Sensational Innsbruck victory against Austrian Bundesliga runners-up Stade Viennois
Rugby Club Innsbruck pocketed a precious away victory in Vienna against Stade Viennois, in a game that they led from start to finish at the Dirnelwiese. More suited to the role of underdog, it was the Tyrolean’s first victory against the Viennese team in 2 years, and an important boost for the squad after the opening home defeat to Vienna Celtic.
Report by Stephen Neill
“It’s fantastic. We showed that we were prepared to fight for every centimeter and that we are still a force to be reckoned with in this Bundesliga”, said Coach Johann Trojer.
The battle in the contact was where Innsbruck gained momentum and continually managed to disrupt or turn over Stade ball during the opening half hour. This possession was converted into points from the boot of out-half MJ Sartori, who put the visitors in front with a penalty after ten minutes.
Innsbruck extended their lead when an alert chip from scrum half De La Batie was gathered in the Stade 22, leading to a succession of tight drives from the RCI forwards, who bundled prop Gert Waizer over for a priceless try. Sartori added the extras to put Innsbruck 10 nil in front after 25 minutes. Good tactical kicking from Sartori and the chasing of the Innsbruck backs kept the pressure on Stade and forced them into another penalty which Sartori kicked to move RCI into an unexpected but deserved 13 point lead.
Trojer switched Patrick Young to full back, expecting a kicking game from the astute backs of Stade. While the RCI backs did not use much ball in hand, the decision making of the wingers Mattieu Rhomberg, Carli Simbruner and Young in receiving and returning kicks kept the home side at bay and the Innsbruck forwards on the front foot.
True to their reputation and character, Stade came back into the game and camped in Innsbruck territory for the 15 minutes leading up to half time. Their pressure was rewarded with a try under the posts after some quick rucking created an overlap out wide. Stade were back in the match at 7 – 13.
The second half was curiously low on scoring, but RCI managed to win a penalty for a high tackle on Sartori. With Sartori receiving treatment, De La Batie slotted the penalty to give RCI some breathing room as the game entered the final quarter, 7 – 16 meant that Stade needed more than a converted try to win. Despite some periods of pressure from Stade, with each error, relieving kick or turnover, the belief spread that it was to be the visitors’ day. As the final whistle went, RCI delivered a rousing rendition of the Tyrolean anthem “Dem Land Tirol Die Treue” to round off a memorable win.
Man of the match was RCI lock Lukas Kolb, who carried ball bravely, tackled relentlessly and showed a maturity beyond his 19 years for the full 80 minutes. Kolb will be the first to say, however, that each forward performed well in a solid RCI unit, including the replacements.
The motto for RCI is fast becoming, “you are only as good as your last game”. Poor performances will see you beaten against any team, home or away, but crucially, if RCI know now that if they repeat the effort of Saturdays match, great results can be achieved.
Tiroler Böck also emerged victorious over their Stade opponents, staging a dramatic comeback to win 21:26 and send the whole RCI squad home on a high. Try scorers were Gebi Mair, Jeremie De Jean De La Batie and Carli Simbruner. Successful kicks were taken by captain Mattias Märk.
The next home game for Rugby Club Innsbruck is on Saturday 9th October at 14:00 in the Fenner Areal, Innsbruck against RC Graz. Entry to the game is free for all.