Despite an impressive second-half rally from the Edmonton Clansmen the St. Albert rugby club’s first division team pulled out a win last Friday.
After dominating early in the game, St. Albert gave the Clansmen an opening to take the lead and then fought back to pull a 20-18 victory from the clutches of defeat.
The winning try came in the final minutes of the game as rookie winger Matt Herod slid into the end.
Herod credited his teammates for getting the ball to him, but said the final drive into the end was electric.
“It was a great feeling; there is no better feeling than that.”
St. Albert opened the scoring with a penalty kick followed by two tries, one of which they converted.
The Clan was held off the scoreboard for most of the opening half, managing only to squeak in a penalty kick just before the whistle blew.
The second half saw a completely different Clan come to the field.
In the opening half Edmonton seemed slow and disorganized, but in the second they repeatedly broke through St. Albert’s defence and moved the ball well to close the gap and then take the lead.
Coach Chal Smyth said he was thrilled with the opening half and believes his team simply rested on their laurels in the latter part of the match.
“We had a really impressive first half, probably the best first half we have had since I have been here.”
Herod said the team didn’t advance on the gains they had already made.
“We played a stagnant game; we didn’t accelerate our game to that next level.”
Smyth said St. Albert’s drop in play gave the Clan an opening and he gives them full credit for exploiting it.
“We started to give them life and they went from there.”
In that second half Edmonton started a 15-point unanswered rally with a penalty kick followed by a two tries and one conversion to take the lead.
Smyth said the lesson his team can take away is that given an inch their opponents will be miles away before they slow down.
“We had that lull for 15 to 20 minutes and they put 15 points on us.”
St. Albert pushed the advantage in the final minutes of the game and after several close attempts Herod pushed in for the final try.
Smyth said he has been pleased with the team’s success so far this year, but they still have room to improve.
“If we want to be one of the top teams in the league we have to have the defence in the game for the full 80 minutes.”