What a difference a week makes. Last week the weather was warm and sunny, this week still sunny – but very chilly and we were lucky that the snow that fell on the Friday was all melted away. There was one constant in the two weeks though, and that was another great performance from The Hague Barbarians (the combined Junior team from Wassenaar Warriors, WRC Te Werve and Voorburgse Rugby Club) as they played The Waterweg Warriors at Hoek van Holland on Saturday 2nd April.

The last time we played each other the match was an arm wrestle with Waterweg coming out on top with a 8-5 win back in February, but this time it was The Barbarians that came out on top!

The Barbarians kicked off and immediately forced a knock on from Waterweg. The Barbarians won the resulting scrum and forced their way into the Waterweg 22. The Barbarians showed some great controlled aggression and showed their physical side and forced a number of handling errors from Waterweg. The pressure paid off after 6 mins and Plamen Brown, returning for his first game since breaking his nose in the first game this year, crashed through the defence and touched down under the posts. Tijmen Pronk converted putting The Barbarians ahead 0-7.

The 2 sides played as if they had left off from the previous game and the next 15 minutes was a close run game. The Barbarians forced errors from Waterweg but also losing the ball themselves with a few rucks being turned over due to holding on to the ball while on the floor. The stalemate was broken by The Barbarians on the 25min mark with Matt McCoy sprinting from our own half to score under the posts, bouncing off one of the post protectors in the process. Tijmen slotted over the conversion again and the score was 0-14 going into half time.

We were seeing a drop in energy at the end of the first half though and the team slowing down. The score from Matt really picking the boys back up and injecting some energy into the game.

Matt McCoy scored again straight after the restart and Tijmen brought the score to 0-21. A couple of minutes later it was Waterweg that barreled over the line taking the score to 7-21. The Barbarians reacted a few minutes later and it was Matt McCoy scoring another hat-trick in the corner after 10 mins. Tijmen unable to make the conversion but the score now 7-26.

The team were now playing some good rugby, interacting well with each other and putting in some nice plays. Andre Langlois put in a great solo effort and did well to run half of the pitch before being put into touch on the 5 metre mark. The forwards were also putting in a great performance, disrupting the line out at multiple times and for the most of the time, forcing errors from Waterweg. A good passage of play saw the ball go from one side of the pitch to the other and Andre Langlois again showing his speed and strength running in a try in the far corner. Again the angle was tough for Tijmen but the scoreline now stood at 7-31.

Waterweg did fight back and didn’t back down. They attacked well but The Barbarians defence held firm, but the end of the match didn’t go entirely to plan for The Barbarians though. A great run from Waterweg ended when Jesper Verbeek tackled the runner high – no malicious intent, but the rules are rules. The referee decided that a try would have been scored if the tackle was legal so awarded Waterweg a penalty try.

Final score: The Waterweg Warriors 14 – The Hague Barbarians 31

This was another great match from The Barbarians. While the match reports tend to focus on the try scorers, it’s only right that we highlight the team as a whole for the work that they all put in. The forward effort of Deven, Dinc and Lex trying to penetrate the Waterweg line again and again. Raphael and Hugo disrupting the line out which led to us winning the ball more than once. Damian seemingly present in all of the rucks and Bo breaking the gainline and giving us valuable metres. Jesper – solid as usual put in a try saving tackle that lifted the teams spirits as the approached the end of the first half. Syme continued his journey as captain handling the referee and players well and getting stuck in at scrum time. Renzo becoming a makeshift flyhalf at one point and getting the ball out to Matt who scored. Yann, Tijmen, Gabriel and later Andre clicking as a centre field combo with some great interplay that kept the ball moving. And our wingers- Stijn, Temelko, Tollo and Yoshua (himself returning after several weeks out injured) – all of them not shying away from defending and taking the ball and recycling well. Plamen returning from injury and carrying on at fullback as if he’d never been away, kicking, chasing and being the strong last line of defence. And Matt – powerful, strong and always driving forward.

This team played well as a team and put in some great pieces of play and also tried to mix things up and put in some new moves. It wasn’t perfect though, too many penalties or balls turned over on the floor and some offside infringements coming as The Warriors started to take quick penalties when The Barbarians were slowly walking back into place.

But this was a bonus point win and The Barbarians now stand second in the league behind our next opponents – The Hawks/Houtsche. The team are showing some great confidence now going into that game on the 9th April at the Wassenaar Warriors ground!

Stephen Brown
Match reporter

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