Southwark Lancers bank bonus point against RBS
Promotion hopes bolstered by eight-try walkover
By Daniel Nolan
(1 Dec, Burgess Park)
Southwark Lancers coach Joe Brace credited ‘our most complete performance of the season’ this Saturday, as a storming 61-5 victory over Royal Bank of Scotland RFC banked them a bonus point, to solidify a third place spot in the league table.
After last week’s away loss to league leaders Ashford, Lancers were keen to reaffirm their position towards the top of the Shepherd Neame Kent 1 division.
The match began as a close contest, with a bulky RBS squad showing a strong defensive effort in the opening stages. The deadlock broke after 10 minutes, with Southwark switching on some fast passing to put their fly half in under the posts for a converted try - quickly followed by another, as their half-back skilfully nudged the ball along at-foot for a 12-0 lead.
The newly-promoted visitors notched up their only points of the game shortly after, tucking in a try around the corner of the Southwark defence after a ruck to recover to 12-5, but conceded only three minutes later after some dextrous Lancers passing forced RBS into an error in the tackle, for a penalty try under the posts.
RBS would miss an optimistic penalty kick before the half, before Lancers returned with an onslaught. As Brace noted after the game: ‘our line speed in defence was superb, and in attack we starved them of the ball for long periods - which then allowed us to run in 4 tries late in the game against a tired defence’. Lancers twice hit from the wing, with Ruairi Hourihane scoring and then assisting to run the score quickly up to 33-5. Lancers were patient in going through the phases after receiving the ball back, and pushed over the try line again for a 40-5 lead – sealing a crucial bonus point.
Reflecting on this late period, Coach Brace complemented back rows Gus Woolley and Israel Sotonawa for their ‘immense’ performance, while noting that Oliver Mooney and James Hughes ‘controlled the game in the middle of the park superbly’. Another converted try, on a solo run from the halfway line at the 60-minute mark had Lancers baying for blood, and they barely missed out on another - before turning the ball over within the opponents’ 22 metre line to push for another try and a 54-3 lead.
Lancers capped off the scoring with a final try after more inspired passing two minutes later, sealing an impressive 61-5 win in front of a delighted Burgess Park crowd.
Lancers face fellow promotion contenders HSBC away next week, before capping-off their pre-Christmas fixtures against fourth-placed King's College Hospital at Burgess Park on 15 December. Coach Brace was keen to keep the momentum going: ‘There is still more to come from this side and we are looking to get 2 more bonus point wins before the Christmas break, to put us right in the mix for promotion next season’.