Under 16 rugby report – May 30, 2015

June 1, 2015

Under 16 v St Kevin’s College

U16’s travelled to SKC on Saturday to play the top of the table team that were coming off a massive win against Scotch 69-0. Given the number of Year 9’s in our team it was always going to be a tough ask for us to get up and win. I asked the boys to think of themselves and the school; each member took the field aware that a capitulation, or Scotch type performance, was not an option.

SPC secured the ball from the kick off and managed to retain possession for the opening minutes of the game, as a result of this sustained possession SKC conceded a penalty leading to SPC kicking for touch. Unfortunately our kick never found that touch and the resulted possession from SKC lead to their opening try. A valuable lesson for the day was the importance of our kicks finding their touch!

From the next kick-off SKC again put our defence under sustained pressure. We again hit them hard in defence and won a turn over through forcing a knock-on. The resulting scrum gave us an opportunity to clear our line but again some poor handling lead to SKC pressure on our back line leading to a turn over and another try to SKC. The score after 15-minutes was 14-0; SKC unlike other teams took full advantage of a couple of small SPC mistakes.

SPC dug in for the remainder of the half really dominating in the forwards and holding our own in the backline defence. When we had possession we used it well but the SKC line, being that year older, made it hard to penetrate. It was great to see our Jockey Defence plan, for the overlap, being put into play a number of time especially through Patrick O’Leary who stopped a certain try by forcing a three-on-one situation into a handling error. SPC conceded one more try in the half through a defensive error on the wing; this highlighted the importance of coming up as a line to shut down space.

Half time score was 19-0. At half time I commended the boys on a fantastic half of Rugby. But for a few very small mistakes it could have easily been all tied up with no score on the board. – I emphasised the SKC weakness in the forwards and encouraged our boys to contest every ruck to force turnovers and get some possession.

The second half was some of the best school boys rugby I’ve watched. SKC continued to pressure our line but we couldn’t be broken. On a number of occasions, probably five or six, SPC forced the a turn over or SKC into a penalty. Each time we then tried to run it out of our 22m, which was probably the wrong option (kick next time) but made for great and entertaining Rugby. SPC kept up this series of attack and defence for 17-minutes before conceding a try! Was impressive defence to watch.

I rolled a few changes for injuries etc after this try. We looked a little spent and quickly conceded two more tries both through kicks over the top of rucks that really sat up for hard running SKC backs. So at 39-0 with five minutes to go I asked each player to stand-up and not let what had been a great performance turn into a disappointing blow out. SPC then regained possession from the kick off and then made sustained progress up in the SKC half, this resulted in a series of penalties to SPC and an eventual a try scored by Jesse on the back of some great team work.

Final score 39-5 (with the last try to SPC)

It’s hard to pick individuals from a great team effort but Will, Jesse, Leo, Ryan and Joel all had great games. Patrick played close to a full game for the first time and made some great tackles and had a few runs with the ball in hand. Mason ran the ball up hard and Jasper had a great defensive game including a huge run back to regain the ball ahead of anyone else after a kick. Mitch and Aidan both contributed in attack and defence. The team welcomed back Simon after some bad luck with injury and he really bolstered our defence targeting much bigger players on many occasions.

On the technical side it was great to see our lineout function much better, our communication really improve and our defensive structures hold up well.

Finally, we’re on a two year journey as a U16 squad. So don’t get disheartened despite the final score this was a significant positive step forward in our development.