Sarlat Rugby starts the third bloc with a decisive derby win against Belvès

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Ikapote Fono earned his title of Man of the Match for Sarlat Rugby by Powering though Belvès’ Boars defenders
In the cold heights of the Sem Gallet Stadium, two local rivals met for the first time this season. The derby between Belvès and Sarlat Rugby was hotly anticipated, a clash between historic rivals currently placed first and last in Federale 2’s Bracket 8. While Sarlat Rugby’s A team narrowly missed the offensive bonus victory, the B team had to walk away with only the defensive bonus.

Sunday was a chance for two narratives to clash. On one side, Sarlat Rugby, undefeated this season and on an upward trajectory after heavy communication and recruitment efforts. On the other, Belvès, struggling with only one victory so far this season. Tensions had emerged off the pitch as well, with heated banter on social media paving the way for what many assumed would be rough games.

However, despite some tensions, both the teams performed well in the end, walking away with a win each. Sarlat Rugby’s A team continued their streak of wins, while the Belvès Boars B team earned local pride with a narrow win.

Sarlat Rugby Takes on the Boars of Belvès

After thunderous applause for the Belvès B team’s victory (see below) against their local rivals from Sarlat, the A teams took to the field. All the ingredients were in place for an intense rugby derby.

Despite a shaky start on the kick reception, Sarlat Rugby’s A team was not about to be bogged down like their B team counterparts. They quickly gained ground off a kick and, when given the penalty opportunity, #10 Serafin Bordoli opened the score for the visitors 0 – 3 less than 3 minutes in.

The Blue and Black tide raged on, determined and precise, taking their next penalty 6 minutes in to go for the line out. Belvès put up a sturdy defense, but they were unable to bring down Sarlat’s #4 Ikapote Fono, who dove home the try. After conversion by Bordoli, the score sat at 0 – 10 with less than 10 minutes on the clock. 

Second Row #4 Ikapote Fono dives in a first try for Sarlat Rugby against Belvès
Ikapote Fono’s first try gave Sarlat Rugby a head start over Belvès

Belvès were not about to give in without a fight, though luckily there was no sign of a widespread brawl such derbies are infamous for. When a penalty opened an opportunity for Belvès at 13 minutes, their #15 kicked it neatly in to start to even the score 3-10. The next opportunity would go to Sarlat Rugby, however, whose success in the line-outs, and better discipline, were beginning to bear fruit.

The visitors were keeping the ball soundly in home team territory, and after Belvès #2 got a white card, Sarlat pushed the advantage further. A powerful maul gained ground, and Ika Fono came charging out the back of it to score his second try of the night, 24 minutes in. 3 – 17 after the conversion. 

Belvès’ Boars could not stop Sarlat Rugby’s Ikapote Fono
Ikapote Fono, Man of the Match for Sarlat, charges through a score of defenders

Tensions continued to rise as a yellow card was given to Belvès’ #5, who once played for Sarlat, who got another shot at the line out. Despite frequent pushes up against the Belvès try line, including one by #12 Hemani Paea that actually crossed it (but was ruled not a proper touchdown), Sarlat was unable to score again. Belvès did show some spirit, pushing back even until the final seconds, but despite two penalties, secured neither the try nor the kick, leaving the score at 3 – 17 going into halftime. 

Halting Gameplay Curtails Action in Second half of Belvès – Sarlat Derby. 

Rolling onto the pitch with energy reminiscent of their debut, Sarlat’s momentum was only cut short by a penalty. Bordoli kicked for the posts this time, raising the visitors’ score to 20 against 3, 3 minutes in. A minute later, as tensions boiled over, each team received a yellow card; # 5 Wiehan Hay, for Sarlat, and Belvès’ # 1 were both sent to cool off. The game slowed with frequent pauses for faults, stray balls, and unsteady scrums halting play. 

Sarlat Rugby nevertheless kept up the pressure on the Belvès try line, especially after the home team’s #21 got a white card. Despite the home team’s efforts to clear the ball, the visitors kept bringing it back. Fifteen minutes in, they saw another try by Hemani Paea refused by the ref for not landing it properly. But that did not stop him from making a lightning pass two minutes later to #11 Lucas Caneda to score for Sarlat at the very edge of the pitch. 3 – 25 after Serafin’s difficult conversion bounced off a post. 

