The first game of the season for The Hague Barbarians (the clustered Junior rugby team consisting of players from Wassenaar Warriors and Voorburgse Rugby Club) was played at Voorburg on Saturday 17th September against the Pink Panthers from Driebergen.

The weather threatened to make things tough with heavy rain falling during the warm up session but that cleared and we had a very warm afternoon of rugby ahead of us.

This was a balanced Barbarians team, welcoming a number of 1st year Junior players alongside the 2nd years. The emphasis at the start of the season is always development over winning and the coaches were eager to see how the team performed after only 2 weeks of training. The game started well with the Barbarians scoring twice in the first 10 mins with tries from Tijmen Pronk. Andre Langlois intercepted a Panthers pass of the third try and then ran in a fourth a couple of minutes later as The Barbarians spun the ball wide from a penalty. Matt McCoy broke through from within The Barbarians half to score under the posts bringing the score to 31-0 after 15 mins. The Barbarians were in control and more tries followed. Dinc Capar went over from close range and Matt McCoy scored his second after 27 mins.

The Pink Panthers were not taking this lying down though and were starting to find some shape and fight back. They attacked and The Barbarians were lucky in clearing their lines as Tijmen Pronk cleared a loose ball from our try line and managed to get the ball back to the halfway line, but The Panthers were determined and ran in their first try in the corner but it was The Barbarians that had the last word with Yann Argente scoring under the posts for the last play of the first half.

Half time score: Hague Barbarians 48 – Pink Panthers 5

The Barbarians were controlling the game comfortably but were in danger of getting too confident in themselves. Discipline was dropping and the team were losing concentration. We had a number of penalties against use and were not in control of our rucks and breakdowns. Still we were winning the game and the coaches made changes after the half time. They also were able to move a couple of the boys into positions that they wouldn’t normally play at, which is a luxury to be able to do this during a game.

The Panthers weren’t finished though and scored a fantastic try straight after the restart. Gathering the ball and bursting through a number of missed tackles from their own half to score in the far corner. The Barbarians retaliated with Matt McCoy kicking and regathering a nice grubber kick. The Panthers were getting into a stride of their own and were capitialising on the missed tackles from the Barbarians, they almost scored their third try but some great defence on the line saw the try being saved. Matt McCoy ran in another try shortly afterwards after the Barbarians kicked the ball up the pitch from a penalty. Another kick upfield saw the next try for the Barbarians being scored after 13 mins by Tijmen Pronk as he gathered a nicely bouncing ball on the halfway line.

Tijmen was involved in the next try, passing to Temelko Brown who was tackled and then managed to recover the ball to score his first Barbarians try. The Panthers were now the ones being penalized but the Barbarians failed to take advantage and missed two try scoring opportunities straight after each other. They did score again on the 24 min mark when Daniel van der Merwe crossed the line. The Panthers had the last word though and broke several tackles powering over for their third try at the end of the game.

Final score Hague Barbarians 77 – Pink Panthers 15

However the recorded score by the bond was 57-10 with the referee enforcing a rule in the competition limiting the winning score to 45 points of the opposition. For the first game of the season this was a great result for the boys but there is lots to work on for the rest of the pool. The team showed good aggression in the first half but lost ball as they were late to rucks or were penalized by the referee. The scrum went well with The Barbarians winning several of the Panthers put-ins but their concentration dropped at the end of the first half and tackles were missed.

Still – 1 game played and 1 game won! Game on for the rest of the season!

Stephen Brown
Match reporter

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