- New team earns praise in defeat for overall display
- Three tries reward for a sound opening display
Ireland Clubs Under 18s 30 England Clubs & Schools Under 18s 15
England Clubs & Schools Under 18s earned praise from Coach Dave Reed for their overall performance against their Irish counterparts at Ashbourne RFC in Dublin at the weekend (Saturday, March 30), but it was the home side who emerged victorious thanks largely to their superiority at the breakdown in a keenly contested game.
The Irish were seeking to reverse a hefty defeat on English soil in last season’s inaugural game between the sides and they showed real tenacity and conviction whenever their opponents managed to breach their defence.
The Irish team had the benefit of having played international games against Italy and Scotland in recent weeks and that time together stood them in good stead for this encounter.
“We dominated the scrums and had the better of the lineouts, but Ireland had the edge at the breakdowns and that was an important area,” said Reed. “Overall, I thought we performed well in our first international together and there will be lessons learned from the experience, which is what the process is all about.
“The Irish, for example, hit back immediately whenever we scored and that inability to consolidate our success was one of the aspects of the game that we will think about and address.
“But we did a lot of good things and I’m sure the lads will have learned from the experience.”
Ireland went ahead with two penalties by their captain and outstanding player, centre James Nolan (Gorey RFC), before full back Tom Penny (Alnwick RFC) cut the deficit with a try after 17 minutes.
England claimed their second try when wingman Colin Dickson (Worcester Warriors RFC) scored the first of his brace after 31 minutes, but tries by lock Kieran Treadwell (Harlequins RFC), flanker Andrew Purcell (Mullingar RFC) and fly half Conor O’Brien (Mullingar RFC) and a Nolan conversion gave the home side a 23-10 half time advantage.
Dickson’s second try lifted England, but Ireland struck again when wingman Anthony McGivney (Mullingar RFC) crossed and Nolan converted to seal the win.
England Clubs & Schools U18: Tom Penny (Alnwick RFC, RGS Newcastle, North); Sean Brown (Darlington Mowden Park RFC, North), Aaron Morris (Bedford Blues RFC, Biddenham Upper School, Midlands), Oliver Fewtrell (Derby RFC, Queen Elizabeth GS, Midlands), Colin Dickson (Worcester Warriors, Ellesmere College, Midlands); Tom Morton (Sale Sharks, Stockport GS, North), Jack Maplesden (Saracens, Woodhouse Grove School, North); Aston Whitlow (Alnwick RFC, Gosforth Academy, North), Charlie Piper (Harlequins, Cranleigh School, London & SE), Alistair Wade (Camberley RFC, Godalming College, London & SE), Dan Preston-Routledge (Leeds Carnegie RFC, Prince Henry’s GS, North), Simon Linsell (Gloucester RFC, Marling School, South West) capt, Oliver Hodgson (Middlesbrough RFC, Gosforth Academy, North), Harry McCartney (London Wasps, Henley College, South West), Charlie Kingham (Saracens, Felsted School, London & SE)
Replacements (all played): Callum Lynch (Walcot RFC, Beechen Cliff School, South West), Dan Hyams (Mellish RFC, Arnold Hill Academy, Midlands), Finlay Hillicks (Harlequins, College of Richard Collyer, London & SE), Sam Smith (Worcester Warriors, Old Swinford Hospital, Midlands), Lewis Jones (Dunstable RFC, Moulton College, Midlands), Ben Pointon (Northampton Saints, Rugby School, Midlands), Jordan Gott (London Irish, St. Pauls Catholic College, London & SE)