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RGS hold on to the win despite Ampleforth late fight back

Both teams in this fixture have not enjoyed stellar starts to the season, but with both coming close in most of their losses it was still seen that this would be a match to savour.

RGS started brightest, even after conceding a penalty in the first minute from poor kick retention. 0-3 Ampleforth. 

A feature of the games was the RGS forward power and in particular their front row.  This was highlighted early in the contest when a well worked lineout maul enabled hooker Will Haigh to finish off his teammates hard work to teak RGS into a 5-3 lead. 

RGS’ pack dominance began to tell, as after holding out an Ampleforth attack they again used a driving maul to great effect to get close to the tryline. Pick and go’s round the corner brought a gap for second row Alex Molyneux to snaffle the opportunity and make the score 12-3 with a conversion from stand-in fly half Jonno Wilkes.  

A lack of clinical finishing kept Ampleforth in touching distance as on three occasions in the first half wing Mike McArdle was unmarked with the line in sight only for either a poor pass or wrong choice of where to attack from the half backs meant that the score remained 12-3 at Half time.

In the second half Ampleforth began to pose a greater attacking threat, but RGS held firm under the red tide with great defence from the likes of man of the match Gus Antons and skipper Will Harrison.

After more good forward drives and dominance at scrum time, scrum half Bruno Smith was able to dart over from close range, converted by Wilkes to make the scores 19-3.

A couple of injuries and niggles for RGS forced a reshuffle in the back line, and indiscipline began to creep into their game. This allowed Ampleforth to snatch a couple of well-worked tries in the last 10 minutes to leave the score 19-17 with only a minute remaining.

However RGS were able to hold firm and confirm their victory at the end, the pack supremacy summed up by two crunching hits from Joe Young and Will Harrison to kill off the game.

RGS can savour a great win for RGS and now the aim is to push on with renewed confidence with a NatWest Cup game against Gatehead College on Wednesday and then St Joseph’s Festival on Saturday and Sunday.

Report via Andy Watt, DoR, RGS Newcastle

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