Sluggish Lions lament lost game
Rugby: Foothills falls 12-7 to Red Deer Titans
By: Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 06:00 am
The more a team sweats in practice, the less it bleeds in battle.
The Foothills Lions let a lackluster week in training bleed over into game action as it dropped a 12-7 result to the previously winless Red Deer Titans on Saturday at John Paul II Collegiate in Okotoks.
“We were undisciplined in practice this week, we came off a bad game and went into practice a little lackadaisical,” said Lions scrum-half Reid Watkins. “We came on the pitch and were firing on all cylinders for the first bit and then we started chatting and it turned into a social event rather than a rugby game.
“(Red Deer) plays a game that’s really relaxed, chit-chatty, like it’s everyday coffee talk and we don’t. We play a game where we’re serious, listening to each other, but we fell into what they were doing.”
The Lions were knocking on the door of points scored for the opening 20 minutes with nothing to show for it and the Titans made them pay for the missed opportunities with a swift counterattack.
Big-bodied back Brandon Gerhardt got into open-field and used a size-mismatch to his advantage, meandering 50 yards into the try zone and opening the score firmly against the run of play.
“The first half, we had a couple miscues, a couple dropped balls and if we don’t drop those balls the game was ours,” said Lions forward Jordan Smith. “If we just slowed down and thought a little bit more, I think it would have actually come together.”
Needing to rescue some momentum, the Lions had a nightmarish start to the second-half the day after Friday the 13th as Red Deer added to its lead moments after the restart.
Red Deer worked it deep and found the talismanic Gerhardt for a short-yardage try along with a successful convert to make it a 12-0 advantage for the visitors.
“It shouldn’t have affected us as much as it did,” said Smith, of the Titans’ second try. “We’ve got a bad habit, and we’re getting better at it, when things start going on the back foot we have a tendency to drop our heads a bit.
“It’s just a matter of shacking it off and going out there, and we’ll get there.”
The Lions got back on the front foot midway through the second half as Gerhardt was sent off with a yellow card for throwing punches, but couldn’t make good on the Titans shorthanded situation.
Red Deer dominated the scrums in the late stages of the contest a fact Smith took partly on his shoulders as he eases back into the prop position this season.
“It’s a new propping style, new scrumming style and I’m still learning that and scrumming against guys who are a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger than I am,” he said. “I’ll admit that I’m probably a weak point in the scrums and it was turning on my side of the scrum a little bit, but that will come.”
The Lions earned a measure of consolation as time was set to expire on the second division Calgary Rugby Union tilt.
On a line-out, Watkins caught the Titans asleep at the wheel and turned on the afterburners and executed a pair of sublime jukes to tip-toe into the try zone and finally get Foothills on the board. Jarrett Richardson added the convert to trim the deficit to 12-7 with the referee blowing the final whistle just moments later.
“They were goofing off,” Watkins said. “And me and Tyrell (Robertson) looked at each other and we thought ‘they’re not paying attention’ so he threw it to me an I marched down the sideline.
“That put a spark under everyone’s butt, we started getting serious, but we ran out of time. Another five minutes I think would have changed the outcome.”
The spirit of rugby in the foothills will be celebrated on the pitch this Saturday.
The Foothills Lions play host to their annual Festival of Rugby with several of the organizations’ divisions on display at the Holy Trinity Academy field in Okotoks.
The action kicks-off at 12:30 p.m. as the U7, U9 and U11 teams open proceedings followed by the U13 and U15 Lions at 2:30 p.m. The men take over at 4:30 p.m. as the second division Lions eye revenge when they square off with Lethbridge Rugby Club.
There will be a BBQ on-site along with Menchies Ice Cream. Proceeds from the festival go towards the Foothills Lions Rugby Club.
For more information go to foothillslionsrugbyclub.com