Flicks, spits, chips and Osborne’s devotion to minimalism
Bay Street @ Toronto Dragons
Sept 11, 2021
Saturday’s match against the Dragon’s featured an animalistic role reversal for the ages, in which a pig ‘roasted’ a dragon, rather than being forced on the spit. A very solid debut following two years of COVID hibernation. The final tally was a cheeky and undoubtedly subconscious 69 for the Pigs, and 11 for the Dragons.
The ever reliable service of #9 Chris Lor enabled the backs to use the width of the field effectively. However no long passes or drifting attacks were needed for the first try of the day, as #10 Mario Van Der Westhuizen took on his opposite number and burst through for an impressive start to his Pigs career.
Throughout the first half our scrums were solid and coach Graham O’Neill gave a rare smile, with the realization that the club has a plethora of new talent in the tighthead position. Chris Scollard took control of the scrum for the first 30 mins, then fellow Irishman Ryan Convery continued the trend.
After seeing veterans Dave Reilly and Taylor Nash repeatedly make impressive line breaks, another debutant in #15 Julian Crowe caught on to the style and pace of the game, scoring two tries and showing some great running lines and footwork in doing so.
Nash however, was a clear ‘best on ground’ in the first 40 mins. He bagged his second try of the day on the stroke of halftime, as the scoreline read 48-3.
In the second half, the poor Dragons, with less ‘subs’ than the Armenian navy, were left gasping for breath as the Pigs brought fresh blood onto the pitch. That unfortunately meant a lack of familiarity between some of our players, and attacking opportunities became less frequent.
Ibrahim Zylstra came on at #10 and orchestrated some impressive plays. The obvious winner here was Geoff Osborne, who scored a double in quick succession - his only two touches of the ball.
Apart from a daring ‘through the legs’ flick pass Josh Weaver used in the first half to set up a Marcel Wang try, the champagne rugby we had all waited two years for, finally presented itself in the 75th minute. Frenchman Adrien Lacombe won a turnover near the halfway line and the ball was quickly sent out to the left wing. Tom Mathews looked surprisingly comfortable with ball in hand and plenty of space to run. He chipped over the fullback, cleverly toed the ball ahead a second time, then wisely let the younger guys race through to score our final try of the day.
A few minor aches or strains, but fortunately no serious injuries after such a long absence from the pitch. Nomads and Fergus at Sunnybrook next week, in two exhibition fixtures.