On Friday the ISRFC Lambs U18s played their 3rd game of their Croatia and Italy tour, and their 2nd game in under 48 hours.
In a physical and high tempo fixture they were defeated 21-34 following a late comeback by Centro De Formazione FIR Prato&Milano, who had a number of the extended Italy U18 squad who had returned from the current U18s 6 Nations.
The game started with the Lambs being put under almighty pressure, and despite soaking up most of what was thrown at them it was a clever grubbed kick through the defensive line that put Prato&Milano ahead.
The Lambs continued to field the pressure for the opening 10 minutes, conceding a 2nd try through the Italian pick and drive game, a staple of their style of play all game.
However, the Lambs are never to be underestimated, and sticking to their philosophy and shape they began to stretch the opposition. Early replacement Aiden Ali (Cheltenham) made a significant impact and after 20minutes bust through a hole and put the Lambs on the front foot.
Captain Alfie Orchard (Bedford) then took advantage of the broken field and picked a gap to glide through and score under the posts, converting his own try to bring the game to 7-10.
Ten minutes later it was Orchard who scored again, this time taking advantage of a powerful carry by Shiplake’s Oliver Brown and a line break by scrum half Jack Trundley (Wisbech GS), before taking the offload to score a 2nd and put the Lambs 14-10 up. The score remained the same at the half time whistle.
Some wise words at half time saw the Lambs come out flying, and after some fresh legs took the field they once again continued to stretch Prato&Milano.
After 8 minutes outside centre Elliot Rayment (RHS, Ipswich), who caused the opposition trouble all day, took advantage of decent delivery from under the Lambs posts before making a half pitch break and feeding replacement full-back Tom Walker (Felsted) on the inside to sprint away and extend the lead to 21-10.
From this point on the Lambs failed to get any real momentum, being heaving penalised and struggling to gain both the ball and territory. The final 20 minutes saw three tries for the Prato&Milano side, including two catch & drives, to put them 21-27 ahead with 5 minutes to go.
The Lambs had a couple of opportunities at this stage but a deliberate knock down with the back three in space and some inaccuracies with the ball they couldn’t get he score they needed, and probably deserved. A final throw of the dice proved too ambitious and a loose pass gave Prato&Milano the final say as they picked up and scored to finish the game 21-34.
Commenting after the game, Lambs National Director Alex Laybourne said:
“Today was a real learning curve for the boys and they have conducted themselves with real class. They learnt how tough it can be when on tour with two games in less than 48 hours, a delayed kick off and lots of variables outside of their control.”
“They will use what they have learnt to be even better for the final game and we will focus on controlling what we can control, fulfilling our playing philosophy and being more accurate with and without the ball. “
“The team played with ambition and played some excellent rugby, and I am very proud of them. Alfie Orchard (Bedford) led them well and deserved his two scores, Aiden Ali (Cheltenham) made a great impact off the bench and Elliot Rayment (RHS, Ipswich) made some important impacts throughout. Owen Jones (Kings Macclesfield) was once again outstanding and thoroughly deserving of his Man of the Match award. “
“What we must take from today is that the performance was another level up from the last game and they have had an experience that they won’t forget, and those are the things that are important.”
The Lambs’ final game on tour is on Tuesday when they take on Italy U19 B, surely one of the toughest fixture in the Lambs’ history, which should make this a very special occasion indeed.
ISRFC Lambs 34-21 Centro Do Formazione FIT Prato & Milano
Man of the Match: Owen Jones (King’s Macclesfield)
ISRFC Lambs XV:
15 Harry Bureau (Framlingham College), 14 William Kay (Stockport Grammar), 13 Elliot Rayment (Royal Hospital School), 12 Alex Liley (St Peter’s, York), 11 Tom Watson (Framlingham College), 10 Alfie Orchard (Bedford, captain), 9 Jack Trundley (Wisbech Grammar), 1 Joe Martin (Portsmouth Grammar), 2 Ollie Brown (Shiplake College), 3 Samuel Wright (Rugby), 4 Bradley Hutler (Wisbech Grammar), 5 Owen Jones (King’s Macclesfield), 6 Harrison Stiles (Framlingham College), 7 Tyler Tomlinson (Felsted), 8 Henry Reed-Purvis (Bradford Grammar).
Replacements: 16 Tom Eyston (Ampleforth College, vc), 17 John Petty (Trinity, vc), 18 Toby Risebrow (Framlingham College), 19 Aiden Ali (Cheltenham College, vc), 20 Piers Martin (Felsted), 21 Byron Van Uden (Stamford), 22 Oliver Mann (Wisbech Grammar), 23 Darren Ali-Scott (Queen Ethelburga’s), 24 Tom Walker (Felsted).
Tries – Orchard (Bedford) x2, Walker (Felsted)
Cons – Orchard x3
ISRFC Lambs U18 Tour Schedule:
Depart – Friday 30th March
Game 1 – Sunday 1st April – Lambs 99-0 Croatia U19
Game 2 – Wednesday 4th April – Lambs 33-10 Regionale Veneto U18
Game 3 – Friday 6th April – Lambs 21-34 Centro Do Formazione F.R Prato & Milano
Game 4 – Tuesday 10th April – v Italy U19 B
Return – Wednesday 11th April