SC Germania List 25 Hamburg Exiles 12
Exiles make SC Germania work for second place in season finale
The final game of the league season saw two teams meeting with completely opposite reasons to be going hard for the win. The Hamburg Exiles needed a win to stay off the bottom of the table while SC Germania were looking to secure a second place finish. With home advantage, a strong squad up for selection and the Exiles, with a long list of missing / injured, including, both Captain (Tjark Bikker) and Vice Capitan (Frederic Coumailleau), SC Germania started the game as clear favourites. However, from the opening exchanges it was clear that, the Exiles were going to give SC a game and were in Hannover for the win.
Through good work from Nils Grannemann, acting as on-field Capitan & Tom Scheffel the Exiles kept the ball rolling with pack play and when the ball went into the hands the central pairing of Olivier Chierotti and Sunia Taganekurukuru (Tag) were causing huge (and bloody fast moving) problems for the SC defence. SC Germania were looking to play strong at the turn-over and use a counter-attacking game to hurt the Exiles throughout the day and it was SC Germania who were to secure the first points making use the turn over ball to score two unanswered, but unconverted tries through a scrambled Exiles defence.
Despite SC dominance in the set-piece the Exiles were managing to secure ball and gain yards through their strong back-line. Dalmas Augustin (Gus), once again exhibiting his fine hands at number 10, drawing defenders and passing sublimely out of the back of the hand to release Tag to steam-roll through the SC on the left. Support work from the pack meant that Olivier and Tag could run good angles to make the space for Arne Köhler to making yards down the right wing. Ten yards from SC’s line the Exiles backs set up once again, but it was Colin Gilzean who made the decisive move, dashing down the blind side and powerfully carrying the desperate SC tacklers over the line with him as he put down for the try.
The game was all set up for an exciting final few minutes before half time however, while throwing himself into another ruck-tackle Tom Scheffel, came off worse than his opposition, tearing the ligaments on his ankle to such a degree to separate one side of the foot from his leg, exposing muscle and bone. The referee then blew for half-time; the Exiles sung as Tom was taken away in an ambulance and Exiles player / doctor Manfred Suhr cleared away the bits of Tom’s tissue and cartilage which had embedded themselves into the pitch.
The second half continued much as the first, with SC dominating set plays and concentrating on making ground from turn-over at the break-downs. SC used this tactic again to quickly increase their lead to 15 – 5 with another unconverted try. After this, the Exiles were actually the dominant side for 20 minutes with a huge showing from Victor de Neyrieu making (hopefully not) his last Exiles appearance. But, they just couldn’t turn the dominance into points. In the second half SC were using their tactically astute kickers, combined with strong wind to make 50 – 60 yard gains that immediately released the pressure the Exiles kept working so hard to build. Eventually, as the Exiles tiered and SC, deploying extensively from their very strong bench, managed to take control of the ball and scored an unconverted try which should have allowed them to control the game and easily see out the win.
The Exiles had too much pride to lay down though, they still wanted the bloody win and with ball in hand they were threatening and pushed up the pitch. Then, a massive break by Tag through the SC lines made thirty yards, it was eventually stopped by a bundle of four SC tacklers. SC could then do nothing when the ball was quickly recycled put through the hands to Arne on the left wing. With the corner completely open Arne could of taken the easy five points but, seven would be better for the Exiles so he stepped one SC man and almost beat the tackle of another to allow Nik Krauss an easy touch-down close enough to the posts for the seven points. The Exiles continued to apply the pressure, spending the next nine minutes camped in SC’s twenty two. SC finished the match with a move which summed up the games play, turn-over ball from a breakdown on SC’s line was kicked 60 meters down the pitch, the ensuing break led to a converted try (not officially scored) and the final whistle.