The ISRFC Lambs lost their second game of their South American tour on Tuesday, going down 52-7 to a very strong Buenos Aires Select XV.
It followed a tough defeat to a Uruguay XV two days ago, in what is undoubtedly the most challenging Lambs tour, in terms of playing standard, that there has ever been.
It is to the Lambs credit though that they have been staying in touch with what are essentially national squads, particularly when you consider that over in Wales and Ireland right now there are three RFU England U18 sides in action, with England U18 and England U18 A competing in the U18 5 Nations Festival alongside Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Italy in Wales, while England Counties U18 are playing alongside Ireland U18 A and France U18 Poles Espoires in the U18 Tri-Nations Festival in Dublin.
With the Lambs also facing such tough opposition, it only serves to demonstrate the sheer depth of quality in English schools rugby.
On Tuesday, the Centre Naval was the venue again. Buenos Aires XV are in the middle of their national Championship, and they showed their defensive strengths and an attacking cutting edge in the first half. 10 minutes of pressure from the Independent Schools saw no reward, despite a number of line breaks and forays into the BAXVs 22. They were then punished by three turnover tries in 5 minutes, two by scrum half and Man of the Match Marguery Lucas, who set up the third. The BAXV used this momentum to score two more tries before half time, through retained possession and some hard running by their tight 5 players. The midway score was 0 – 31.
At half time there were a flurry of changes by the Independent Schools team, and despite a try immediately from kick off to extend the deficit to 0 – 38, they started to gain some momentum. Strong running from Charlie Wilder (Blundell’s) and Jack Starkey (Queen Ethelburger’s) gave some front foot ball to release a back line starting to click. It was indeed this style of play that led to the Independent Schools first try, with Dan Ali (Cheltenham College) and Oliver Short (Wisbech Grammar) providing the strong running in the wider channels to allow James Hudson (Felsted) to release Bloxham’s George Cassel in the corner. Hudson converted the kick to take the game to 7 – 38. The Independent Schools continued to pressure and more tries appeared on the cards, however a mixture of stern defence and simple errors stopped them adding to their score. As the heat continued to rise the BAXV capitalised on their greater experience of the conditions as they scored two more tries in the last 5 minutes, final score 7 – 52.
It was a hard fought game by both sides, with BAXV showing a more clinical and physical edge. The Independent Schools side will now regroup and move towards their final fixture of the tour, where they will aim to turn performances into results.
Unfortunately for the Lambs, there were set to be two more fixtures, however their toughest fixture of the tour, against Argentina U18s has had to be cancelled. The game, which was scheduled to take place today (Thursday) was cancelled due to ‘Los Pumitas’ ending their training camp early.
In a statement, the ISRFC Lambs Chairman, Chris Terry, said:
“ Regrettably ‘Los Pumitas’ U18s have decided to end their training camp early due to factors beyond our control; therefore the fixture will not go ahead tomorrow (31st March).”
“However, despite the sad loss of our second international fixture on tour we feel that their decision is actually in the best interests of our players, as we have had a large number of minor injuries over the last two games, due to the high standard of the fixtures. Thus, although regrettable, the chance to rest, recuperate and focus on the last game is indeed the best decision and in the best interests of our players.”
The news therefore means that the Lambs’ next game will be their final game of the tour. It takes place on Saturday at 15.00 local time against San Isidro Club.
Full Time: ISRFC Lambs 7-52 Buenos Aires
ISRFC Lambs XV v Buenos Aires Select XV:
1 Ed Linkogel (Woodhouse Grove School)
2 Jack Starkey (Queen Ethelburga’s)
3 Mike Galsworthy (Felsted School)
4 Harry Johnson (Ashville College)
5 Eddie Goss (Wellingborough)
6 Sam Bloomer (Churcher’s College)
7 Louis Fraser (Woodhouse Grove School)
8 George Cassell (Bloxham School)
9 James Costin-Pratt (Pangbourne College)
10 Toby Buckland (The Royal Hospital School)
11 Mason Knowles (Woodhouse Grove School)
12 George Hitchcock (c) (Felsted School)
13 Issac Rayworth (Plymouth College)
14 Euan Friend (Blundell’s School)
15 Arthur Friend (Blundell’s School)
ISRFC Lambs Tour Fixtures:
Sunday 27th March – Lost 12-55 v Uruguay XV
Tuesday 29th March – Lost 7-52 Buenos Aires Select XV
Thursday 31st March – Argentina XV – Cancelled
Saturday 2nd April – San Isidro Club, 15.00