Rugby Turnier Citta di Rovato (Italien) U14
12. und 13. Mai 2018


Bericht: Gennaro de Lucia
A week after the triangular tournament in Trento, see earlier report, we were heading back to Italy again! This time to Rovato (BS), a bit further and for the whole weekend. We left early Saturday morning with the usual transportation means: 2 vans and a couple of private cars, driven by parents. Some of them took advantage of the bridging day and made a long weekend out of the trip.
We arrived after approx. 5+ hours. Waiting for us, in addition to the families already on location, there were hundreds of boys and girls of all age categories, coming from many Italian regions and accompanied by the respective families. To give the tournament an international taste, together with the U14 of the München RFC, there was also a large representation of the Brno Rugby Club (CZ). To give an idea of the size of the tournament, 20 teams in the U14 age group, alone, had signed up! The boys had also a nice surprise: Giacomo, who now lives a few kilometres away, between Rovato and Milan, spent the Saturday with us.
With a slight delay, due to the referees, the qualification rounds started at around 15h00. We were in the group A with other 4 Italian teams, Parabiago, Florentia, Saints and Rovato 2. The first match the MRFC played was against Parabiago. They showed immediately their superiority, which was definitely not only due to the size of their players. The Italian team was much more disciplined, technically more experienced, tackling without failing and more concentrated. Their attacks were well organised and their defence very strong. In spite of some good attempts to score a and some good game phases from our young Lion, the final result was Parabiago 19, MRFC 0. We should not be too disappointed, if we consider that Parabiago ended up third in the overall U14 ranking.
Approximately 25 minutes later, the MRFC got back on the pitch to play against Florentia. We saw a similar game as in the first one. Our U14 boys seemed unable to break the lines of the more experienced opponents. Also the physical conditions of some of our players started to show some defection, the tackling was scarce and the Florentia managed to put the ball three times behind our line. With no conversion realised, the end score was Florentia 15, MRFC 0.
Some signs of despair and resignation started to appear on the boys’ faces, including trainer, managers and accompanying adults. But rugby is also about not giving up, so we went into the third match with the intention to do better. Our opponents were the Saints, a rugby team from Milan surroundings. These opponents were closer to our level and, in spite of being the third match of the qualification round, the MRFC Lion’s cubs started the game with a bit more assertiveness. The rucks were more powerful and we won a few of them. They passed the ball more securely and, consequently, we advanced better and the backs' line was more active. We scored an early try with Timo, which Basile did not convert. Later on in the game, he made up for it by scoring another try, himself. Though, again with no conversion. Towards the end of the match, the Saints scored one try, bringing the final score to Saints 5, MRFC 10.
We were now at the last match of the day. After the previous victory, the team was in a better mood and had gained some self-confidence back. Our opponents, the second U14 team from Rovato rugby, started strongly, but our Lions resisted well and countered even better. So well, that at around half playing time, after winning a ruck at midfield, the ball came out and was passed on to the backs, it got to Timo, who in his usual style cut through Rovato2 lines and deposited the ball right between the posts. This time, Tane went for the conversion and succeeded. Rovato2 was not going to stand and do nothing, after all they were playing at home and did not want to make it too easy for us. So, few minutes later, they managed to score a try, but no conversion. Stand, at 5 minutes to the end, 7-5 for the MRFC. At that moment, something happened. A few key players were substituted and Rovato2 found it easier to play, with less overall opposition to play against. Two minutes to the end of the match, after having gained the ball due to a missed pass by our back line, Rovato2 advanced to our 5-metre line and was stopped to touche at the very last moment. The MRFC lost the line-out and Rovato2 could easily pass our defences and score their second try. Even without conversion, Rovato2 was now leading 10 to 7! With no time left, our boys did not manage to catch up and we experienced the third loss of the day. We ended up the qualification rounds as worst 4th team of all groups and the Sunday we had to compete for the 16th - 20th place.
After a (short, for some) night spent on the Garda lake shores, we arrived at approx. 10.00h at the ground, in Gussago, another location a few kilometres away from Rovato. We found out that we would have had to play only three matches, because one team would be absent. Our first match was scheduled for 10.30, against Villorba. It turned out to be a very balanced match. The Lions were determined to give their best for the day. Villorba proved to be a strong opponent and after a strenuous 20-minute game with alternating chances, good attacks and effective defences, the final score was MRFC 5, Villorba 5. No conversions from both sides. For the Lions, Timo scored and Tane missed the conversion.
Twenty-five minutes pause and the next match for our team was on. We met once again the Saints, who ended 5th othen previous day in our group. The Lion's cubs were intentioned to bring home some victories, today. After a convincing start in the game, the tries arrived. A beautiful pass from a scrum reached Connor, who run forwards and before being tackled at the opponent’s 5-metre line, he offloaded the ball to Adam who could finish off the action uncontested, depositing the ball behind the try line, between the posts. Tane easily converted. This was just the prelude to the end result: MRFC 26, Saints 0. The other three tries were scored by Connor, Fynn and Timo. Two of them were converted by Tane and Adam.
Another 30 minutes waiting and we were up for our last match of the tournament, against Valcamonica. The boys were now on a roll and, in spite of “undisciplined” role positioning by some of the Lions and clear signs of tiredness for the short night sleep (by some others!), the whole team paid much more attention to the game. Rucks, scrums, supporting each other and passing well were much more consistent. Also the tackling became more effective. Timo, Daniel and Orlando scored three beautiful tries, two of them were brilliantly converted by Basile, who found his “kick” again! Final score, Valcamonica 0, MRFC 19.
At the end, all the teams gathered in Rovato for the closing ceremony. It was amazing to see thousand(s) of rugby enthusiasts in such a relatively small place.
Overall, we ended 16th, together with Villorba. I do not think to be wrong if I say that it was a beautiful experience for the MRFC Lion's cubs. It has given them the opportunity to realise how rugby can (should) be played. It was also a reality check with respect to the 7s tournaments in Bavaria. There is a lot to improve before the German championship, in about 4-week time. The trainers, managers and the players themselves have been made much aware of the gap to fill. The weeks to come will have to be used to make, at least, something of that gap up. Tackling, supporting each other, assertiveness and tactics will have to be addressed. It is of vital importance that the MRFC continues to invest in this experiences for its “cubs”, if it wants to set up the foundations for future in-house bred rugby champions.
A big thank to the U14 boys, Pablo, Marco, Martin, Aidan, Silvia, Rita and Phillip (Biess) for their support and help during the whole weekend. 

