Blues Beaten In The Blizzard
RUGBY: Not even a blizzard could stop a marauding pack of touring Argentinians from getting the better of the Blues.
It would be no exaggeration to claim that Grange Road resembled a Siberian wasteland rather than a rugby field by the end of play on Saturday.
In absolutely atrocious playing conditions, Argentinian touring side Los Tilos beat the Blues 13-0. Conditions weren’t conducive to a spot of sightseeing, let alone free-flowing rugby.
The match was part of a series of games over the weekend which welcomed a touring party from Buenos Aires. They may just be regretting that they didn’t invite the Blues over to their place.
It is customary for a match report to get stuck into the details of events on the field, but conditions were so bad that any meaningful play struggled to develop. Players slipped and skidded their way into contact rather than taking the ball to the opposition, rucks resembling not much more than mud baths. By the end of the 80 minutes players were top to toe in mud – it became increasingly difficult to distinguish foe from friend.
In a match such as this, points were always going to be at a premium. It may have been the first time the Blues have failed to register on the scoreboard this season, but this is somewhat understandable – there was a greater chance of catching hypothermia than creating genuine try-scoring opportunities.
As it was, it took some time for the tourists to register on the scoreboard themselves. The Argentinians displayed fine skill to keep a maul going to crash over for the only points of the half. The Blues tried to turn the screw just before the half-time whistle, but it was to no avail. A score line of 5-0 really summed up the action in the first half.
With conditions not relenting after the half-time break, it was more a question of merely surviving for players and spectators. The first signs of snow brought extra chill into the air, and it was the tourists who continued to enjoy the better play. They were unlucky not to score when a fine backs move presented a try-scoring opportunity only for the final pass to be deemed forward. A kick from the boot helped them add to their tally though.
Despite being at the back end of their season, the Blues showed admirable commitment to give it a go during the second half. However, several good runs were stopped prematurely as players simply lost their footing.
As conditions descended into a blizzard, the tourists were able to have the final say before both sets of players could deservedly retreat back to the club house. Another nice move by Los Tilos allowed the scrum-half to finish off the break in style.
By the final whistle, both sets of players looked relieved that they were finally free from the Arctic conditions, but both also stopped to applaud each other’s good will. Still, a trip to the South American coastline looks mighty tempting…