For the second-long trip in a row the GRF road trip would be 23 players, a promising start to the season. With sun cascading across the length of Sweden it would only be normal to be met by a grey sky in Karlstad with slight drizzle. Coach Kyle met his soldiers at the entrance as we arrived by the bus load and it was time to get the mindsets sorted out. With all the pleasantries over and done with a with the forward trying to con the referee into believing scrum collapsing would be Karlstad’s fault, it was kick-off time. twenty minutes in and it was a game full of unforced errors and a stalemate as GRF tried to hit tight into Karlstad’s defence which held firm. Quite a few dropped balls would show up Karlstad’s Achilles heel as GRF pushed them off their own scrum time and time again. Karlstad would also have some forays into GRF territory but failed to get any rewards after some players were doing their jobs at turnover. With GRF holding most of the territory and possession stats it was only time that they would cross the line, and after several penalties in the Karlstad red zone they finally crossed the line. To Karlstad’s credit they kept pressure on in the defence. By all accounts the match balls were creating a headache for the GRF backs as they were brand new gilberts, working in slightly damp conditions. Soap rugby became the trigger as width ball became a one pass match plan. And individual creativity gave GRF a second 70 meter try after sustaining pressure. Due to this the first half was very sloppy with both teams struggling to get to third phase. GRF lost composure as they didn't play space but kept hitting wall and this, together with soap, kept Karlstad in the game. Second half and by this time the squad had got the messages as to where the strikes should happen. The squad got into a better flow and started making easier two on ones which were giving them yards. When Karlstad started panicking and pushing their defence thin the forwards hit the spaces around breakdown and two tries were scored by some very good angled runs by front row players. Karlstad’s tank eventually emptied. All credit to them, they never at any point gave up and were rewarded tries for their efforts. It took around 65 minutes to break them down which in turn had the result looking the way it did, 10-42. Not the tale of the game, as soapy balls led to so many unforced errors which made it all rather scrappy. GRF finished as they should have started, which was a huge positive for them to go into the sheds after a second away victory with a full squad.
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