No jealous for tonight's weather, weither it was in Ile de France or in Pays-Basque, it was all rain, rain and more rain, and when you play rugby you would better not face it, especially if you dream of fancy rugby combinations. Because tonight, at Jean Dauger, a real bluffing poker match was played in the rain. But still very virile. It was indeed the smartest of the two teams that emerged out victorious of this duel. A that crafty game, we can say that Francilians really were cleverest. (Credits photos : Marc Mittoux)
Adapting themselves perfectly to the climate conditions, the Travers-Labit duet's rugbymen began their match leaving the initiative of the game to the Basques, while imposing a tough defensive pressure on their opponent of the day. It was yet, the Bayonnais who became dangerous first with a break through defense ran by Roumieu (10') which ended on the left wing for full-back Spedding. Well organized and mostly distraught, Francilians waited for the next ruck to impose their strength on lower ground, to then clear it for a throw-in.
Even though it was powring rain, Francilians left the storm go by, persecuting the Basques in defense and relying on a weapon which was going to supply them in penalties all evening : conquest. In scrums, lower ground, on handled balls, and most of all on throw-ins, Racingmen never turned down the intensity and became quickly rewarded by a penalty won in scrum, which Jonathan Sexton took in charge to convert (19', 0-3). And here comes the stereotype, the one in which you attest that with a Irish Fly-half, Racing could not have no other result than a victory of course, out of a match played under such rain. You are certainly right... Accurate foot plays, up and unders perfectly kicked and above all another 100% penalty success, Sexton has heavily contributed for the win.
Back into the game and score level due to a penalty converted by Bustos-Moyano (33', 3-3), Bayonnais toiled to annoy the francilians' defense, being even penalized around their 22 meter line, offering to Sexton the 3-6 penalty (37'). Well into position and dominating, Ciel et Blanc should have walked back to the locker-rooms with the advantage on the scoreboard, but a collapsed maul cost them a penalty in which the argentinean winger Martin Bustos-Moyano got in charge of converting (40', 6-6).
Coming back from the break, Francilians quickly got themselves fouled. On a up and under kicked by Maxime Machenaud, Bernard Le Roux ran in front of the scrum-half offering the Basques and Bustos Moyano the 9 to 6 penalty (42'). Since that mistake, Racingmen went back into the game twice as much, especially in the conquest phases, by multiplying the handled balls. On one of them, following a throw-in, Basques got fouled. Sexton successfully kicked it through the posts, making it even at the scoreboard 9-9 (51'). Just as Francilians came back on the Aviron, Bayonnais answered by scoring the first try of the match by Fa'aoso (53', 14-9) converted by the argentinean winger (16-9). But again, the team-mates of Dimitri Szarzewski didn't let their heads down, they took back the hold of the ball. On a scrum, Basques got again penalized peritting to Sexton to reduce the score difference to 16-12 (56'). It is finally off intelligence and out of attrition that Francilians were going to win it. And most of all thanks to a converted try scored Camille Gérondeau (63',16-19), following a Sexton up and under amazingly precise and a good relay from Estebanez, Racingmen realized the week-end's best hit by being the only victorious team away.
Due to their intelligence into the adaptation around the weather and to a perfoming conquest, Racingmen proved that they really are present and that ennemies will have to cope with them. Next meeting on Saturday against Bordeaux-Bégles, to confirm their good momentum. Let's hope that the climate conditions will be brighter.
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