A new weekend of rugby was in store for the reds at Rugby Rocks in Richmond with the new team further developing during training and ready for the challenges of the fixture, by the look at the teams entered, it was clear that some of the star studded teams were there only to win!
First up for the Reds were Storm 7s which is a team that the Reds respected after the previous weekend, we knew they were a class act that could deliver a punch. From the start, the Reds were firing on all four cylinders and applied pressure which culminated in 3 tries to 1 before the break followed by a try each in the second half giving a final score of 26-12 to the Reds.
Up next were Centurions, a team that were up for the challenges of the day. Strong defence and dynamic running lines saw this encounter challenging the Reds, with the Reds narrowly 2 tries up at the break. However, the Centurions in the second half came out fighting in a manner that impressed everyone watching the game, great ball skills with gas men flying in from all angles broke the Reds defence on 3 occasions to run in 3 tries giving them the lead at the final whistle of 26-14.
A great game with some lessons learnt and experience for the emerging team, it wasn’t just great ball skills or running lines, it is the mental preparation that needs to be exercised as experienced in this game.
Finally, in the pool stages, one of our favourite teams on the 7s circuit were Zoo Sports Ronin 7s, a team with strong core values and a team that is respected in 7s. From the start Ronin were up for the battle, running in 3 unanswered tries putting them in the lead at half time 19-0 to throw the gauntlet down to the Reds. Starting the second half, it was clear that the challenge was accepted and more importantly to the team, the Reds lead from the front in the battle. Destroying the contact zone, blistering tackles, gas from forwards not seen before all turned the tide of battle to see the Reds run in 4 unanswered tries to give the Reds a final score of 26-19. Truly a game of two halves but more importantly, the manner in the way the Reds attacked demonstrated that the Reds were on the right course in regaining their form from 2012.
Pool stages finished, it was on the quarter finals which was a replica of the finals in 2012 Rugby Rocks, French Pyrenees, a team full of professional players who had definitely had there breakfast that morning! The Reds were up for the challenge, however, you could see the class act from the French were going to make the next 14 minutes count for the loss they experienced last year as they ran in a try within the first minute which stunned the Reds. That didn’t stop the Reds determination in defence, hitting the tackles like a juggernaut at speed they demanded questions to be answered which took them up to the 8th minute to score their second try before the break giving the French a 14-0 lead.
After the break, the French scored again from a well crafted kick off collecting the ball and running under the post. This followed by two more tries which sealed the game off for the French which would have seen any team give up. However, the Reds continued to battle and work hard for each other, learning the game and using every minute to practice and develop their skills in preparation for the next competition. With the final score 33-0, this was a lesson to be experienced by the Reds and a lesson of accurate skills, calm heads and precision was required and the next couple of weeks will see the team develop in their own time in preparation for West Country 7s.
Overall it was an impressive weekend of rugby, yes we got knocked out in the quarter finals which is always disappointing, however with a new team developing in the top competitions on the UK circuits, it is great to see the team develop and more importantly mature with every minute played. The French made the finals and narrowly lost out to Kamikaze which showed the strength in the team and the passion that was experienced for all. Looking forward to West Country 7s and the Somerset Countryside.