Playing Zug away is not the most pleasant of experiences. Their AstroTurf pitch leaves long lasting cuts, and the ridiculously short ‘in-goal’ area ends abruptly onto uncovered concrete. In short, Zug’s pitch is a death trap. This was not the only reason for the Varsity Squad to feel somewhat vexed upon their arrival at ISLZ on Friday night. With four injured starting players, and Forward’s Captain Will Tengtio (’15) absent for the week, the Lions were left without a single sub.
Unperturbed, as the sun sank low in sky, painting it a ghastly surgical-appliance pink, Zurich squared up to Zug and Luzern. After the Eagle’s outdated team-shout “RIVERSIDE” and Zurich’s altogether more civilized “ZURICH” the game began.
Zurich started the match with a high kick-off from Sam McGough (’15) which was ripped from Zug hands and sent down the Zurich line. This wasn’t to last however, as loud complaints from the Zurich boys about a Zug handling in the ruck saw Zurich concede a penalty for talking to the ref, highly unusual for a school boy game.
Zug advanced, pushing Zurich into their own try zone. A fast kick out brought Zurich some time in the form of a scrum on the five meter line. Unfortunately for the Lions, Zug took full advantage of this scrum, and with the forwards locked in, passed the ball out quickly and broke from Zurich’s defense to put the ball down on the over the line.
Still not concerned, Zurich kicked off once again, and before long managed to win back the ball from Zug. Zug exceled in powering though with rucks and mauls, but Zurich was playing with vigor. After painful scrapes against the AstroTurf floor, punching through Zug defense, Joey Stack (’16) managed to hammer into Zug defense, and despite being held up on the try line, fought his way to the ground, resulting in Varsity’s first try of the evening.
At half time the score was Zug 7:5 Zurich, and Zurich was feeling strong. Zug had gotten lucky, because Zurich was dominating on the pitch. Play resumed in near total darkness, with Zurich receiving the kick. For a long time nothing changed, two short-ball line outs saw Zurich forwards bogged down in mauls, leaving the backs over-stretched, which allowed Zug to score over Zurich once more.
Having come back from worse, Zurich played on. A series of penalties were used in quick succession, and Zug’s inability to retreat the required ten meters multiple times saw Zurich gain lots of ground, but the Lions couldn’t convert these opportunities to the points they so desperately needed.
Though more experienced Junior Varsity players acted as substitutes when needed, the Varsity team was tiring fast.
Two high tackles in the last five minutes of game saw Zurich playing with just thirteen men, when they needed all the man-power available to them. The monstrously fast Zug full back exploited the gaps this created in the defensive line to score a final five points for the Eagles as the final whistle blew.
The game, probably the last current seniors will play against the Lion’s old rivals ISLZ, ended in defeat. The final score was Zug 19:5 Zurich.