Engine room fuels Lions to rout
Rugby: Foothills doubles up Lethbridge 48-24 in impressive performance
By: Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 02:43 pm
A pack mentality has the Lions back on track.
The Foothills Lions ferociously doubled up on the visiting Lethbridge Rugby Club by a 48-24 score to cap off the club’s Festival of Rugby in fine form on Saturday at Holy Trinity Academy in Okotoks.
“It was all teamwork,” said Lion Nathan Marquardt.
“We were supporting the ball carrier, we were tackling low, we weren’t committing too many to rucks. Rather than committing to rucks we would stop and play defence, play the tackle, play the ball.
“We were trusting each other, trusting our inside and outside man. It all came together really nicely as a defensive unit and the offence came from there.”
The cohesive effort couldn’t have occurred at a better time as the Lions were hungry to make up for consecutive losses including a 24-10 defeat to Lethbridge a fortnight prior.
“The last two games we’ve done fine in the open play, but we were really struggling in the scrum,” said Lions club coach Jim Ryan. “At training, both Tuesday and Thursday, we really concentrated the forwards on the set piece and that paid dividends.
“Not only did we keep our own ball and set a good platform, but we stole five or six of their scrums as well which is huge.”
The Lions were forced to shuffle the deck with a pair of late absences, putting Marquardt back at scrum-half and Jordan Smith at his old position of No. 8.
What’s old was new again for the veteran pair.
“It was last minute, but that’s where I started with this club and I basically had to go back to my basics of rugby and that’s kind of what this game was about for us anyways,” Marquardt said. “It’s nice having Jordy as my 8, we have great chemistry, that helped a lot.”
The duo combined to help create a brilliant support try as Smith fed Marquardt, who dished it to Jarrett Richardson then to James Hanna with Blake Barnert getting the final touch before diving in for a brilliant piece of teamwork. Coach Ryan labelled the score as the nicest try he’s witnessed since taking over on the Lions’ sidelines prior to the 2013 season.
“That’s actually an older play, me and Jordy that was our bread and butter when we were 9 and 8,” said Marquardt. “After that it was just feed the man, lock the defender and hands out. It’s simple rugby, but it worked to perfection.
“Even in a game where you’re having a good team game like this, (a team try) inflates all the tires and everyone forgets about the negatives.”
Foothills would also receive second-half trys from Richardson, captain Spencer Watkins and contact-hungry forward Tyrell Robertson to round out the scoring.
The 24-point triumph, easily Foothills’ best performance of the season, brought the Lions back to the .500 mark with a record of 3-3.
“We’ve really made an effort to work on our evasive running and handling and keeping it open and that’s really been good the last few weeks,” Ryan said. “If we put that together with a lot better effort on the set piece, it’s really coming around. I’m very pleased with the effort.
“It’s unfortunate we’ve got a two-week break now, but we’ve got to hope guys come to training and keep building on it and come raring to go after the break.”
The Lions won’t play fifteens rugby again until July 12 versus the Calgary Saints. The weekend prior Foothills will field a side at the Stampede Sevens tournament at the Calgary Rugby Union on July 4-5.
For more information on the Lions visit foothillslionsrugbyclub.com