Rasen fall to a heavy defeat in the city

Leigh Dearden tries to halt Peterborough Lions progress
Leigh Dearden tries to halt Peterborough Lions progress

Rugby: Rasen fall to a heavy defeat in the city

After last week’s opening victory at Mansfield the red and greens knew Peterborough Lions would be a tougher proposition, particularly at home in their den as they like to call it.

The Lions made the first forays, but Rasen held firm and forced them back into their own territory where indiscipline presented the visitors with three penalties in quick succession.

It was third time lucky as the Rasen catch and drive routine edged the Lions closer to their own line before prop Chris Starling peeled off down the blindside and powered his way over from close range.

Peterborough Lions responded almost immediately when powerful running, following a loose Rasen clearance kick, forced the red and greens to concede a five metre scrum after desperate defence managed to hold the ball up. The Lions back row broke off with flanker Chris Humphrey slicing through a gap to score under the posts leaving fullback Jaco Steenberg with an easy conversion to give his side the lead.

The tide turned very quickly as the Lions upped their game and Rasen found it difficult to even get hold of the ball with their hosts high tempo offloading game allied with exemplary support play causing constant problems.

A short lineout following a penalty was taken on by Chris Humphrey before he released centre Gedis Marcisaukas to glide through a gap for his first try of match, again converted by Steenberg. Further Rasen indiscretions presented Steenberg with two more penalty successes sandwiching another conversion, courtesy of Marcisauskas’s second try, which had also been initiated from a lineout after a penalty kick to touch. At 27–5 the half time whistle came as a welcome respite for Rasen.

The second period began much the same as the first half had done with the Lions inexplicably losing their focus and conceding a flurry of penalties. Rasen took full advantage and repeated their opening score with a catch and drive propelling Chris Starling over the line.

This score goaded Peterborough Lions back into life where a back row move from a scrum brought blindside winger Rudie van der Merwe into midfield. His powerful running cut through the Rasen defence and created an overlap for fellow wing Joe Sagoe to glide in at the corner.

The home supporters didn’t have to wait long as van der Merwe, who had been ignored for most of the first half, produced another telling run before releasing supporting flanker Arta Bal at full tilt. Diminutive fullback Dan Robinson was left with the impossible task of felling the charging Lithuanian beast as he dotted down under the posts, leaving Steenberg with an easy conversion.

The Lions continued their barrage and Low cut another swathe through the faltering red and green defence before the ball was moved wide for van der Merwe to finish a classic winger’s try.

Despite this onslaught Rasen kept going and were rewarded for their endeavours from another penalty catch and drive. The move almost went awry as the ball went loose, but skipper Dave Starling was alert to the situation and gathered the ball to dive over.

With the last play of the game flyhalf Matt Sutton went for broke with an ambitious chip and chase from the shadow of his own posts only to look on despairingly as Marcisauskas gathered the ball to complete his hat trick. Steenberg then closed the game with his final conversion.

Rasen were beaten by a better side who were much quicker in thought and deed, giving them an object lesson in support play. The opposition’s high tempo game put the red and greens under incessant pressure and resulted in a high penalty count that needs addressing.

There were also too many gaps in defence, either from missed first tackles or lack of organisation and misalignment. However the season is still young with plenty of time to redress these problems and the opposition may well prove themselves to be the best side in the league.

This Saturday Rasen play their first home game with Matlock being the visitors for a 3pm kick off. The Derbyshire side recovered from a 55–0 beating in their first match to record a home win this week against Mansfield.

Teams

Rasen: Starling C, Alldridge, Cole, Mills, Dearden L, Pryer, Starling D, Chamberlin, Gregory, Sutton, Everton P, Grint, Edell, Harvey, Robinson

Subs: Bullivant (Cole), Crowe (Pryer), Norton (Everton)

Peterborough Lions: Vinksna, Roberts, Laws, Andrijauskas, Zokas, Bal, Humphrey C, Sait, Humphrey P, Low, van der Merwe, Roussouw, Marcisauskas, Sago, Steenberg

Subs: Tuitibou, Harlock, Winch