There is no doubt that Rugby is an outdoor sport, and that means players need to be able to adapt to inclement weather. The Larche pitch was deemed impossible to play on due to the rain so the showdown between Causse Vézère and Sarlat Rugby ended up at the Alexis Jaubert Stadium in Nespouls. Despite the torrential rains striking the region, their pitch was fit to play. And the teams were more than eager to oblige.
Beneath the nearly continuous downpour, Sarlat Rugby’s B team, beloved of Marcel Socaciu and Mathieu Repetto, was able to pave the way. They imposed themselves 23-16 despite fierce and valorous opposition.
A just reward for a tight knit group who is stating to show real confidence in their means, despite close losses in their two previous games.
After a minute of silence, with rain still pouring and the wind blowing, the two teams faced off at last. A setting which offers a true test of the teams’ mettle, placing everyone on the same playing field and putting legwork center stage.
Up against a bellicose home team who relied on line out victories and charging the ball through, Sarlat Rugby was comforted to find their scrum game up to challenge: dominating with the necessary physical presence essential to the game. Between lob kicks, long-kicks and aerial ping-pong, little terrain was gained in the first half, leaving the scores ‘old school’ tight.
There was more than just water raining down on the game, but penalties too. With 7 cards over the course of the game. The most egregious being for the local player Guionie in the 39th minute, forcing his team to play a man down for the entire second half.
The wind was a serious complication for the kickers: Barboutie for the home team and Bordoli for the visitors both saw their efforts stymied leaving the score only 3-3 at half time. Back from the changing rooms however, Sarlat Rugby put their best foot forward, sliding into first 3-6. The backs, deprived of the ball for most of the game, offered several interesting pushes. Tuwai deserted his wing and forced his way through, gaining ground and putting The Salamander back on track.
The local forwards however pulled out all the stops, throwing their full strength into the fight and finally managed to push through in the corner for a try.
8-6 at the 60th minute, things looked bleak and doubt could have won over the visiting team. But they were having none of it. Adding fuel to their fire, Stephane Labrousse’s players believed and fought with renewed vigor instead. The foot of Louis Pontagnier, replacing Bordoli, put Sarlat Rugby ahead on a penalty 8-9, anything could happen. It was anyone’s game.
Opportunist, it was Achille Massignac off an interception at the 50m line would claim a try for Sarlat Rugby, glorious and alone he outran the locals to bring the score up to 8-16.
Barboutie’s kick bought the local team the defensive bonus by bringing the score up to 11-16. Or so he thought. Ikapote Fono, brought in only minutes earlier, forced his way through the local defence to score one more try for Sarlat Rugby in the final moments. End score 11-23.
A tricky game from the start, Sarlat Rugby brought what they needed to the pitch. Despite a line out that continues to offer some difficulty, the group as a whole was there in mind and body and it showed.
That said, there are always a few problems to solve and areas to improve, but the mind-set and team spirit the staff treasures is starting to take shape. All eyes will now turn to their next game, which will be crucial. With their new mascot to cheer for them on the 11th of October, they are to face off at home, in the Christian Goumondie stadium against Lormont, the undefeated leaders of their bracket.
The Team :
Goursac. Olluyn (c). Pardo. Granger. Vaitkévicius. Fontenay. Lacoste. Dupont-Butez. Boyer. L. Pontagnier. Massignac. Delmas . testut. Tuwai. Bordoli.
Replacements : Puyraud. Bouty. Fono. Romain et Cyril Carrière. Garrigue. Okriashvili