Berlin, 20.05. und 21.05.2017


Bericht: Gennaro de Lucia
Antoine Miguet, David Clegg
Martin Kerschensteiner, Gennaro de Lucia
Mannschaftsaufstellung MRFC: Quentin Moughty,  Noah Eiselt, Alexis Kerschensteiner, Orlando Tarquini, Eliseo Tarquini, Giorgio Lombardi, Christian Pearce, Esther Pearce, Giorgio Delli Colli, Philipp Eiβner, Connor De Lucia, Bruno Zamola, Eudes Vermersch, Timoté Dupuis, Basile de Broissia

What an experience! These were the most heard words describing the whole event and the participation of the München RFC team in the U12 German Championship in Berlin. The beautiful experience was also due to the excellent organisation and hospitality of the Berliner RK 03. But let’s start from the beginning. This was the U12 German Championship; hence, the report is not going to be a short one!
On Friday afternoon, 19.05.17, amidst a rain and hail downpour of which we haven’t seen the like for many, many years, the four cars and vans, plus train travellers forming the MRFC contingent left Munich in direction due-north. The downpours continued during the whole journey and slowed us down quite a bit (sometimes it felt as if we were “driving” a submarine, instead of a car!). However, around midnight the whole group, except for David (his flight had been cancelled), arrived safe and sound at the hostel. It took a while to get everyone into bed, but as soon as our heads touched the pillow, away we were.
After a good night sleep and a fortifying breakfast (David took the first flight and joined us), we set off to the pitch and arrived there well in time before the opening ceremony started. We knew already our schedule for the group stage and that the first match would have been against the Heidelberger RK, one amongst the top U12 teams. That knowledge did not impress our players, who started very strongly, bringing on attack after attack and putting the very good defence of the HRK under serious pressure. Shortly before half-time the MRFC efforts paid off and Quentin, grabbing a ball out of a ruck, scored the first try of the match, in our favour! The second half saw a similar pattern as the first half, with the MRFC Lions pushing forward and defending very well against the well-orchestrated attacks of a strong and well-organised opponent. Unfortunately (for us), the HRK managed to score an equaliser at the very last second of the match. A draw left all options still open for the group stage. Our goal was to qualify for the quarter finals.
 The second match was against the Berliner SV. This was a relatively easy game, with the MRFC players putting effectively into practice what they learned during the season. The rucks were quickly formed and the balls were quickly passed on to the next team mate. The opponent’s defence lacked some quick response. The combination of Connor and Basile can be very dooming for some opponents. In 16 minutes overall match time, the MRFC managed to score nine tries. That is a try every 1.8 minutes, conceding only one. At that point, the morale was very high amongst our boys and girl .. not to speak of the accompanying adults! We were one step closer to the top of the group.
In the third and last group stage match, the MRFC met the team of Victoria Linden from Hannover. Once again, the MRFC Lions proved that, when they play concentrated, tackle and pass the ball there are very few teams they cannot beat. Supported by the rest of the team, Connor made best use of his relative physical strength and good skills and he managed to score three tries. Basile and Eliseo completed the score board and we finished the match 25 to 10. The first place in the group stage and a place in the quarter finals were ours!
David and Gennaro, who kept sketching the team composition and considering possible replacements at the beginning of each match, now, they were already thinking whether we should save some strength for next day. But we had reached the quarter finals and if we wanted to enter the group of the top four, we had to win again. The boys and girl would have not had it any other way, either!
The quarter final match was against another Berlin club: the RK03. We had already met this team at last year U12 championship and we saw them recently at the Rugby Youth Festival in Frankfurt. We knew what to expect. Fortunately, the achievements of the past three games did not spill into over-confidence. The MRFC Lions played very professionally. At times, we had the impression to see older and more experienced players. It was a joy watching them. Connor (4x), Alexis (2) and Basile stormed repeatedly the opponents and secured 35:10 one place in the semi-final for the MRFC! They received a lot of compliments from trainers and managers of other teams. One of them said: “finally and deservedly, we have a different team in the top four”.
