The Benji’s brought two teams to the District Championships at HRC to contest in the Cup & Plate competitions, with the Tigers competing for the Cup.
What were instantly noticeable were the small and narrow pitch sizes. Some shambolic (or maybe even contrived) planning at HRC saw four pitches crammed onto one full size playing field. With tons of sand applied for good measure, it was more reminiscent of a beach tournament.
T-Rex’s first game was against Rotterdam (B). With only one sub; new players David and Joseph, playing their first ever rugby game, competed in an evenly contested game, Rotterdam deservingly edged it 3-1 but not without the help of some rather amusing referring decisions. We thought the advantage rule gave advantage to the non-offending team… obviously not!
At the same time, the Tigers took on Gouda (A), which was comfortably won 6-0., although Gouda’s coach Nick wasn’t happy about the narrow pitches or the referring, even asking Scott to help apply the 7 meter rule at restarts, due to lack of action by the referee.
Next up for T-Rex was DIOK (B), which was played in great spirits by both players and supporters. Some good try’s down the wing from Jamal and powerful runs Rory was only overshadowed by our ‘Man of the match’ Joseph who put in some great tackles in triumphing 6-1.
Back to the Tigers; their next opponents were the Hookers. They continued playing a good passing game while attempting to attack at pace but it started to become apparent just how narrow and slow the pitches were, labouring to a 5-0 win.
With the group stages completed, T-Rex’s beat Gouda (B) 6-3, Lachlan scoring a good running try from the back of the field but undauntedly the best piece of action of the day came when Lachlan broke the back line and clear thru to score… at which point, Gouda decided to make a quick substitution, who promptly tackled Lachlan, who was running down the touch line for glory!
After a short break, T-Rex who had played their previous three games on the larger, isolated Turven’s pitches at the far end of HRC, now played HRC (B) on the smaller, slower fields. In another competitive match but much more physical match, HRC prevailed 6-2.
The Tiger’s faced HRC (A) on a noticeably sandier laden field. As expected, HRC has cherry picked the best players from their numerous squads to complete in both their A and B teams.
HRC (A) instantly applied pressure to the Benjis passing game. The fields were so narrow; HRC even fielded a fullback, whilst easily covering the defensive line. The game quickly tuned into a series of mauls, mostly won by HRC. At the restarts, both teams weren’t obeying the 7-meter rule or anywhere like it and the HRC referee wasn’t going to enforce it either, but on such a small pitch it hurt BSN a lot more than HRC.
HRC’s better rucking helped them to a 2-0 lead at half time. Clearly frustrated with the lack of space, the Benjis tried to run the ball more and pass less, although saying that, if HRC put more than two passes together in the whole game, I missed it. BSN were repeatedly outhustled at the constant mauls and breakdowns, picking up numerous injuries along the way. After conceding a third try, the Benjis heads dropped for a 6-0 defeat. To say this game was ugly would be an understatement.
The Benjis looked physically and emotionally shell shocked after such a physical game, which wasn’t surprising after losing for the first time this season. The coaches tried to lift they player’s spirits while Rotterdam (A) made their way onto the pitch for the Tiger’s next game.
With emotions running high, the Benjis were turned over by Rotterdam (A) in another ugly, maul feasted encounter, which resembled a first year Turven’s match, who hadn’t yet learnt to pass or tackle. Again, injuries started to take their toll in another physical encounter, with Hugo and William, amongst others, taking some big hits, and who had to be replaced. Luc’s never say die attitude and play steadied the ship but the Benjis, clearly feeling the emotion effects from the previous game, coupled with a successive physical game, eventually went down fighting to a 4-0 defeat.
The Tiger’s had been outmuscled and out-hustled today but it will be an experience they will learn from. They attempted to play good rugby today but when the elements are against you, they will have to learn to create the space which was denied them today.
Standings & Teams
T-Rex – Plate: 3rd Place
- Coach: Cedric, Daran
- Captain: Rory
- Player of the match: Joseph
- Team: Andrea; Calum; David; Joseph; Lachlan; Layla; Jamel; Mac; Rory; Ronan
Tigers – Cup: 3rd Place
- Coach: Scott, Daran
- Captain: Hugo
- Player of the match: Luc
- Team: Alexander C; Daniel; Henry; Hugo; Jamie; Josh; Louis; Luc; Moritz; William
Head coach’s verdict: In what was supposed to be the seasons showcase event, this event was a disgrace for which the hosts are responsible. They could easily setup five standard sized pitches but decided not to. I didn’t meet any coach or team manager outside of HRC who was happy about the conditions played today. If HRC think this is a way of promoting good rugby in the Netherlands, then they have a lot to learn.