The Lambs concluded the U16 Colwyn Bay Festival with a valiant effort against a strong Scotland Blues side at Stadiwm Zip World on Sunday, going down 43-19.
The Scottish side had eased through their opening matches with comfortable victories over a Cardiff Blues Development XV and RGC, but they found themselves tested by a free-flowing and exuberant Lambs side.
After the Scots had raced powerfully into a 12-0 lead, Maxime Findley (New Hall) surged up field from a quick tap penalty. Another Scottish infringement soon followed, and Findley picked an excellent line off scrum half Pierce O’Toole (Harrow) to score the Lambs’ opening try, which was duly converted by James Webster (Epsom).
The Lambs then began to tire, with injuries to several players taking their toll, and the clinical Scots capitalised, scoring three tries in quick succession to extend their half-time lead to 31-7.
Despite Scotland introducing a raft of fresh substitutes after the break, the Lambs re-gathered, and produced some scintillating attacking Rugby to alarm their international opponents. James Webster (Epsom) marked his appointment as captain for the day with another superb solo score after a fine offload by Stephen Bonnett (Pangbourne), converting his own try to bring the score to 31-12.
Webster then turned provider, slicing through the Scottish midfield from a scrum and producing a sumptuous one-handed offload to allow winger Will Brooke-Webb (King’s Taunton) to cross for his third try in as many matches.
The impressive Scots replied with two tries of their own, once again displaying the fast-paced, wide attack that served their senior side so well at times in the Six Nations, and after further injuries to Lambs players, the game finished 43-19.
Reflecting on the game and the tour as a whole, Lambs U16 National Manager Robin Hardman remained upbeat: “Playing three games in eight days against three very talented Scotland sides was inevitably going to pose a significant challenge to our boys, but the coaching team could not be happier with the manner in which they have seized the opportunity.”
“We attacked beautifully in the second half, combining wit, creativity, and ambition, and the boys are all delighted with how they played against the strongest of the three Scotland sides.”
“Their progress over the course of the week has been remarkable. We have tried to give them as many opportunities for leadership as possible, and much of that was in evidence today as they repeatedly unlocked the Scottish defence with set-piece moves and an attacking alignment than was entirely of their own creation.”
“We had three focuses going into the tour – rugby, revision, and relationships – and I think the boys have embraced each of them magnificently. They have played three games of high-class international rugby, revised for four or five hours every day, and forged friendships that will last well beyond their involvement with the Lambs. My thanks go to all of them, and my colleagues Kei Bergh and Andrew Jarvis, for their part in making this such a special week.”
Full Time: ISRFC Lambs 19-43 Scotland Blues U16s
Lambs of the Tour: Sam Smedley (St John’s Leatherhead) and Toby Warren (New Hall)
Players of the Tour: James Webster (Epsom College) and Will Brooke-Webb (King’s Taunton)
ISRFC Lambs U16 XV:
15 Dylan Evans (Millfield), 14 Will Brooke-Webb (King’s College Taunton, vc), 13 Harvey Graham (Berkhamsted), 12 Ollie Andrews-Hirons (Pangbourne College), 11 Solomon Boon (King’s Ely), 10 James Webster (Epsom College, captain), 9 Pierce O’Toole (Harrow), 1 Toby Tyson (Cranleigh), 2 Kodie Holloway (Framlingham College), 3 Carlson White (Uppingham), 4 Joe Jenner (Reigate Grammar), 5 Henry Mair (Wisbech Grammar), 6 Marcus Marchant (Dulwich College), 7 Sam Smedley (St John’s Leatherhead, vc), 8 Stephen Bonnett (Pangbourne College).
Replacements: 16 Maxime Findley (New Hall), 17 Toby Warren (New Hall).