The Hague Barbarians (the Junior cluster team comprising of players from Voorburg Rugby Club and Wassenaar Warriors) played Castricum in the second game of the 2nd phase of the season.

This week was the opposite to last weeks game – it seemed like we had a completely different team playing. The Barbarians competed in the rucks, lineouts and scrums and were strong throughout the game. They stole Castricum ball at the breakdown and won a lot of the scrums against the head as well. The team clicked at almost every point, passing the ball out to the wings quickly and gaining ground almost every time the had the ball. However, no matter how strong The Barbarians were – Castricum found a way to get themselves back into the game and wrestle the victory.

The Barbarians got themselves off to a winning start with 2 tries by Matt McCoy and a conversion by Tijmen Pronk. The difference in the way the team were playing was evident right from the start. The Barbarians putting Castricum under pressure, attacking the rucks and getting the pods working to secure the ball and to get the backs arranged for an attack. Castricum came back after 20 mins with The Barbarians slipping while making the tackle allowing them to have a run to the corner. Their second try came minutes later with the Castricum Number 3 running up the wing handing off our tacklers and, unfortunately for us, the third try came moments later taking the halftime score to 12-17.

A great Barbarians run opened the second half. The ball going across the pitch and Plamen Brown diving on the ball on the try line. He unfortunately was short and Castricum took full advantage. As our attack involved all players, Castricum kicked the ball deep into our half and their players won the foot race. Castricum scoring a converted try taking the score to 12-24. This was a great competition to watch but the difference between the sides was that Castricum seemed to be able to take advantage of the Barbarians mistakes. The Barbarians weren’t lying down though and scored through a driving maul (our first try from the maul!) a couple of minutes later (I think it was Renzo but I was slightly distracted and there were a lot of bodies lying over the ball). Castricum did what they had done throughout the game and responded straight away scoring a converted try. With 10 mins to go the score was 19-29. The Barbarians attacked throughout the last 10 mins and put pressure on the Castricum defence. They were expecting the big lads to break through but in the end it was Daniel seizing the chance, breaking through and scoring the last try of the game. Tijmen Pronk converting to bring the score to 26-27 at the final whistle.

Final score 26-29.

The Barbarians may have lost the game but they should be very proud of the way that they played and the attacking attitude that they showed on the pitch – this was the opposite to how they played the week before. Castricum were strong and capitalized on a few mistakes by us, but we matched them in all areas of the game today. Castricum did respond well in the second half when we were spreading the ball wide and started to anticipate the moves we were playing. We could have anticipated that more and, as we were winning the rucks, could have worked the ball through pods and recycled until we saw more of a scoring opportunity.

An excellent step forward by the team! The coaches were very pleased with the way that the team responded to the defeat of the previous week and in the way that they reset themselves and focused during training. The difference in performance was great to see by the team!

Stephen Brown
Match reporter

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