Zug RC qualifies for playoffs NLB

 As a number of backs were MIA, Zug took a forwards-dominated squad to Solothurn for what is always a tough game. With RUZ in top spot, Zug needed a couple of points to make sure of 2nd place and a spot in the play-off for promotion to League B.
Solothurn started well, as always quick to the breakdown and technically strong in rucking. Zug on the other hand started tentatively, only to be expected with so many playing out of position. On a hot June day in central Switzerland, Zug made a few handling errors and gave the early initiative to the home team. Further disruptions came early with Breon and Joel both hobbling off injured in the first 10 minutes to be replaced by Schiavo and Seb Suter (on the wing!). Three ‘experienced’ subs looked on nervously from the sidelines, trying to work out the energy required for a long run out at 30C, and quickly coming to the conclusion that this energy no longer exists.
Solothurn took advantage of the temporary confusion to draw first blood with a long-range penalty after Zug were pinged for handling in the ruck, or some other heinous crime. This seemed to spur Zug into action and after a number of forward drives, the ball was spun out wide for forester-prop-centre Roman to fall over the line and score (his words, not mine, I just roughly translated). Returning full-back Tim Atkins showed what a few years of Aussie Rules can do, and slotted over the difficult conversion. Zug came close to adding a second try on the stroke of half-time but were held up over the try line and the ref blew the whistle. Time for a well-earned break and refreshment.
The coaching team made a tactical switch at half-time, moving ‘Big Bear’ to inside centre with the brief to run straight and hard – so this is indeed what he proceeded to do. Zug took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second-half and despite valiant Solothurn defending, controlled the tempo from the off. The makeshift front-row of Cyril, Simon Merz and Alois dominated at scrum-time, and with Harry and the BFG controlling the line-outs, Zug dominated possession. After another impressive series of forward drives, the BFG could not be stopped by the Solothurn defence, and Zug started to pull away. Two further tries by the backs (including a second ‘fall over the line’ by Roman – a long fall this time from 20m out) put the result beyond doubt. In both cases the ball was served up nicely on a platter by the marauding forwards. Zug ran out 24-3 winners, and the scoreline was probably a fair reflection of the game. The beer – as always following a win – tasted better.
Zug moves on to the B League play-out / play-in with a one-off, winner-takes-all showdown with Luzern at 15.00 on 20th June in Baar. Please come out and support your local rugby club!!!
Stephen MacLennan

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