BY BONNIE BARKMEYER
The German Eagles went down by 13 points to the Japan Samurais today at Elgar Park in a physically challenging game. The first quarter showed a tough encounter by the two teams, with the first goal kicked by Japan early in the match. The Samurais had fast foot pace and were quick to get the ball out of the packs, certainly utilizing their speed to their advantage. Similar to their match against India, the German Eagles had a height advantage over the Samurais and their rucks were able to get most of the ball-ups to their players. Germany displayed great defensive pressure when Japan had possession, and were able to get many defensive stoppages down the Samurai’s end. The first term left Germany goal-less with 2 points, but the team’s coach reiterated in the quarter-time huddle that much of the Samurais success on the scoreboard came from the Eagle’s errors. The aim for the next quarter was to amp up the communication on field and to get behind one another more.
Germany went into the second quarter with sheer determination and willingness to put their bodies on the line. Jan Ostrawksy performed a great smother on his opponent as a set shot at goal was taken by Japan, and his actions encouraged his teammates to work hard for the ball. Jan Heusken was able to slot the first goal for the Eagles midway through the second term and the Eagles showed signs of a comeback with their increased momentum. The halftime score showed an 11-point lead in favour of the Samurais, with Germany still well and truly in the game. Coach Mark Woods was confident in his side, with a whole two quarters ahead of them.
“We are a brilliant team,” he said.
“We work as team the entire time, we do everything as a team. So one guy [must] go for the ball and the rest of the team block and help him out.”
A series of free kicks and 50-metre penalties against the Eagles in the second half impacted the flow of the game and the Eagle’s struggled to get back into it. As the minutes of the game passed by, Germany’s time was running out.
Captain Florian Naumann played a terrific game, and polished off a brilliant performance with a goal from outside 50 in the very last seconds of the match. Naumann was fair to assess his team’s performance against Japan.
“Our development during the game was pretty positive,” he said.
“The disadvantage of today was with the one-percenters, we just didn’t get them, and our marking wasn’t as good as the last couple of games.”
Germany’s next game will be a semi-final on Tuesday, with their opponent yet to be decided. The Eagle’s captain knows what the squad needs to work on before the final and aims to lead by example when encouraging more on field communication.
“There’s not much we need to improve before the semi-final,” he said.
“There’s this tiny thing which has a big impact, and that’s our talk. We’re losing a bit of our structure and our easy possessions because there’s no talk out there.”
Whilst this game was a disappointing result for the Eagle’s, they are still hopeful to take out the Division 2 title in their first International Cup campaign.
Germany 3.4 (22)
Japan 5.5 (35)
Germany F. Naumann (2), J. Heusken,
Japan K. Nakagawa (2), J. Sekiguchi, S. Tada, Y. Yamamoto
Germany F. Naumann, T. Menzel, M. Schuettoff, G. Jung, J.Jung, P. Evermann
Japan M. Sakaki, H, Kuroda, T. Nasu, Y. Yamamoto, S. Tada, K. Takahashi