A bitterly cold day with the main pitch frozen out of use, fog, a two week break and not everyone available due to holidays and injuries – not great omens for only our second 15-a-side game, and without an opportunity to work on the scrummaging issues from our previous game, and further with literally half the pack playing in new positions for them, we could have been forgiven for anticipating a tough game. But instead, we were treated to the best game of the season. The scrum held up very nicely, and at times was dominant; we had the best of the breakdowns, tackling was much improved, and as a result had a much better platform for the backs to play. And play they did – given the sub-zero temperatures, handling was pretty good and there was some good probing attacking, leading to three excellent tries from Os, Will and Luke, two converted by Max and Luke. We came mighty close on other occasions, too, only for cold hands or the wrong decision to leave us just short. And in the face of that, Leicester’s opportunism paid off for them – somewhat against the run of play, they managed to snatch victory by 24 points to 19, all their tries as a result of things not quite coming off for us.
So yes, there are still some aspects to work on – technical issues around scrummaging, decision making, and tackling once past the first defender, but this was a very good team performance and very encouraging.