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Au Revoir Les Bleus

The BAG 7s team took up the challenge of playing in 12th Nivellois 7s tournament on Saturday 23 Jun 12. Previous winners, Suzie’s Saloon and The Brussels Tigers are well known on the 7s circuit so this competition promised to be no walk over.

That perception was reinforced when it was discovered that Les Bleus http://www.les-bleus-sevens.com/ , the national French 7s team used to develop players for the IRB tournaments had seen the BAG entry and had entered as a warm up for the upcoming FIRA European 7s tournament in Odense Denmark. The action got underway with BAG dispatching both teams in the early pool games in a flurry of 19 unanswered tries as the team went through it paces. The real rugby started at the 1/4 final stage when the team met Esprit Sud who are an invitation team from the south of France.
A tense 1st half was littered with mistakes as the French team tried to hurry the pace. The BAG squad then matched the French pace and almost immediately after halftime the lightening pace of Tpr Matacaga Scots DG had them reeling.

The change of personnel at halftime saw LCpl Ratubalavu 1PWRR break free to score the first of two tries before Rfn Kirkmond 5 Rifles completed the scoring for BAG with a brace to go through 24-5.
The semi final was against the tournament second seeds Jean 7s from Belgium containing most of the Belgium rugby team. The team soon found their measure and won a place in the final courtesy of tries from Rfn Kirmond 5 Rifles, Rfn Nalewebau 5 Rifles, Capt McNeil Scots DG, LCpl Buisava 3 Mercian and Pte Vimataki (2) 4 SCOTS with a 38-7 win.

The final was against a very impressive French team who had been taken to sudden death by the Saxons an English select made up of players from London based professional clubs.

Containing 4 French Sevens Internationals and a team sheet reading like the French Super 14 league this would be a tough nut to crack. Buoyed by the supporters and players from the other French teams Les Bleus appeared confident as the French National anthem was sung by the crowd. A blistering start saw BAG punish French mistakes and score 5 unanswered tries in 9 minutes, the pick being a solo effort by Tpr Matacaga. A late challenge by Rfn Nalewebau was greeted with boos from the crowd and a yellow card from the ref. The French took this as their cue to play as only the French can.

They soon scored as a stretched BAG struggled to contain them. The first few minutes of the second half saw another sin binning for BAG with Capt McNeil Scots DG taking a rest for taking out a man (who then rolled around like a soccer player for a minute!).

BAG shipped three more scores before regaining their full complement to leave the score balanced nicely at 35-24 with three minutes to go. The return of McNeil galvanized the defence and he led his fellow forwards Nalewebau and Buisava in an awesome display of defence. Wave after wave of French attack was smashed to the ground and inevitably the ball was dislodged and BAG scored between the posts. 42-24 Final Score!

The trophy was lifted by Rfn Nalewebau and the team were inundated with invitations to other tournaments around Europe this summer.

A special mentioned should go to the backroom boys, coach SSgt Williams RAPTC attd 1 YORKS, Manager Sgt Robertson AGC (SPS) attd 5 Rifles and Asst manager LCpl Smith 1 YORKS.

A great weekend, a great result and more proof that rugby is on the rise again in BAG.

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