DECRYPTION – With cascading injuries, a leaky defence, too much indiscipline, a conquest yet to be stabilized and something lacking at the beginning of second halves, FC Grenoble rugby is struggling in the Top 14, in last place after seven days. During the match against Bayonne on Saturday 8th October (6:30pm), FCG has no alternative but to prevail, at the risk of further ruining its chances of staying in the French rugby elite.
Grenoble plays part of its future in the Top 14 against Bayonne on Saturday 8th October. The FCG, a red light on its ranking with only six points, must win against the Aviron Bayonne team, also in the relegation zone with just eight points. “We have absolutely no right to error”, confirms Bernard Jackman, manager of Grenoble.“We must play a great game to release us from this pressure. It’s really a pivotal match. We’re aware of this and we’re really going to give it our best.”
Why is Grenoble, defeated six times in its first seven matches, under threat of relegation at the end of season? Here are answers.
Absences due to injury of major players
Grenoble had around 19 injured players in its squad, before going to Castres on 18th September (46-9). Again, this week, fifteen players are out due to injuries, for the crucial game against Bayonne, including major players: Arnaud Héguy a hooker, Hendrik Roodt in the second line, Rory Grice in third line centre position. They are desperately missed by the FCG team, as are the scrum-half, Charl McLeod, and the fullback, Gio Aplon.
Bad luck has befallen the Isère club. Back for only two weeks after a hamstring injury, the third liner Mahamadou Diaby, at the gates of French team this summer, was hit in the left pectoral on Tuesday 4th October during training. “We’re not having much luck and we have a pretty elderly team; the risk of injury is higher”, explains Bernard Jackman. “If you do nothing, you’ll never get hurt, but you’re going to suck too. We have tried to improve the physical ability of the group to be able to finish the season strong. Currently, there are a lot of injured players, but they will be back. The majority will play 18 games this season. They will be fresh. It’ll help us later in the season.”
The Irish hope FCG will get over the Bayonne obstacle successfully, then take advantage of the two European weeks to begin to recover its forces.
Big problems in defence
Grenoble miss out on too many points. This is nothing new, but the solutions are slow to be found. In 26 championship matches last season, FCG finished 12th in defence, out of 14, conceding 779 points. During the first seven days of the 2016-2017 season in the Top 14, its already conceded 228 points, averaging more than 32 per meeting. A red light is flashing for Grenoble in this statistical category.
Before going to Toulouse (31-3) on 1st October, the Isère team undertook a lot of work in this area, which continued this week. Even though some positive signals were noted in the Pink City, with no points recorded for Toulouse in the last thirty minutes, they need to be stronger against Bayonne.
Too many cards
Grenoble are regularly outnumbered. In seven games, FCG has already received eight yellow cards and two red ones. In this classification, it is second to last. If only it had shown the courage and solidarity, as when faced with Brive (36-23), prevailing despite the expulsions of Alisona Taumalolo and Nigel Hunt, at other times. The discipline of the Grenoble team must be closely monitored. Already in a hot water, FCG really don’t need to put spokes in the wheels at the moment.
Too much inconsistency
Even though in the face of La Rochelle (19-22) and Pau (38-39), despite the defeats, and against Brive in the first period, the Grenoble scrum performed well, it found itself suffering terribly on the outside, notably in Lyon (32-13) and Castres (46-9). Even in touch, sometimes, the team was wanton. The absence of Héguy, Roodt and Grice affected the performance of the Grenoble conquest.
Badly started second halves
Too often, Grenoble is not ready when they return from the locker room. In its first match at the Alps stadium against La Rochelle, FCG was leading, 13-12 at halftime, before a conversion (50th), led to 13-19. La Rochelle could not be beaten thereafter.
In Lyon and Castres, dominated, Grenoble conceded a try in the first minutes of the second period, both times. But, the most striking example is still the match against Pau. FCG seemed to hold all the cards, with a 13-point lead, at half time, but conceded 10 points in 10 minutes at the beginning of the second half. It bowed at the end.
Finally, in Toulouse, leading by 17-3 at half time, the Isère club also conceded 14 points in 12 minutes. Against Bayonne, it must not fall asleep in the dressing room, under threat of a huge disappointment.
Traduction from Speak English Center
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