Another enthralling and entertaining encounter between the Independent Schools LAMBS National XV and the Irish Exiles saw nine tries, the lead change hands five times and yet another last minute kick to win the game.
It was the LAMBS who eventually came out on top for the second year in a row, a George Hartson (Wycliffe) try converted by Tom Pittman (Kings College Taunton).
The game, hosted at Aylesbury RFC on their impressive new 3G pitch, started at a frantic pace with the ball moving between the two wide channels as both teams looked to play expansive rugby.
Despite numerous line breaks early on it took until the 12th minute before the deadlock was broken, Milo Linney (Uppingham School), who was a handful all day, making a break before putting Man of the Match Didi Vidal-Adegun (Bishop’s Stortford College) over in the left hand corner.
The lead didn’t last long as just four minutes later the Exiles inside centre punched through and allowed the Exiles to score a converted try under the posts and take a 5 – 7 lead – one which also didn’t last long.
The LAMBS responded immediately and blindside flanker Ben Mallett (Millfield) went over in the right corner. The unconverted score meant that the narrow lead was leveled on the half hour mark when the Exiles kicked a simple penalty to take the score to 10 – 10.
With half time approaching there was no let up in the pace, and eventually Henry Wright (Queen Ethelburga’s) went over in the left hand corner following another break from Vidal-Adegun, again unconverted, to give the LAMBS the lead at half time.
The second half saw a raft of replacements on both sides. This, however, did not affect the speed or shape of play. In the opening stages the LAMBS very impressive captain Matt Harris (Berkhamsted) made a line break and put the LAMBS on the Exiles line and replacement scrum half Sam Newton (Durham) sniped over to extend the lead to 20 – 10.
The game then continued to be played at its high tempo with possession exchanging hands regularly and numerous line breaks being made, before the Exiles took the opportunity to get themselves back in the game. An unconverted try with 20 minutes left brought them to within a score, before two more tries by the replacement left winger in quick succession flipped the game on its head and saw the Exiles lead 20 – 25 with only 8 minutes to go.
Both sets of coaching staff had seen similar events unfold in previous years, and as the minutes ran down and tiredness kicked in potential opportunities were spurned.
However, both sides continued to play open rugby and eventually Vidal-Adegun made a half break before feeding Harris who ran clear of the Exiles defence. He was dragged down short of the line and as the ball went wide from the breakdown the LAMBS were awarded a penalty for a deliberate knock on. This then saw a big carry from Hugo Brown (Felsted) before George Hartson (Wycliffe) used all of his power to dive over the line and draw the scores level.
Pittman was the man tasked with the decisive kick, which he calmly put between the posts to take the lead 27 – 25. There was time for the kick off, however the LAMBS secured the ball and despite getting themselves to back within 10meters of the Exiles try line there were no more points on offer.
An entertaining game finished in a similar way to the last two encounters, with only a kick the difference.
Speaking following the game, the Lambs’ National Director, Alex Laybourne, said:
“This fixture is always a great way to start the season and the boys put in one huge shift. The Exiles were fantastic again and made it really tough for us. From a LAMBS perspective, having only met up together this morning they put together some really impressive Fast and Free rugby, created a lot of opportunities, scored some impressive tries and also showed the ability to fight back and play to the death. It is certainly a pleasing start to the season and we are looking forward to more of the same against Crawshay’s in two weeks time.”
Full Time: ISRFC Lambs 27-25 Irish Exiles
Photo Credit: Jim Laybourne
|ISRFC Lambs XV|
|1||Didi Vidal-Adegun||Bishop’s Stortford College|
|2||Matthew Gallagher||Kirkham Grammar|
|3||Oscar Hardman||Hymers College|
|9||Tobias Allday||Royal Hospital School|
|13||Joshua Hart||Denstone College|
|15||Henry Wright||Queen Ethelburga’s|
|17||Tommie Collingwood||Denstone College|
|20||George Hartson||Wycliffe College|
|22||Tom Pittman||King’s College, Taunton|
|23||Daniel Marsik||Kent College, Canterbury|
|Irish Exiles U18|
|2||Jamie McConnell||Bristol Grammar|
|3||Finley Quaid||Leicester Grammar|
|4||Lewis Saliba||Beechen Cliff|
|5||Bill Rush||King’s Grantham|
|6||Rory Sloan||KES Bath|
|7||Albert Dwan||Wellington College|
|10||Niall Finn||Wimbledon College|
|14||Ciaran Gaffney||Doncaster Colts|
|15||Aaron O’Sullivan||Henley College|
|16||Jamie Roberts||Henley College|
|17||Josh Dunne||Denstone College|
|18||Adam Smith||Stow RFC|
|19||Oscar Reilly||St George’s College, Weybridge|
|21||Louis Ayliffe||Beechen Cliff|
|22||Aidan Leeson||Rugby Lions|
|23||Kieran Dunne||St Ambrose College|