On Friday afternoon, the conditions were perfect for a Rugby match. The skies were a clear blue, the wind was still, and the winter sun shone down with the first tantalizing whispers of spring. It is unfortunate then, that our match was on Saturday, when we were greeted with a sleeting sky and frozen pitch, as Zurich prepared for their first match against the fledgling side, the Hausen Baboons in Baden.
A U20 team, with two Swiss national players (as opposed to Zurich’s one), the Baboons physically outsized the Lions, though there was less experience between them. With only 12 players on their side, we decided on four quarters of Rugby Sevens for our day’s game. The pitch was a small, churned up patch of mud with patches of snow at either end. As the whistle blew, it began to snow, and a scrappy, dirty game of rugby ensued. Playing in the cold means you have to play differently, you can’t pass as far, and in the mud boots have less traction. The Lions found it difficult to adjust to these conditions and by the end of the first quarter, the Baboons were leading by 15 points to nothing.
Things turned around however, as Zurich learned to commit fewer men to rucks, exploiting gaps in the Baboon’s defensive line and taking advantage of sloppy penalties. By the third quarter, Zurich had scored four tries, and the Baboons an additional one. The score was 20-20. In the end, the freezing, sleeting, slushy conditions wore down the Lions faster than the new Hausen side. Zurich scored another try, but it was not enough to counter the Baboon’s two. The final score was 30-25.
The teams were jovial to one another at the finish, and the Zurich is looking forward to competing against the Hausen Baboons in the future.