HRC’s trip to Tallinn brought a 15-40 defeat to Kalev on Saturday in the men’s championship.
It was clear from the start in the roasting sun of the Kalevi keskstaadion that the Kalev team had a completely different gameface to the one seen against the Warriors a week before in Helsinki. HRC took an early 7-3 lead with Dario Forneris’ try and Joonas Bask’s conversion, but after that the hosts took command. Kalev was able to shake up HRC’s game plan with hard physicality in the breakdown that skimmed the borders of the grey area of the laws. Kalev dominated ball possession completely and crept to a 18-7 lead by halftime.
At the beginning of the second half Big Guns wrestled back the momentum, but the pressure led only to a succesful penalty kick from Joonas Bask that made the score 10-18. After HRC’s good phase Kalev’s strong runners started to punch holes in the blue defensive line. The hosts made HRC pay for every mistake and scored four unanswered tries en route to a convincing win. HRC however got the last say as the second row Joonas Santala crossed the tryline in the final play of the game after a succesful five-meter lineout.
The Big Guns offensive game did not work like in the previous matches, there were unusually many handling errors, kicking game was off the mark and the defensive line leaked worse than earlier during the season. Kalev’s physicality caused a lot of problems and the situation was not helped by the fact that most of the backs played in unsual positions. There were positives too: the set piece worked fine throughout the game and there were a couple of speedy mauls too.
– The forwards did a good job in the set piece and were on top in both scrums and lineouts. Backs can also take away a lot with five of the seven backline players playing out of position, said HRC’s player-coach Jake Pratley who led the game from the sideline.
The match was officiated by a Swedish guest referee Rami Aro.
After Saturday Warriors and Kalev top the championship table with 20 points. HRC follow close one point behind. Big Guns face next the Old Town Shamrocks in Myllypuro 11th August.
Kalev Tallinn – HRC 40-15 (18-7)
Tries: Dario Forneris ja Joonas Santala
Conversion: Joonas Bask
Penalty: Joonas Bask
1 Ville Vikman
2 Emmanuel Courbin
3 Samuel Kuutti
4 Jesperi Virtanen
5 Ville Siiskonen
6 Joonas Santala
7 Iikka Ahlfors
8 Wertti Bask
9 Luke Parsons
10 Dario Forneris
11 Aldo Sari
12 Riku Lempiö
13 Joonas Bask
14 Saxby Young
15 Ronan Rochford
Iivari Komsi, Michael Blakley, Mikko Aalto, Kevin McCarthy, Ilja Prohorov, Jarno Warsa-Ritaranta ja Jussi Kärpänen
Text: Mika Huopainen
Original photo: Paulo Pannuzzo