11. September 2010
Narrow opening Bundesliga defeat to Celtc in front of record crowd
A 350-strong crowd at Rugby Club Innsbruck’s opening home Bundesliga fixture against Vienna Celtic was not enough to inspire the Tyrolian side to victory as the Viennese side emerged narrow but deserving victors in a thrilling encounter at the Fenner Areal .
By Stephen Neill
Rugby Club Innsbruck 17:20 Vienna Celtic
“Celtic conrolled the game, we didnt secure enough possession in the right areas” said RCI Coach Jo Trojer. “When we had the ball I thought we did well, but Celtic played well to disrupt our game and credit to them”.
The first half was played at the high pace expected of two teams fresh from a summer break, albeit with a certain rustiness in handling and set pieces which broke up play too often for the match to truly catch fire like the previous meeting between the 2 sides in March. The Celtic team started better and spent the majority of the first 20 minutes in the Innsbruck half, threatening again and again to cut through, but encountering a solid defence. Finally, the visitors pressure told and Celtic scored a try in the corner to lead 0-5.
Innsbruck were sparked into life and better tactical kicking brought them into their opponents half where they struck back with a try from outside centre Michael Oberhauser, powering through 2 tackles before grounding well in the corner. In front of a hushed stand of spectators, out-half Jeremie De Jean De La Batie slotted a touchline conversion to edge Innsbruck in front 7-5.
Before half time, a breakdown in communication between the Innsbruck backs put Celtic back into the lead as sloppy handling on the Innsbruck try line meant the ball went to ground with an opportunistic Celt pouncing on it under the posts for the try and simplest of conversions. A shell-shocked Innsbruck again trailed, 7-12.
A penalty from De La Batie reduced the arrears to 10-12, which was how things stood at half-time.
Although the home side were well in the match, they had shown very little of the rugby of which they are capable, and were lucky to not be further behind. Celtic struck first in the second half through a try out wide, bringing the score to 10-17.
With still 20 minutes remaining, Trojer looked to experience from his bench, bringing on the likes of Hannes Raunigger, Dieter Albert, Al Pegg, Lukas Kegler, Lucas Huter and Fabio Polato in an attempt to regain the upper hand. Innsbruck simplified things, taking it on in the forwards and rucking positively to the Celtic line where the referee spotted a professional foul by a Celt and awarded a penalty try which De La Baite converted to bring the scores level at 17-17. Game on!,.. or so it seemed.
Again, having worked their way back into the match, Innsbruck let it slip from their grasp. A warning shot was fired when Celtic’s out half intercepted a loose pass to go in under the Innsbruck posts, only for the game to be controversially called back due to an earlier Celtic infringement. Celtic showed their experience by working themselves into a penalty position and Innsbruck infringed, leaving the Celts with a kick that they stuck between the uprights for a 17-20 lead which they held onto until the end of the game.
“The Celtic forwards were excellent today, and I have to compliment them on that” finished Trojer “But a large compliment must also go to our fans who made today a great event for RCI and rugby in Tirol, even if the result went against us today”
RCI captain Stephen Neill also gave the Viennese the plaudits: “It’s not easy to go away from home in the Bundesliga and win. Celtic have so much experience that they are always dangerous when the game is close, and in the end they closed the game out very well. We will have to learn our lessons from this result and come back positively in 2 weeks time against Stade. I’m happy with our reaction to get back into the game after a slow start and the performance of our new recruits Florian Zerz, Franz Esterhammer, Lukas Mayr and Gebi Mair was terrific. It’s just a shame we couldn’t send the fans home with a win”.
In the 2. Bundesliga game, the Tiroler Böck exacted revenge by convincingly beating the Celtic Wanderers by 43:3
Rugby Club Innsbruck 17:20 Vienna Celtic Rugby Club
11.9.2010, Crowd Attendance 350
Michael Oberhauser :1 Try
1 Penalty Try
Jeremie Dejean de la Bâtie: 2 Conversions, 1 Penalty