likely to be seen as the team to beat in their bracket. Though, if the St Yrieix games are anything to go by, it will take quite a lot to bring them down. And, if they are given room to shine, they will soar!
|A Team||B Team|
3. Ben Hamouda
8. Laporte (Captain)
5. Carriere R.
13. Carriere C.
15. Pinta-Tourret (Captain)