On Friday, the rival teams, ISZL and ZIS lined up against each other on Zug’s infamous AstroTurf pitch for a mid-season game. Although this was a friendly, both sides knew that the stakes were high. The Zurich Lions had a four-to-nothing victory streak they wished to maintain and the Zug and Luzern Eagles wanted revenge for their defeat at the hands of ZIS three weeks previously.
With the sun setting behind them, ZIS kicked off to Zug. The match instantly became extremely physical and thirty seconds after kick-off the clock was stopped because of a seemingly severe injury to Zug’s number 8. However, after a worrying two minutes he unsteadily got up and was carried off the pitch.
In the meantime Zurich had been given a penalty and the stoppage time gave them the opportunity to set up and plan. ZIS kicked for touch and attempted a fast lineout at the 22 meter line; however, this passage of play did not last long and as a Zug forward appeared offside during a ruck ZIS received another penalty.
Once again the ball was kicked into touch, this time however at the five meter line. The Lions set up with a four man lineout and as soon as the call was made, the ZIS line moved back and lifted Sam McGough (15’) into the air to allow Will Tengtio (15’) to run around the front of the line and carry the ball over the Zug line.
Although, Zurich was five-nil up two minutes into play, the early lead didn’t last for long as Zug quickly came back into the game, playing rougher and faster than before. A few minutes after Zurich scored, Tim Kutz (14’) was taken off the pitch with a broken wrist, and a Zug winger took advantage of the momentary confusion and ran through the Zurich defense to even the score. The Eagles then scored a conversion to make the score 7-5.
Thereafter, Zurich appeared to be in better shape, but a sloppy pass in the offensive line allowed a speedy Zug back to intercept the ball and to extend his team’s lead by a further seven points.
After an intense half-time pep talk and some refreshing orange slices, the Lions stepped back onto the pitch with fresh determination. Zurich increased their defensive pressure inside the Zug 22 and a Zug winger was knocked into touch. After a Zug infringement at the subsequent lineout, five meters from the touch line, Will Tengtio attempted to take a quick penalty, but was knocked slightly into touch. The referee; however, ruled that Zug had not retreated the necessary 10 meters and awarded a penalty try.
The game became even more intense as with the score at 14-10, Zurich was now within one try of winning the game. Zurich’s increased intensity positively affected their performance, as Zurich was once again playing at the Zug five meter line just minutes after receiving a penalty try.
Minutes later, the forwards of both teams were locked in a brutal maul after a Zug lineout, and Zurich managed to fight the ball to the ground. The team then succeeded in recycling the ball in order for Nick Clarke to score a try, leaving Zug behind by one point.
With ten minutes left and Zurich up by 15-14, Zug fought hard, but ultimately failed to claw back the victory they felt they deserved. The game ended with ZIS winning by a single point and their victory streak was extended to five-to-nothing.