Quarter 2: Didn’t play because the coach was trying to rotate on other players. My fitness had also begun to let me down in 10s and my coach felt that it was better to rest me for the 15s.
Quarter 3: We now switched to playing 15 a side and the recent defeat to ISB had significantly improved the teams focus and motivation. Our team’s lower level of fitness was now not much of a problem since we had more on the field. Right from the kick off we contested for the ball constantly and always tackled hard. We tried to keep the ball within our forwards and theirs to limit the effects of their superior back line. I made it to far more breakdowns than with the 10 a side game and found that I was rucking effectively. My motivation and focus had increased significantly as I no longer underestimated them and just focused on what I had to do. We chose to continue to not contest the line outs and rather wait to commit the tackle as soon as their catcher reaches the ground and give a strong and committed drive. This tactic proved to be very effective since our opponents never tried to change the throws. When we were in possession of the line outs, we knew we were physically at a disadvantage so rather than doing an orthodox throw, we threw to everyone in between. We threw successfully to the front man and over the line to a running back. ISB took quite some time to catch on to what we were doing. 6 minutes from time, this effort paid off and the front catcher, our No.8 caught a quickly taken line out and surged over the line putting us 5 points ahead.
Cool Down: The cool down consisted of a gentle jog around the pitch twice and then with a quick run of the width of the field at the end to help ease with the removal of lactic acid and avoid any pooling of blood. We then split and did our own individual static stretches to reduce the chances of cramps. I focused on my lower body in particular especially my quads and hamstrings because they felt very tight and heavy after the long, high intensity game.
I went in hard with the rucks and drove hard repeatedly but my body position could have been lower as I sometimes found myself not driving forward. I started off as hooker and struggled a lot in the scrums as it was starting to strain my neck and squeeze in on my ribs. We had a lot of sloppy play throughout the game with some moments of skill. We were slowing down before making tackles and so weren't as strong. When we tackled the opponents we didn't bring them down straight away and they offloaded.
I overcommitted to the rucks and I was drawn by the ball too easily and so may have left gaps in the defensive line. I didn't hook fast enough when the ball came in and I started off hooking with my left foot instead off my right and began to struggle. We were not going up as a line and when we were attacking; our lines were not deep but usually flat. The backs were being too drawn into the breakdowns and so when the scrum half was to pass he didn't have many choices. We didn't support the ball runner enough and at times when the ball carrier went to ground, he found himself isolated.
My ribs were hurting a lot due to the squeeze from the props and as the game progressed it grew more painful and it was affecting my game. I didn't want to go to ground as much because it would cause pressure on my ribs. Our forwards were bigger than their forwards but we were getting constantly beaten because their forwards were more athletic and in better shape than ours. Near the end of the game some of us began to tire, especially the forwards as our scrums grew weaker in power.
I was in the right mind set throughout the game and apart from the scrums I was entirely focused on my surroundings and where the ball was travelling.