Trainer: Pablo Puyalto
Manager: Marco Tarquini, Gennaro De Lucia

Mannschaftsaufstellung MRFC:
Leon Petry, Anton Eldracher, Chris Riedmeyr, Philipp Eissner, Ben Biess, Daragh Doyle, Giorgio Lombardi, Basile de Froissard de Broissia, Eudes Vermersch, Tane Varchmin, Orlando Tarquini, Eliseo Tarquini, Adam Lauvergne, Connor De Lucia, Timo Bode, Daniel Cunney, Fynn Khiari, Jérémie Kerschensteiner, Lucas Delord, Darius Bosworth (RFC Bad Reichenhall).

München RFC - Parabiago: 0:19
München RFC - Florentina: 0:15
München RFC - Saints: 10:5 (Tries: Timo Bode, Basile de Broissia) 
München RFC - Rovato II: 10:7 (Try: Timo Bode, Conversion: Tane Varchmin)
München RFC - Villorba: 5:5 (Tries: Timo Bode)
München RFC - Saints: 26:0 (Tries: Adam Lauvergne, Connor De Lucia, Fynn Khiari, Timo Bode; Conversions: Adam Lauvergne, Tane Varchmin 2x)
München RFC - Valcamonica: 19:0 (Tries: Timo Bode, Daniel Cunney, Orlando Tarquini; Conversions: Basile de Broissia 2x)