Match Report: Tabard RFC 20 – 17 London Nigerian

London Nigerian suffered a 2nd consecutive defeat in the league away at Tabard RFC.

London Nigerian travelled to Radlett for the game versus Tabard RFC. Both teams were in a similar position in the table before the game. LNRFC started the brighter, putting Tabard under pressure with measured phase play and strong runners in Moorby and Foley. However they could not capitalise and penalties let Tabard off the hook.

The first half was then one of defence for the visitors. Tabard had the majority of the ball and the Nigerians conceded numerous penalties to increase the pressure on their own line, which eventually led to Sean Baker heading to the bin. Tabard missed one attempt at the posts from these penalties when LNRFC were down to 14. Though LNRFC came back into the game as the half wore on it remained 0-0 at the break.

In the second half, London Nigerian improved their attack and scored very soon after the restart. Strong forward runs caused confusion in the Tabard defence. Multiple phases saw an eventual overlap created and Fraser James dived like a salmon to score the first try in the corner. Morgan superbly converted. 0-7.

Unfortunately, and in what was going to become a disappointing pattern, LNRFC allowed Tabard to reply with a try of their own. 7-7. LNRFC had control at both the scrum and the lineout, disrupting Tabard on their own ball on multiple occasions. It seemed as if London Nigerian were beginning to gain a grip on the game, Jack Flanagan and Sean Baker were making holes in the defence time and time again and created great field position for the backs to attack. A fine crossfield kick from Cox was gathered by Moorby and forced a high tackle. The penalty was kicked to touch and from the line out the initial maul made ground. Once disrupted the ball was fed back to Flanagan who sneaked in at the corner. 12-7.

Ill discipline meant that LNRFC could not increase their lead. Another sin bin immediately followed the restart and Tabard kicked the penalty to narrow the lead to two. The game was incredibly topsy turvy. London Nigerian were continuing to make breaks with Sean Baker a real threat. One impressive break created a fine platform which led to Caolan Cotter crossing the line to score. 17-10. LNRFC were dominant for the next 10 mounting serious pressure on Tabard, however could not come away with points after a penalty attempt was missed. It was from here the match unraveled. Tabard took advantage of Nigerian handling errors to regain possession and poor tackling saw them score under the posts. 17-17. With seconds remaining, LNRFC ill discipline proved to be costly as they were penalised at a breakdown. Tabard converted the penalty to win 20-17.

A disappointing defeat in a game that seemed there to be won. Positives can be taken from the performance in the scrum as well as individual performances from Flanagan and Baker. LNRFC are away on 26th November to Harpenden.