Excitement at this point was sky high in the whole group. The WhatsApp group was also on fire. The parents and supporters from the other MRFC teams were kept constantly informed by Jean. Pictures, videos and texting ran havoc. We returned tired (the players) and exhausted (the adults) at the hostel, knowing that, next day, the first match would have been against number the number team in Germany in the age category. The reigning U12 champions of the SC 1880 Frankfurt.
On Sunday morning, we packed our bags into the cars and vans and left the hostel at around 09h00. The tension was palpable. Once arrived at the pitch, we started getting ready for the big match. Basically, it was like a final. The game against Frankfurt started at 10h45. The opponents immediately set the tone and after a few minutes they were leading by 10:0. Their technical skills and experience was clearly superior to ours. They were fast, strong and mistake-less. Our MRFC Lions tried everything to slow down the relentless attacks and were warned a couple of times by the referee for high tackle and/or minor fouls. Unfortunately, during this match we got our only yellow card. Connor was sent off for a high tackle he did not commit, that time. The referee exchanged him with another player of our team. By then, Timoté had already been replaced due to an injured foot. Later on during the match, also Basile had to be replaced for a very sore back as a consequence of a ruck action. In the end, Frankfurt scored 12 tries and we none. Timoté and Basile were taken to the hospital with the ambulance to check their injuries and the rest of the team prepared themselves to play for the third place.
Our opponent for the third place was another Berlin team: the Berliner RC. Definitely, they turned to be the strongest of the Berlin teams we had met, during the championship.. Nevertheless, our Lions were intentioned to finish third and, in spite of the absent Basile and Timoté, the group started by scoring first (Connor again). But the BRC players were not going to let go easily and, due to two silly defence mistakes, they caught us up and went leading by 05:10. Luckily, at the end of the first half the score was 10:10, as Alexis managed to equalise. The match went on like this until the end of regular time, with the Lions and the Berlin bears scoring another two tries each: 20:20 at the end of the second half. Extra times (2x 3 minutes) were about to start with the rule of the “golden try”, i.e. first to score, wins. And that happened, too; the MRFC Lions scored a try, but the referee (the same one of the previous “yellow card” against Frankfurt), decided to disallow it and, instead, gave a scrum in favour of the MRFC for a knock-on ball by the Berliner RC. That was it. The match ended 20:20 and the MRFC Lions arrived fourth in the championship because of a “yellow card” difference. By then, Basile and Timoté had also returned from their visit to the hospital without serious consequences from their injuries. A bandaged foot for Timoté and one week rest for Basile.
This was the best achievement of a U12 MRFC team, ever! The boys and girl showed professionalism, readiness to play beyond their ability and an extremely beautiful sense of team spirit. They supported each other without reserve. It has been an honour to accompany them in this adventure. Well done, MRFC team of the 2017 U12 Deutsche Meisterschaft.
Martin and I would like to thank personally our trainers, David and Antoine, for having brought the team to such a level. Another thank you goes to our “reporters”, Jean and Graham, who commented and reported live all the matches in WhatsApp, including sending videos and photos! It was very much appreciated by everyone.  A big thank also to the other accompanying adults: Fernando, Marco, Christian, Silvia and Roya who helped out the kids during the breaks and provided them with good and healthy snacks. How can we forget Philipp, our physiotherapist? He had a lot to do and not only with injured players, isn’t it Philipp? ;-). Last, but not least we want to thank also the players, who stayed at home and the entire MRFC community for their support during the whole championship.

München RFC : Heidelberger RK: 5:5 (Try: Quentin Moughty)
Berliner SV : München RFC: 05:45 (Tries: Connor De Lucia 3x, Basile de Broissia 2x, Quentin Moughty, Orlando Tarquini, Eliseo Tarquini, Bruno Zamola)
TSV Victoria Linden : München RFC: 10:25 (Tries: Connor De Lucia 3x, Eliseo Tarquini, Basile de Broissia)
SC 1880 Frankfurt : München RFC: 60:0
Spiel um Platz 3:
München RFC : Berliner RC: 20:20 n.V. (MRFC 4. Platz wegen einer gelben Karte)