Exiles muffle the Lions roar!
Exiles couldn’t have asked for a better start to their 2014/15 campaign with an emphatic victory over newly created side Northern Lions (merger of Old
With the luxury of a massive pool of players this week and further bolstered by the arrival of a few of our British Army colleagues, Exiles were able to field an extremely strong side and confidence of victory was high from the outset. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the Lions that!
From the start, Lions sought to bring the game to Exiles looking to establish their quick running style that we recognise from the Varel and Oldenburg sides of last season. This would have been immensely effective if it wasn’t for the dogged tackling of Nik at 9, and Toss and Tag in the Centres who managed to stifle the early Lions charge. Eventually Exiles were manage to turn defence into attack and started to show some excellent effort to gain ground with the pack dominating the scrum and the backs running great lines. Unfortunately sloppy ball handling and poor rucking was making it difficult to capitalise on this dominance. Eventually Joe Vimataki tried to break the deadlock with a rather ambitious drop goal... This went hopelessly wide and was pretty much going to sum up the Exiles kicking for the rest of the game.
Luckily though, we got the ball back from the drop and following another devastating Exiles scrum Nik, who was already establishing himself well in this game, managed to break away the back of pack and run over the line... this seemed to break the lions stride and, from the restart, the ball was spun back out to the backs to Tag who was unstoppable in running in another Try.
Lions regained their composure and managed to dig in till half time without conceding again, but they rarely looked as threatening as they had in the first 15 minutes. During the first half, Exiles did suffer one blow which was the loss of Big Phil at 2nd row who was forced to come off with a knee injury. This made the way for Makeze to come on and get his debut at front row (and allowed Tjark to drop back to his preferred 2nd row position).
Halftime substitutions saw Lennart Gizik and Augustin Dalmas come on for Toss and Basti B.
Exiles restarted the second half and following a fumbled lions catch, were awarded a lineout just outside the opposition 22. The ball went straight to the back of the line out where an Exiles was waiting to mop up. The big number 8 selected route one and steamrolled the lions defence to put score under the goals.
Try number 4 followed only a few minutes later. This time with a lovely move from the backs ending in Arne Köhler making a straight line down the wing to score in the corner.
Lions sought to regain some composure after this with their 9 and 10 linking well and their pack ever present at the break down. Indeed the Exiles lack of fitness was starting to show and it wasn't long before the lions were able to punish this with a well worked try and conversion.
Some much needed substitutions for Exiles with Colin Gilzean coming on for Richard Buchanan and Mat Senivota replacing Phil Winter...
This had an immediate impact for Exiles with the Fijian picking up the ball at 15 and showing unbelievable turn of pace to run the entire length of the pitch and get try number 5 for the Exiles.
This seemed to cause a bit of competition in the Fijians as Joe Vimataki picked up the ball in our own 22 and tried to do something similar, unfortunately he was caught in the opposition 22 and had to offload to Nik Krauß who managed to resist the white line fever and offload to Ratu for the try.
Exiles were getting complacent at this point and the lions had no intention of throwing in the towel. This determination was rewarded with a well worked try from their backs in the 80th minute.
People would have been forgiven for thinking it was all over at this point but the ref decided there was time for one more play and Exiles managed to screw the nut but the forwards battling up the park, recycling well before Nik eventually released Lennart who powered over the line for the final points of the game.