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Trelleborg Rugby Festival 2009

by Nigel — published on August 25th, 2009

Clichés and Shakespearian quotes are not the way to start this résumé.

This has been our, so far, toughest tournament; previously unknown opposition and many inexperienced Red Saints. Far too many experienced players that have missed training, and all this leading to a team, lacking fitness, previous match-experience and confidence. In many areas and aspects we had hope and glory, but all too often we had as many moments of lack of concentration, dereliction of duty, no communication, and to a certain degree – chaos. When we were good, we were inspirational – but when we were not, we were an easy target. I feel that in all of our matches each individual did his best; but it is not individuals who win matches. It is the best team that wins, and not the best group of individuals. Did we tackle well? – 90%. Did we pass and distribute well? – 90%. Did we communicate well? – 50%. Did we use all our training techniques? – 75%. A 76% average does not produce the best results. The answer to this is – more match experience, the highest possible (100%) turn-out at training and better communication.


As tournaments go, this was not the best organized. Poor information, hard, dry and badly laid-out pitches, questionable morals when putting together pooled teams (we have never, nor will ever, be guilty of this).


Keeping alert at a tournament is of great importance, so it is vital to be on the go as much as possible. Considering the amount of games we played, and those I refereed, I was more active than the team – not a good combination.


However! (And here comes the only cliché) when the going gets tough – the tough gets going! When we entered our last match, out of fifteen men we had five men injured, and despite their desire to play, it would not have been right to ask them to do so. As a man of rugby (36 years experience) where do our Red Saints squad get their bravery? Richard, Guy and myself had to rethink our whole strategy with the totally imbalanced number of forwards – backs – and new team members. For us as trainers, parents that were watching, and most of all the men on the pitch, this was the last straw! Everything was against us! After talking to our only available team of would-be victims, these brave few took up their positions for the task ahead. What I am about to tell you, you would not believe, if you were not there. The match started – and every single Red Saint man seemed to be possessed with a lion’s heart. They had a look in their eyes of “who dares wins” (the motto of the most elite fighting force in the world, The British Special Air Service), but this is a new S.A.S. – “SAINTS ARE SAINTS”.


It was as if somebody turned on a light in these men, and not only those ten men out there in the front-line, but our wounded and frustrated five casualties on the side-line as well. Finally everything started to work. Like a new engine, after miss-firing early on, all of a sudden everything started to work. The forwards and the backs started to fight together against the enemy. These few, these brave few, an inspiration – to each other – to the crowd – and to their fallen brothers in arms. Wounded men limped and scurried away to fetch their boots and their gum-shields. “Put me on, put me on! I might only manage a few minutes, but I swear I’ll give 100%!”. By half-time five tries had been fought for and won. Adrenalin, testosterone – and a huge portion of estrogen from the moms, was flowing like the Niagara Falls. Past mistakes and injuries were now put aside! The second half!! With sweat running, blood dripping, limbs aching and recent injuries hurting, our warrior Saints re-entered the killing-field. Once again dubious and un-announced new players from the opposition came and left the battle ground. It did not matter. Our Saints were ready to take on anything, everything and everybody. This was to be our finest moment, everything worked. Our loose-play was fantastic, the support was 100%, the handling was something from the All-Blacks, the communication was something from the English, the bravery and tackling was from the Scottish – the best result – Sweden’s one and only Bromma Red Saints U15. Every man on that pitch did himself, his team-mates, his club, his parents and the game of rugby proud. I don’t think Cecilia was the only one to have a lump in her throat and to shed a tear when the final whistle blew; 75 – 0. This is what happens, when “the right stuff” do “the right stuff”!


Thank you all for a wonderful, fantastic weekend. A very special thank you to all you parents who were, for all the support, help, massages, bandaging, fetching water, packing, carring and driving back and forth. We couldn’t have done it without you!


Sincerely yours,

Nigel J.P. Matthews

Uppdaterad: 06 NOV 2009 01:10 Skribent: Cecilia Matthews

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