A pulsating game between The Independent Schools National XV (The LAMBS) and Irish Exiles finished 15-13 to the LAMBS, as the boys in pink recorded a remarkable comeback from 5-13 down with six minutes to go.
In a game always evenly balanced and full of running rugby it was no surprise that the first 25 minutes saw plenty of attacking play, with many opportunities for both sides to cross the whitewash. However, it took a superb line run by center Jacob Weightman (Durham School) to open up the deadlock, which saw him glide through untouched. The conversion was missed and only minutes later the LAMBS gave away a penalty in front of their posts, the Exiles took the points and the game went into half time 5-3 to the LAMBS.
In the second half both teams started to hit their stride and the game opened up. The Irish Exiles took advantage of this and a five-minute spell saw them score a catch and drive try followed quickly by a turnover try from kick off, and open up a 5-13 lead.
These scores spurred both teams on, the LAMBS spending time on the Exiles line but failing to execute, before the ball moved swiftly and cleanly to the other end of the field and the LAMBS try line. With six minutes to go the game appeared out of reach. However, a good turnover was fed blind and Oliver Short (Wisbech Grammar) raced 80 meters down the right wing, before being pulled down just short of the line. Strong support play allowed captain Nick Atkinson (Giggleswick) an opportunity at the line, before offloading to Henry Wills (Stamford) to claim the credit and dive over, the conversion setting up a frantic final 3 minutes with the score at 12-13.
The restart was claimed by the LAMBS but quickly turned over by the impressive Irish Exiles back row. A penalty to the Exiles appeared once again to be the end, however pressure in the middle of the park from man of the match Will Vaughan (Pangbourne College) created a turnover, which was fly-hacked down the field and chased valiantly by Joe Treigaart (Reed’s). Although the ball wasn’t grounded the referee pulled Irish Exiles back for taking the player off the ball and the last play of the match was a penalty 30 meters out in front of the posts. Number 8 Sam Hudson (St Peter’s School) was the man tasked with the final job and calmly put the ball between the posts.
LAMBS National Director Alex Laybourne said after the game:
“This game is fantastic every year, and this time was no different. The fixture was played fully in the spirit of the game, and the standard and style of rugby was a joy to watch. Two years ago we lost in an almost identical way to how we won today – it is great to come away with the result, but today was a brilliant showcase all round, and Irish Exiles played a huge part in that.”
Full Time: ISRFC LAMBS 15-13 Irish Exiles
|ISRFC Lambs U18 to face Irish Exiles U18|
|1||Nick Atkinson (c)||Giggleswick School|
|2||Jack Starkey||Queen Ethelburga’s College|
|3||Ben Parker||RGS Newcastle|
|4||Alec Hampden-Smith||Mount Kelly|
|5||Reece McCarthy||Trinity School|
|6||Henry Wills||Stamford School (1T)|
|7||Samuel Bloomer||Churcher’s College|
|8||Sam Hudson||St Peter’s School, York (1C, 1P)|
|9||Charles Guthrie||Yarm School|
|12||Will Vaughan||Pangbourne College|
|13||Jacob Weightman||Durham School (1T)|
|14||Harry Sagar||Bradford Grammar School|
|15||Will Hughes||Berkhamsted School|
|17||Oliver Short||Wisbech Grammar School|
|19||Harry Johnson||Ashville College|
|20||George Cassell||Bloxham School|
|21||James Costin-Pratt||Pangbourne College|
|22||Callum Corbett||Stamford School|
Irish Exiles U18:
15 Conor Wharton 14 Adam Williamson 13 Joshua Hart 12 Yannick Marriot 11 Johnny Saville 10 Ciaran Poynter 9 Alex Crocker 1 Fergus O’Brien 2 Jamie McConnell 3 Ryan Bodkin 4 Lewis Saliba 5 Rory Sloan 6 Chris McCann 7 Jonjo Fanning 8 Grayson Maguire.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Woodward 17 Rory Cinnamond 18 Liam Kirkpatrick 19 Dan Edgar 20 Bryn McCall 21 Aodhan Walsh 23 Liam Wharton.