The New Year kicked off on Saturday January 7, when The Hague Barbarians (the Junior cluster team comprising of players from Voorburg Rugby Club and Wassenaar Warriors) played Utrecht in the postponed 4th game of the 2nd phase of the season at Wassenaar, one of our homegrounds.
It was a strong start by the Barbarians. In the early stages we were competing well in the scrums (winning a couple against the head) and showing some real attacking intent by kicking for the corner from a penalty. The strong windy conditions played a big part though, line outs were difficult in the first half and some kicks just didn’t go where they should have. The Barbarians scored first after 10 minutes with a converted try. Utrecht quickly retaliated though and the scores were level after 15 minutes. Utrecht scored again a few minutes later with their strong fullback running up the wing. Defensively we were pretty sound and just before half time we managed to get underneath a player and stopped him from touching down.
Half time score: 7-14
The second half started with an injury to Jamie Wijnmalen which stopped the game for a long period. He hurt his back in a tackle and we decided to not take any chances and called an ambulance to the ground. Thankfully it seems that it was only the muscles and he was walking later on – Get well soon Jamie!
When play resumed Utrecht scored again. The last 20 minutes were an arm wrestle. The Barbarians had long periods where they were trapped in their own 22. When they had the ball they couldn’t break out and that started to frustrate a few players. Utrecht scored again from a quick tap penalty ten minutes from the end.
Final score: 7-28
This was a good game to watch – both teams physically well matched but the difference seemed to be that Utrecht took their chances better than The Barbarians. Two tries came from quick tap penalties when our players weren’t expecting it and another came from a burst on the 5 metre line from a powerful player that anyone would have trouble stopping. Injuries affected us as well, Tommaso Lapeyrere exiting in the first half with a bloody nose and a recurrence of a back issue, Jamie Wijnmalen and then Cas van Herk taking a bump to the head in the 2nd half. The team looked frustrated and disappointed with the result, but they were matching Utrecht for long periods of the game. We didn’t get the luck today – passes didn’t go to hand, kicks went wrong and the wind affected the line out, but we competed well in the scrums and breakdowns which was good to see.
We’re still 4th in the pool with our last game against The Hawks being played next Saturday. This is a must win game if we want to stay at this level of the competition and we’re all looking forward to it!