A VERY special Rugby day in so many ways: a sunny September day, brilliant Rugby conditions, the first Rugby match for the SG (Spielgemeinschaft Berlin Bruisers / Berlin Grizzlies) after a VERY LONG Corona break. And, on top of that, a kind of return match against the Berlin Irish (a “friendly” actually, before an improvised regional league will start next weekend!) 10 MONTHS after our last match against them in November of 2019, before the long break!

The excitement was in the air, there were lots of new faces in both teams (beside a few `old boys´, who already played last year: the legendary Kit for the Irish, John, Tristan, Keven in our team), and there were health and hygiene measures in place: no changing rooms and showers, no hugging and mingling with audience, personalised water-bottles…

Just as well the excitement was in the match, intense from the very beginning! The SG-team did great, they presented solid Rugby, great defence, good aggression in offence, scrums, pods and phases which worked very well according to the training plan (we don´t mention occasional dropped passes and knock-ons here 😉 and, as coach Mike put it, a very positive energy within the team! The result being 1 try by the Irish, who were able to escape from our line with fast backs (including the conversion), and 1 try for the SG (by Jed) in the 1st half as a result of the pressure and the good work by the forwards!

But (there´s always a but…) things slowed down a little bit in the 2nd half. There were still great efforts and opportunities, 2 almost-tries (an unbeatable run by Cruz, who was stopped by the ref´s whistle for some minor penalty), and in spite of their fantastic energy the SG was not able to push the match into the Irish half of the pitch often enough. At times the team was a bit too quiet and a bit too hesitant about running into and showing hunger for the ball, which resulted into not making any meters. Tackling was an issue…

And so it happened that the Irish, who seemed to be very nervous in the beginning, discussing a lot among themselves, woke up and showed more fitness in the last part of the match – once again with fast runners bursting through gaps on the sides and scoring another 2 tries – final result: 17-5.

Still, not only the SG, but also independent observers said: the result did not reflect the quality of the Bruisers / Grizzlies play, there should have been more points… In any case, a very good, hard fought, but very fair match (the Irish applying for being our favourite opponents 🙂 Not many penalties, no major injuries – coach and players can be extremely proud of what they achieved on Sunday!

We need to do a few special mentions here:

Many thanks to our new coaches Mike and Jed for great support by playing with the team themselves (Jed playing his 2nd match this weekend after the rough 1st Bundesliga-match against RK03 on Saturday)!

Great thanks to Jed again, and to John, Nick and Matti for being energetic, experienced and reliable, always in the right place in decisive moments!

Martin had some very powerful moments going into the rucks, and Julian some great runs forward!

Cruz and Gonzo: impressive newbies in their 1st Rugby match ever!!

More debuts: Dan, Welpe, Julian, Ronny and Manuel in their 1st match with the SG!

Please excuse if I can´t mention everyone else´s great efforts here…

On the side: each team appointed the “man of the match” of the opponent´s: the SG awarded it to Gordon, powerful Irish flanker (responsible – without intent – for the bruises on Jeds face)! And the Irish awarded it to John, playing 9 and 10 for the SG, who showed enourmous skill, energy and endurance!

Everyone who couldn’t make it missed a fantastic Rugby experience – and now knows what is expected from them in the future 😉 !

Nobody can tell what the next weeks will bring in this extraordinary situation. The SG will play the 1st match of the “inofficial” Regio Cup Pool II on the 26.09. It´s a challenge and we need to take it seriously. We want to train and we want to play, and we´re all hoping things will work out in a good and promissing way in the near future. Stay safe and healthy everyone and let´s make an effort to keep Rugby alive!!! 

Erik Kenny