Rams get Lions off on the wrong foot
Rugby: Foothills fall 29-17 to Calgary in home opener
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 06:00 am
The Foothills Lions were kicking themselves after their home opener.
In fact, it was the visiting Calgary Rams making use of their boots as they rode an aggressive kicking game to a 29-17 win over the Lions in second division play on Saturday at John Paul II Collegiate.
“They won the field position game, their field position strategy and execution was a lot better than ours and they just waited for our mistakes and capitalized,” said Lions club coach Jim Ryan. “They started off kicking right from the first three times their backs got the ball, they never got past 10, they just kicked.
“At that point we’ve go to understand that’s their game plan and adapt to it.”
Missing stalwart backs Nathan Marquardt and Dan Larson, a relatively inexperienced Lions club was forced to throw players into new positions.
The Rams took advantage.
Calgary opened the scoring minutes in when a deep kick took a friendly Rams’ bounce away from Lions full-back Reid Watkins only for the on charging Ram to pick up the ball full flight and scamper into the try zone.
Midway through the half the Rams were celebrating another score as they linked up on the right flank to make it a 12-0 game.
Sensing the contest slipping away, the Lions mounted a ferocious comeback. Club captain Spencer Watkins worked the ball near the try zone, setting up scrum-half Brandon Wight who got the Lions on the board with a short run.
“We were right by the end zone,” said Wight. “I just saw the grass right there and put her right in, about a foot in.”
Foothills punched it in again shortly after the break as Reid Watkins broke free for a meandering run and linked up with Kris Locke for a 20-yard sprint into the try zone to even the contest along with the successful convert.
From there, the Rams took full control riding a 17-0 run to put the game out of reach.
The Lions closed the contest on a high note as Wight found Spencer Watkins for a bulldozing run from five yards out.
“We have two plays for the penalty and that one went to Spencer and he’s a great player and got through a few people to take it in,” Wight said. “It’s what he does best.”
The convert from Jarrett Richardson made it a 29-17 game just seconds before the final buzzer.
“Our scrums needed work so we’re going to change our engagement calls, line outs were good, rucking was good. We just really hurt ourselves in open play,” said Ryan. “We were really trying to freelance and do too much and instead of it resulting in points for us, we were making bad fundamental mistakes and they countered that and scored a lot of points on our mistakes.
“The good thing about it is a lot of our mistakes are just fundamental stuff that we can really work on.”
Foothills (1-1) will look to get above the .500 mark this weekend and pick up its first home victory as it hosts the Calgary Saracens on Saturday at JPII. Opening kick-off is 1:45 p.m.
The Lions opened the season with a come-from-behind win over the Saracens, the top-team in the division in 2013.
For more information go to foothillslionsrugbyclub.com