Saturday 18th February was the date for the boys from Gibraltar’s Barbarians rugby club to take to the next tournament run by the Andalucian Rugby Federation. Once again a full coach of KPMG u10s and 12s made the trip with a whole host of supporters joining in. Marbella were the hosts for an extremely well attended tournament with 16 teams at both u10 and 12s split into four groups of four. This meant no cross overs for positions in the tournament so the challenge was to top our group.
The KPMG under 12s started with a local derby, playing Estrecho rugby club from Guardiaro. Our boys came out and from the start it was evident that their minds were not in a good place. Once again plenty of strong rucking meant plenty of possession but a stubborn refusal to play as a team and pass to each other meant we constantly gave that possession away. Soon enough some very poor tackling meant Estrecho took a 1 nil lead. This seemed to spark a reaction from the Barbarians who upped their game. The pressure was constant and it paid off with a try to level the scores. They however showed once again that rugby is a game played just as much in the mind as with physicality. A lack of team work again gave possession away far too often and invited pressure which lead to a defensive kick from our own try line being well caught by the opposition full back which was run back for a try in the corner. With that the whistle went and the Barbarians suffered defeat with the last play of the game in a match they knew they should have won.
Some stern words of encouragement from the coaching staff and the introduction of the twins Juan and Julio Dominguez Perez who had missed the first match meant there was a distinct fire in the Barbarians bellies for our second game against Granada B who had drawn with Estrecho. WOW. What a team display, power in the rucks and fast passing meant Granada were blown away. The tries flowed and the game ended six tries to nil. The Barbarians played their signature style of rugby, tackling ferociously, rucking like life depended on it (this is rugby, it does!) and passing at speed. With this style and panache the Barbarians were full of confidence and could clearly take on and beat anyone.
Lastly came Malaga B. Our boys were in high spirits and ready to prove the Estrecho result was just a hiccup and oh boy did they do that. A seven to one win, full of our now beautiful to watch champagne rugby was simply unstoppable. Every player did their job with the forwards putting in the hard work in the contact, leaving the spaces for our backs to do what they do best, pass at speed and run like the wind. An amazing team effort turned the day around and after being informed that Estrecho had drawn their last match we topped the group. However the main hope of they day is that the federation take note of our results and match us up with some of the stronger sides so the we can really test the boys improvements.
The KPMG u10s in their second ever tournament were full of excitement and ready to improve on their previous promising results. This group though new to the game and seriously lacking in experience more than makes up for it in the joy they have for the game and they all play with smiles on their faces. First up was Malaga. With a lot more structure in their game than the previous tournament and a better awareness on how to recycle the ball through the ruck and a marked improvement in tackling with a dawning that it doesn’t hurt if you do it properly the Barbarians were too much for their opponents taking the game four tries to nil.
Next up were CAR from Seville and our boys took an early three one lead but this was a close game with both teams equally matched and missed tackles making all the difference. With the game at four to two, CAR reacted well and though the Barbarians continued to play well some poor tackling in key situations let them down and CAR eventually ran out winners by eight tries to four. However with plenty of smiles on the Barbarians faces, happy to soak up the atmosphere with over 600 players participating at the various age levels and the stands packed full of spectators, they were ready for their last game against Ciencias from Seville, one of Spain’s top clubs. It was a joy to watch with both sides really going for it in defence and attack. However some silky running from Sam Sheriff and some amazing passing putting Sam Gorny away for a try in the corner saw our boys win 4 tries to 2 (even if there was controversy with the opposition somehow claiming they had won comfortably).
Once again both teams showed they have what it takes to compete at this level and are improving with every game. There are still a few tournaments left and visiting teams from the UK coming to Gibraltar so if you want to be part of this fast, dynamic sport where you will make friends for life contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org