Seconds squeak out win
Unimpressed coach says team still has a long way to go
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 06:00 am
St, Albert’s seconds might have gotten the revenge they were seeking against the Clan Saturday, but coach Gareth Scott still wasn’t impressed with his players after the 37-31 win.
Scott gathered his second division squad to let them know that while the players might have come out on top, they still weren’t playing the kind of rugby he wants them to.
“It’s great that we came out with a win and in the last 10 minutes they gutted it out because they wanted it, but we didn’t need to be there,” said Scott. “We didn’t need to be in (that) position so that’s what I’m telling them.”
The highly anticipated match after the first division squad’s fight-filled, last-play loss to the Clan Thursday featured cooler heads but warmer temperatures as the mercury hovered around 29 C, noticeably slowing play, particularly in the second half.
But it was poor positional play and not executing certain phases in midfield that angered Scott.
“It’s percentage rugby. It’s playing the good solid options and they don’t do it,” said Scott. “It drives me crazy.”
It looked like the seconds were in for an easy win when, in the first minute of the match, fullback Matt Herod plunged into the try area off a solid ruck and a series of good passes. Two penalty kicks followed that had St. Albert up 11-0 before the first quarter had expired.
But the Clan quickly replied with a converted try of their own off a St. Albert-fed scrum after the Clan were called for a knock-on, closing the gap to 11-7. St. Albert was able to build its lead back up after a Clan turnover on a ruck that saw three beautiful passes eventually find their way to forward Trent Bennett. The converted try gave St. Albert an 18-7 lead.
“Every time [we played our game] today and every time we do, we always win that ball,” Scott said. “Now we’re into their end and likely to score.”
But the strong sequence by St. Albert faltered as the Clan attacked, first putting together a series of good runs for an unconverted try, then putting down another ball between the posts in the try area to take a 19-18 lead into the half.
“We spend 10 or 15 minutes building, doing good things to score a try, then we can’t play a simple kickoff,” Scott fumed.
The second half opened with another Clan try to give them a 24-18 lead. At that point inside-centre and New Zealand import Andrew Marsden, 29, started showing his veteran presence on the field. A series of passes between Herod and eight-man Kyle Balliey sprung Marsden down the left side of the field for a converted try.
Marsden, said Scott, was the team’s man of the match.
“He controlled the game. He made all those good decisions in the midfield and has a great boot on him,” Scott said. “He certainly controlled the game and was the reason things turned around.”
The Clan quickly replied with a converted try for a 31-25 lead, but Herod again set up another scoring play, springing Balliey off a kickoff. Unfortunately, Marsden shanked the convert wide.
“I felt a little guilty so I owed it to our forwards because they are really the superstars of the day today,” he said.
Trailing 31-30 with only minutes left and St. Albert facing a lineout, Marsden took the ball off a tip and tore through the Clan at midfield, shedding tackles and carrying at least two men over the try line. He converted the try to give St. Albert the 37-31 win.
“We just had a good go-forward ball and myself and the rest of the backs were able to capitalize on it,” Marsden said.