Sudbury U16s 24-0 Crusaders U16s
By Amanda White
CRUSADERS HONE THEIR SKILLS WITH THE BEST.
To excel at anything, you have to be prepared to stretch yourself and test your skills in an environment outside of your comfort zone. A squad of 22 under 16's travel outside of Norfolk to do exactly that. It's a long trek out to Sudbury, but we take the fun bus, a loud speaker and play some 'Lit' tunes provided by Woody and Mason.
It's not only Sudbury we're playing today. Saffron Walden's under 16's have also been invited, so it promises to be a real testing day of rugby. Crusaders will be going toe to toe with two extremely strong teams and will have to play at their very best to be within any chance of getting a win today. But we're really not here for that. It's the game time against bigger and better competition that we're after.
Sudbury and Saffron Walden's game commences. They're two well drilled, seasoned teams and fight it out together while Crusaders warm up and prepare for their turn.
Then, we're up next against Sudbury. It's clear to see right from the whistle it's a faster paced game than what we've been used to. Sudbury start by testing our forwards and try to punch their way through with strong ball carriers, No holes appear, Crusaders forwards hold their own and fight it out for possession. Then they test our defensive line, attacking wide; looking to stretch us and again looking for a weakness. Again we hold. A month ago, Sudbury would have been through; not today. Communication and structure in our defensive play has definitely improved. We carry on, Sudbury have all the possession, but our tackles check them.
Just before the end of the half Sudbury score. A lovely draw and pass puts their player over for a deserving try. But we've done exceptionally well to hold out for so long against such a barrage and it was full credit to our resilience and excellent defense.
We're not so cute in the second half and make errors in judgement that only make it easy for Sudbury to break through. Sudbury have the smarts to take full advantage of this and total up a tally of points on the board. The game ends 24 - 0 to Sudbury. It's been a great game and experience for Crusaders.
We then play Saffron Walden, Again, they have all the possession. We're not sticking to our game plan. We're going it alone, we're slow to the breakdown and in turn unable to build any solid platform from which we can attack. Saffron Walden take full advantage of this, turn over the ball and resume their attacks. Their backs are extremely well drilled and cut through our tackles, their support play is a joy to watch.
We don't let them have it all their own way though. We fight it out and actually do really well to steal some of their ball, but we fail to do anything with it. Again there's no support or it's too slow and we lose the ball once more.
Saffron Walden seal the game 34 - 0. An impressive display of good structure, support play and smarts. Our tackling let us down in this game, we took our foot off the gas and failed to be as effective as we we're in our first game against Sudbury.
Sudbury have stayed to watch our game with Saffron Walden and form a tunnel for both teams. We applaud each others performance and Crusaders thank both teams for two great games of rugby.
Before our journey back to Norfolk we discuss what we've learnt from playing such quality opposition. To take it back home and improve our game for next time. We look forward to the future and playing these two great teams again. We're under no illusion, but confident; that the next time we play, the score lines will be a much closer affair. It'll take time; but we're getting there.