Whether it was due to increased Covid-19 risks of the last few weeks, or fans planning to show up later, the Albert Bordes Stadium was only half full when the B teams of St Yrieix and Sarlat Rugby lined up. The sun, on the other hand, made a strong appearance, brightening up the mood for the players and fans alike.
The Sarlat Rugby B team had their upwards trajectory in the Federale 2 season cut short last week by a frustrating loss against Lormont, the current bracket leaders, and were determined to get back on track. Meanwhile, the St Yrieix team were disputing their first home game of the season, setting fans up for an epic confrontation.
Yet the game proved slower than either team could have hoped. Frequent interruptions by penalties from both sides made for a halting rhythm to the game, with fierce confrontation followed by pauses and adjustments. Sarlat Rugby were nevertheless able to show off an improved offense, speeding up the game with some well-executed teamwork to revivesim the pace.
Indeed, Sarlat Rugby was the first to score, doing so early in the game. Opening the score off a penalty (of course) which Enzo Mathe sent sailing through the posts for a 0-3 lead. Anxious not to lose face, or ground, the St Yrieix players tied up the score not long after, though the visitors’ defense proved tenacious and impregnable, slowing their every effort to score.
In fact, it was the aggressive Sarlat Rugby defense which would offer the team their first major opportunity of the game. After a powerful tackle sent the ball bouncing out of the hands of the St Yrieix player, Nicolas Testut managed to seize the opportunity, and keep it in play with a well placed kick. Showing quick thinking and initiative, the team were able to get the ball forward and into the hands of Enzo Mathe to dive into the corner and over the try line. Bringing the score up to 3-8, where it would stay until the whistle marked the end of a strong first half for Sarlat.
Frustrated by the gap in the score and anxious not to lose in front of their fans, St Yrieix came in swinging in the second half with high spirits. Picking up 3 points off a transformation, they narrowed the lead, 6-8. Unfortunately for them, Sarlat Rugby were not slowing down at all and their offense continued to push hard.
So much so that St Yrieix soon found themselves playing defense as Sarlat Rugby pushed up against the very edge of their try line. As Rémi Goguet was just meters away from scoring, one of the locals launched a high tackle to bring him down. The judicious ref knew a desperate move when he saw it and awarded the visitors the full try and transformation for the fault. Sarlat was once again in the lead 9-15.
The proof of their improvement, however, would come near the end of the game. Still in the lead 11-15, Sarlat Rugby showed off coordination and teamwork that had sometimes been lacking from previous games, working together to get the ball back into the hands of Rémi Goguet for his ‘second’ try of the day!
A bright finish for a bright day, proving that come sun or rain, the Sarlat Rugby B team can deliver strong wins. Showing promising levels of improvement even during a halting game, and with the A team’s success later that day, Sunday was a sterling success for the team!