Alt text - Bleves’ defender arrives too late to stop Sarlat Rugby’s Lucas Caneda from scoring
Sarlat Rugby wing #11 Lucas Caneda scores in the corner for the visiting team

At this point Stephane Labrousse decided to roll over the Sarlat Roster, switching up first their front row 22 minutes in, then their wingers 28 minutes in. Meant to help avoid injury and give the full roster some time on the pitch, it did leave the composition a little shaky. The change was also not helped by one of the new arrivals, Roman Aleyrangues, earning a white card just minutes onto the pitch. On the other hand, Belvès seemed to find their second wind. Encouraged by their fans, they started to push play back into the Blue and Black territory more often.

Indeed, sensing a chance to salvage their pride and take the offensive bonus away, they started kicking for line-outs. Thirty-seven minutes into the game, after several pushes, they finally found an opening on the far side for the # 8 to score a try. 10 – 25 after the conversion. Playing now for the offensive bonus point more than anything, the final minutes ticked by as Sarlat shoved up against the Belvès line. One failed line-out, however, was enough to cost them their momentum. The final whistle blew on a decisive, but no longer crushing, victory for Sarlat Rugby. 

Sarlat Rugby and Belvès line up for a scrum near the end of the Derby
While the match was not perfect, neither derby team left with a red card!

The victory was wildly applauded by Sarlat supporters, for whom it was a strong morale boost after the defeat of their B team earlier in the afternoon, but also by Belvès supporters. They saw in their team valiant defiance against a superior opponent and congratulated them on not letting Sarlat take away the offensive bonus—a feat better-ranked teams had failed to achieve. 

The Belvès Boars win a narrow victory against Sarlat Rugby’s B team

Sarlat’s B team took to the field missing some familiar faces but were still able to open the score. Their first opportunity came after a first fifteen minutes of tense back and forth with frequent changes in possession. Despite gaining the penalty just inside their half of the field, Sarlat Rugby’s B team took the kick. #10 Romain Bastiat sent it sailing in to open 0 – 3. At 16 minutes. 

Unfortunately, on the next push, Belvès found an opening on the far right after a determined push. Sarlat’s defenses certainly seemed less coordinated than in past matches, and while their offensive running game suffered from the absence of Matt Doyle, Bastiat certainly kicked up a storm. He scored another penalty, while the next one went in off the foot of Jarod Millet. By 23 minutes in, Sarlat had once again taken the lead 7- 9.

Romain Bastiat lines up a kick for Sarlat Rugby against Belvès Boars
Slowed by fierce Belvès opposition, the B team derby was very much a kicking game

Sarlat’s B team was having trouble scoring tries, however, despite some strong opportunities including a good 50:22 rule kick, and generally strong line-outs. They were slowed by too many penalties and often opted for kicking at the posts, though their kicking game was not perfect as they missed two more shots at the posts, while Belvès scored one in just before the halftime whistle. 10 – 9. It was anyone’s game. 

Belvès, sensing some weakness from the ambitious Sarlat Rugby team, came out of the gates swinging, pushing up, and rapidly scoring another penalty. While Sarlat Rugby’s counterattack fell short of the try because of a few fumbles, they did score a kick of their own. Their lack of discipline cost the visitors dearly, however, as they would offer Belvès three more penalties over the next 15 minutes, two of which went in, leaving them 19-12 with less than 20 minutes left. 

A missed penalty raised the stakes for Sarlat Rugby’s B team, but they started making even more errors, including on line-outs needed to get in scoring range. Knowing what was at stake, however, they were not about to let their historic rivals go unchallenged. Thirty-three minutes in #12 Nicolas Testut broke through and the ball was carried home for the try by fullback Jarod Millet, who also confirmed the try, putting the teams tied going into the final stretch. 

Sarlat Rugby fullback #15 Jarod Millet dives for the try
A try by Jarod Millet evened up the score fo Sarlat Rugby and Belvès

Unfortunately, while Belvès missed the first kick, they got a second in with just three minutes on the clock. Their lead of 22-19 would prove final, and Sarlat Rugby’s B team would have to content themselves with a defensive bonus while the local team celebrated. Nevertheless, the visitors’ performance had been admirable, and they remain in the top 3 of the bracket. Next week will be a tough test for them, as they go up against JA Isle, whose reserve team is currently second in the bracket.

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