- England too strong for Irish opponents
- Pride and satisfaction – Dave Reed
England Under 18 Clubs and Schools 38 Ireland Under 18 Clubs 10
Photo: Getty Images
England Under 18 Clubs and Schools rose to the occasion of their first home international and with a demonstration of high tempo and exciting rugby, proved too strong for Ireland Under 18 Clubs.
Having benefited from the experience of tough tests and narrow defeats against Northampton Saints’ and Leicester Tigers’ Academies, England put in an all round impressive performance; solid at the set piece, quick to pressure in defence and clinical in attack.
A strong start gave England a ten point lead after seven minutes. Louis Grimoldby slotted a penality in front of the posts before providing swift ball for Henry Purdy who drove over for the first try after the ball was moved quickly from the back of the five metre line out.
A period of sustained pressure from Ireland followed and whilst strong tackles by James Flynn and Morgan Robinson-Eames helped resist the waves of attack, Ireland eventually swung the ball wide to put five points on the board.
England responded with some excellent rugby; gaining ground through pick and goes from Henry Taylor, speed and support play by Jordan Burns and Max Stelling and quick ball at the breakdown from Jacob Nickson and Joe Joyce.
Photo: Getty Images
With five minutes to play before the break, Grimoldby typified his outstanding kicking performance taking three points from the tee from within England’s half. The boys in white were unfortunate not to add a further five when a forward pass denied Burns after a powerful break from Ed Taylor.
England continued to dominate after half time and clean ball from the top of the line out by Robinson-Eames gave Grimoldby the chance to slot a drop goal and keep the score board ticking over.
Soon after the re-start Chris Lord showed good football skills to keep the ball in play; Luke Jones gathered the ball on the bounce and sprinted through to cross the white wash after only two minutes on the pitch. From the tight angle, Grimoldby added the extras.
Under pressure, Ireland struggled to build the phases and when a knock on fell to Robinson-Eames, his quick reaction enabled him to use the advantage to dart down the wing and touchdown in the corner. Having come on at fly-half, Joe Tarrant extended England’s lead to 33-5.
A constant attacking threat throughout the match, Stelling was rewarded in the final ten minutes. Turn over from an interception within England’s 22 released the full back who angled his run towards the touchline before beating the Irish defence with his pace to add England’s final five points to the board.
A consolation try for Ireland in the final two minutes did little to dampen England’s elation at their deserved victory.
Photo: Getty Images
Head Coach, Dave Reed said: “When the final whistle went, it was a feeling of pride and satisfaction to think that these lads started the selection process in September, playing for their Clubs and Schools, and through the divisional process have progressed to international level.
“What impressed me most about our performance was the desire of the boys to try things. There was a danger of making mistakes but from the outset they never just wanted to play A-to-B or B-to-C rugby – they wanted to throw the ball around, to impress, to play with passion, with a smile and for each other.
“The warm up matches against two top academies were crucial to the preparation, so a big thank you to Northampton and Leicester for allowing us that opportunity. They were tough tests against teams that tackle and scrummage hard and it was the conditioning we needed to play against Ireland because they are a tough unit and very hard to break down.”
Grimoldby 3P 2C 1DG, Tarrant 1C, Purdy 1T, Jones 1T, Robinson-Eames 1T, Stelling 1T
England Under 18 Clubs and Schools starting XV:
15. Max Stelling (Old Swinford Hospital, Worcester Warriors, Midlands)
14. Jordan Burns (Epsom College, Harlequins, LSE)
13. Michael Haley (Myerscough College, Sale Sharks, North)
12. Henry Purdy (Cokethorpe School, London Wasps, SW)
11. Chris Lord (St. Joseph’s College Ipswich, not attached to club, LSE)
10. Louis Grimoldby (Stamford School, Northampton Saints, Midlands)
9. Henry Taylor (Cranleigh, Harlequins, SW)
1. James Flynn (Stockport Grammar School, Sale Sharks, North)
2. Jacob Nickson (Arnold School, Fylde, North)
3. Alec Clarey (Barnard Castle, Leicester Tigers, North)
4. Joe Joyce (Filton College, Bristol/Southmead RFC, SW)
5. Morgan Robinson-Eames (Bishop Burton College, Nottingham/Hull, Midlands)
6. Ed Taylor (Old Swinford Hospital, Worcester Warriors , Midlands) (Captain)
7. Cameron Neild (Manchester Grammar School, Sale Sharks, North)
8. Guy Van Den Dries (Barnard Castle, Newcastle Falcons, North)
16. Joe Tarrant (St. Joseph’s College Ipswich, Colchester, LSE) On at 55 mins for Grimoldby
17. Dean Keat (Hardenhuish, Chippenham, SW) On at 59 mins for Clarey
18. Luke Jones (Guernsey College of Further Education, Guernsey, LSE) On at 42 mins for Haley
19. Gabriel Carroll (St. Joseph’s College Ipswich, not attached to club, LSE) On at 46 mins for Neild
20. Shaquille Meyers (St. Joseph’s College Ipswich, Bedford Blues/Diss RFC, LSE) On at 55 minutes for Robinson-Eames
21. Curtis Greene (St Joseph’s College Stoke, Trentham RFC, Midlands) On at 59 mins for Nickson
22. Linford Brock (Exeter College, Barnstaple, SW) On at 59 mins for Taylor