The friendliest friendly! Due to the current Covid-conditions, our match against SG Siemensstadt / Brandenburg on Saturday 24.10. got cancelled (possibly rescheduled, like several matches of the Bundesliga Nordost and the Regio Cup on 17.10. and 10.10.) so thanks to the efforts of our coaches and team managers, we got together with Grizzly-Bruiser players to play a friendly match amongst ourselves!

We are just short of a lockdown in Berlin, there are rules and limitations for people in public spaces (sport was not too widely effected yet), so we weren´t able to make this a big event with lots of friends and supporters, and, of course, it had to be done according to the hygiene-regulations.

Anyway, it turned out to be a fantastic `training-game´! Coach Mike set up 2 teams of 12 players consisting of a well-balanced mix of experienced players and newbies, one team in Grizzly- the other in Bruiser-colours.

A very dynamic match from the very beginning on a perfect, sunny autumn-day, lots of phases, lots of turnovers from one team to the other, lots of scrums and line-outs. A game which really did show the skills of some quality players, which revealed things that need to be worked on, but also granted the chance of real-match experience to new players in very friendly way (Eric in his first rugby-match ever)! 

The “Bruiser-colours”, led by captain Micha, received a pounding at first with a couple of quick tries from the “Grizzly-colours” (Mike, Ruvan, this team´s captain). But once they settled down their nervousness and quit discussing among themselves, they proved to be standing quite firm in the defence, and actually – in my impression – built their offence, coordination of phases and passing the ball in a more focused way than the “Grizzly-colours”. On the downside: not much momentum going forward, too much hesitating and waiting for the ball. A few fantastic runs from the backs in this “Bruisers”-team though, players who used the gaps and raced across the pitch to try (Jasper, John, Cruz)! 

The “Grizzly-colours” had a slight advantage of being heavier and more physical, it seemed to me, and they used that to frequently push the “Bruisers” into their half of the pitch. And they had Laurien, who was instoppable and scored 3 tries in the 2nd half! 

Still the “Bruiser-colours” never gave up, showed endurance and worked their way to more tries (Cruz 2, who has only played a couple of matches! Fred 2, Matty and Alex M. 1 each).

Some prime action here due to complementary players making experienced partnerships, John and Nick on one, and Alex and Ruvan on the other side (respectively playing 9 and 10), always in the centre of focus, with powerful runs, attacks on rucks and tackles!

The match maybe didn´t have the ambition and aggression of a `real´ league-match (with uncontested scrums due to the smaller number of experienced forwards), but it certainly was rugby at it´s best! There were no serious injuries, few penalties, BUT there was one yellow card: coach Mike, out of all players, who hug-tackled little Brent by the shoulders – I am sure they had the opportunity to discuss it in depth later! Everyone really enjoyed it! The result really didn´t matter here – but for the record: “Bruiser-colours” 57-41 “Grizzly-colours”.

There was no appointing of “man of the match”, but alternatively I would like to give it to everyone who made an effort and came out to play!

And a special thanks goes to Martin who supported as referee, and so made it feel `real´! 

The winter is coming and this might have been our last rugby-match for months to come! Our people in charge are trying to work out a training schedule for the weeks ahead (Indoor training? Social (tag-) training on Tempelhofer Feld on Sundays and there will be a fitness zoom meeting on several days – until further notice).

It was the strangest rugby season, but nevertheless a great experience with excellent effort from all the players with our new coach, and a rocking team spirit across the lines between the different levels and teams of the Berlin Grizzlies and the Berlin Bruisers!

Stay safe and healthy everyone and watch out for more to come! 

Erik Kenny

(The displayed article represents the opinion of the respective author / authors and does not necessarily represent the position of Berlin Bruisers e. V.)