15 players, we were 15 players for 80 minutes on a wet field against a good team and nobody failed. I am extremely proud of the team who defended Helsinki colors up North.
Glenn played 15, he has managed to defend and to support using all skills of a good rugby player (to run, to pass and to kick). Oulu did kick a lot in our back, thanks to Glenn presence and reaction, they have not been able to reuse these balls.
Tuomas and Jarno played on the wing, Tuomas for his first game in the championship managed to tackle the North beast in full speed mode and almost scored a try. Jarno scored a beautiful try on the corner of the try-zone with a heavy defense trying to reach him.
Joonas has shut the doors in the center and tackled like never, more of this please.
Simon did a hell of a job in the center and disappeared several time under 500 kilos of fresh nordic meat. Every time, 5 minutes after scraping himself of the pitch, he was back in full mode, tackling and passing.
Juhani has kicked the penalty which gave us the lead for some times, bringing doubts in the otherwise confident Nordic bunch. He has proven himself capable of good choices in terms of strategy, taking advantage of weaknesses in the defense organization to put us back in their half.
Ossi was in charge of the ball recovery and distribution and managed to proceed under a heavy pressure from the boiling icy forwards.
Steve, Peter and James dedicated themselves completely to the ball movement, they did what ever was possible to put themselves within less than 3 meters from the ball at all time, providing support and effective tackles. James went up to the point he was loosing control of his arm and legs, then asked Jarno to replace him in the scrum and run some more in the wing.
Chris and Olli were always close behind to our flankers and #8, they have been jumping out of the scrum as soon as possible in order to come in for support and defense. Olli "scored" a try on the football line (the rugby line was 1 meter behind) and it is unfair that after 70 minutes of tackles, pushes and run, such a remarkable effort (Olli against 3 northern bulls) is going to waste for a poor marking of the field.
Mikko played a full game as Prop (#3) and did a real good job there, I can tell you that the position was extremely tiresome, the lack of experience at this position just means that you need 6 times more energy for the same work. But our scrum was far from ridiculous and we managed to lift Peter in Line out a few times.
Sebastien has been an excellent captain, raising the spirit of the team (with some support there from Steve and James), leading by example in the game and making good decisions.
A great thanks to Katja, she was our only loud supporter and she provided us with water and medical kit.
Well of course, since we did not win with all this, we must have done some mistake =>
- We lost some balls with clumsy last second pass.
- We were not the best in scrum and line out, we have lost some.
- We made some defensive mistakes and went back from their 22 to ours in a matter of seconds.
- Lack of active support in the last 10 meters.
- We could have try a kick for the last penalty.
- We kicked balls on the floor with no attempt to pick them up and control them.
- Backs ran straight and inside to provide some space for the next runner and that is why Jarno scored.
- We defended like starving dogs and made every attempt to score an exhausting one for them.
- We did some great kicks in their back putting the pressure back to them.
I want more!
Please be there at training and next Saturday!
Match report by Mathieu Nicodeme
Oulu are an exciting team that improve every year and always give a challenging but very enjoyable game. Yesterday was no different. So, the long slog up to Oulu, 15 exactly made the trip, which meant no substitutes and not even anyone to run with the water bottles.
This meant that every player on the field had to give everything they had and go for a full 80 minutes. And that they did.
Again HRC's scrum was of mixed sorts, with players playing out of position, but doing well at the same time, Mathieu Nicodeme and Mikko Juvonen both stepping up to work in the front row, 2nd row and flankers were of previous experience, and Stephen Whittaker playing at number 8 for his first time.
The scrum managed to hold it's own and even got the better of Oulu's scrum.
The HRC backs was of it's usual caliber. Still missing 3 regular players, but at the same time having the strength to take on the Oulu team with some impressive runs and chases.
The conditions were wet and greasy, most rugby players enjoy to play in this condition. And that was the case today.
Oulu were to score first, and even got a drop kick, which doesn't happen too often in Finnish Rugby.
Helsinki returned the favour by scoring their own try and penalty kick. Which made the score 8 each. And this is the way it stayed until the final whistle, once again as with many of the games with HRC this season, there were some chances to be had, but the finishing touch was just not there.
The try was scored by Jarno Paasonen and the penalty was converted by Juhani Majanen. Sebastien Garcia took on the role of captain in his first time of that honour, and did a great job. Man of the Match for HRC was Stephen Whittaker.
The whole game was recorded by a professional camera crew which are following Oulu throughout their season.
After the game, Oulu had arranged a Sauna to start off the 3rd half. And the evening went well. Until it was time to get back on the train for the inevitable 10 hour journey.
But once again, a good game with good rugby.
Match report by Stephen Whittaker