With 2 drop-outs a mere 20 minutes before the minibus left the club, Southampton could only field 17 players with a much-changed team from the one that beat (at the time) table toppers Overton 2 weeks before. However, the strength-in-depth and fitness of SRFC proved decisive although there was too much reliance on individuals making try-scoring plays rather than any team structure that disappointed the coaching staff. SRFC ran in 6 tries in a 40-25 away win.
The only positive pre-game was the fact the changing room was warm and spacious, as SRFC had a short warm up due to late arrivals - including captain Chris Glebocki. Nomads had been out for a long warm up, which showed as they started the match at a much higher tempo using their big front 5 to fight their way up the pitch. SRFC struggled to cope with this early onslaught and let in the first try. Importantly here, both SRFC props went down injured.
Although Nomads had the size and the scrum, SRFC had the talent in the loose. An interception from Tiago Dias inside his own 22 led to a breakaway try for returning Josh Rihan. Tom Morton also added a try and a penalty to give a half time lead to SRFC of 15-10. SRFC could have had more points in the first half with some decisions going Nomad's way.
Injuries continued in the 2nd half as Nomad's size was becoming a problem for SRFC, with a twisted ankle and a broken nose being the notables. Due to necessity, the SRFC forwards seemed to be drawing lots at every set piece to decide who did what; with them setting a record for the most amount of different players to throw a non-straight line out in one game - albeit for a bit of wind not helping.
A Ben Te'o esque short finish out wide from Tiago Dias should have settled the game early in the 2nd half but Nomads came back and started to use their set piece to bully SRFC. Scrum after scrum led to a controversial score for Nomads and soon after the game was 20-20 with Nomads on a high. Strong words were said and finally SRFC got the ball to the backs which ended in tries. Captain Chris Glebocki replicated Tiago's try and winger Kenny Baughan finally decided to run straight with the result ending in a try from inside his own half through / around 4 Nomad back's. Tom Morton's boot helped to extend and win the match.
A miscommunication led to an accidental offside call from the kick off and Nomads scored from a quick tap-and-go penalty to gain their try bonus point. The game ended 40-25 to SRFC.
It was not a great performance from SRFC with multiple new combinations due to the pull-outs and general unavailability, but showed their strength-in-depth and recruitment success to be able to name a squad with the quality it had. SRFC's desire to build as a club meant there was a hard debriefing in the changing rooms - it will be a hard week of training ahead!