The ISRFC Lambs’ competitive season began on Sunday with a trip to Bourneville RFC in Birmingham to take on the Irish Exiles.
It is the first step in what will be an exciting season for them, with fixtures against London Scottish, Crawshays Welsh XV, and Boys Club of Wales to come before they head on tour to South Africa on the 4th April.
Due to new guidelines from the outside, there is no official squad this year, but the following side went to Bourneville RFC:
15 Jack Trundley (Wisbech GS, vc), 14 Marcus Rayworth (Plymouth College), 13 Will Gair (Rossall), 12 Ben Thewlis (Ashville College), 11 Matthew Burson (The Perse), 10 Jack Corry (King’s Gloucester), 9 Alessandro Aliberti (Shebbear College), 1 Thomas Handy (Bradford GS), 2 James Emmerson (Sir Thomas Rich’s), 3 Dudley Lochlan (Stamford), 4 Harvey Dickenson (Dean Close), 5 Tommy Evans (KCS Wimbledon), 6 Joshua Jones (Kirkham GS), 7 Tyler Tomlinson (Felsted, vc), 8 Owen Jones (King’s Macclesfield, captain).
16 Max Loboda (Rossall), 17 Henry Hoyles (Wisbech Grammar), 18 Alfie Gibson (Millfield), 19 Thomas Batley (Ipswich), 20 Archie O’Dair (Durham), 21 Harry Finney (Trent College), 22 Toby Staveley Parker (Bloxham), 23 Josh Loach (Hurstpierpoint College), 24 George Lemon (Wisbech Grammar).
Jones, Tomlinson, and Trundley were all confirmed as the Lambs’ leadership group for the season prior to the game. All three toured with the Lambs last year and were vital figures throughout the season both on and off the field and will likely be son once again this season.
Indeed on Sunday so that proved, despite a 46-24 loss to the Exiles. Trundley was named man of the match, while Jones pushed him close, as did Dean Close second row Harvey Dickinson. Bloxham’s Toby Stavley Parker was a real threat from the bench, as was Millfield prop Alfie Gibson, who became a Lamb at the third age-group, adding an U18 cap to his U16 and U14 appearances.
The game itself was probably closer than the result suggests, with the Lambs leaving a few chances out there, however this was a first coming together for the Lambs after their pre-Christmas development days, about which National Director Alex Laybourne paid tribute to the host schools:
“We have had a number of very successful Development Days across the country with huge numbers of players from a vast range of schools showing us just how much talent there is out there on the school circuit.”
“With six different venues across the country hosting at various times it has been hugely positive and shows only good things about the future of the game. Thanks must go to Colston’s School, Reed’s School, Oakham RFC, Woodouse Grove School, Maidenhead RFC and Worksop College for hosting this years development days and making it possible for so many boys to have the opportunity to showcase their Fast and Free ability.”
The Lambs are in action again on Sunday at the Richmond Athletic Ground, facing London Scottish at 12.15pm, before fixtures against Crawshay’s Welsh on the 9th February and Boys Club of Wales on the 17th.
After that it is onto tour, heading to South Africa on Thursday 4th April and arriving back in the UK on Monday 15th April.
As ever with the Lambs it should be an enjoyable tour both on and off the field, with plenty of revision thrown into the mix too to ensure those all important exams in June are taken care of.
Tour really begins on the 5th April when the party arrives in the Graham Hotel in Grahamstown and it is straight into revision before a training session at Kingswood College. The Lambs will be in the Graham for six nights.
The first game takes place the following day, Saturday 6th ahead of a game drive at the Kwantu Game Reserve the following day. The schedule keeps up a high pace with the second game on tour taking place on Monday 8th April before a beach recovery day on Tuesday 9th and the third fixture of the festival at Kingswood College, which hosts all three of these first games, on Wednesday 10th.
From there it is off to Mossel Bay on Thursday 11th before a transfer to Cape Town on Friday 12th, where Table Mountain will be on the agenda early on before an evening at the V&A Waterfront.
Saturday 13th sees the Lambs’ final game of the tour and it is a belter, as they take on Western Province following a morning at Robben Island. The tour is then rounded off with the traditional big end of tour dinner before the squad flies back to England overnight the following day.
As ever with the Lambs tours, it looks likely to be the trip of a lifetime.
ISRFC Lambs Season Schedule:
Sunday 13th January – Lambs 24-46 Irish Exiles
Sunday 20th January – Lambs v London Scottish (RAG, 12.15pm)
Saturday 9th February – Lambs v Crawshays Welsh (KO & Venue TBC)
Sunday 17th February – Lambs v Boys Club of Wales (KO & Venue TBC)
Thursday 4th April – Tour Departs
Saturday 6th April – Lambs v Festival 1 (Kingswood College)
Monday 8th April – Lambs v Festival 2 (Kingswood College)
Wednesday 10th April – Lambs v Festival 3 (Kingswood College)
Saturday 13th April – Lambs v Western Province
Monday 15th April – Tour Returns