U14 Tour Report

Under 14s On Tour

Sunday 8 April 2012, Hilversum International Festival.

Played 4 won 2 lost 2

Still a little jaded after another early wake-up call and with a couple of players feeling the effects of a bug, we set off from our base in Rotterdam for the tournament in Hilversum. The weather was bright and sunny where the forecast had us expecting wind and rain.

The organisation and facilities were outstanding, the structure of the pools less so.

On the continent, for reasons best known to them, they play minis U13, Cubs U15, and Juniors U17, as mixed 2 year age groups.

When we saw Old Beccehamians in our pool we expected to be playing their U14, instead it was their U15 side (Winners of the Kent Cup the week before.).

We discovered that we were in a group that could have players who were 15+ when we had some boys who are still 13. As we know at U14 there can be massive differences in size and development and that would only be compounded in this situation.

Consequently we took the decision not to play Beccs.

We gauged that the local sides would at least have a mix of ages and sizes as well as …girls!!!

We would still have our work cut out but this is tour rugby.

The first game against Combination Noord Nederland pitted the boys against a team that had a couple of big runners and it was one of these that bundled over for a try in the first half.  TJs were holding their own but were just unable to get the last pass to hand to release their own runners.  Just before the end of the half a period of sustained pressure saw Brad just denied a score, but in the second half close team work saw the ball in Paddy’s hands and he ran in two tries, both converted, that gave TJs the win. 

Having scratched the game against Beccs we looked for a fill in game against another of the UK U14 sides that were in the same position as us. Our old friends Penallta were there as were Ashford. We played Ashford and beat them in a shortened game.

We took the decision to play the Musselborough game and came off second best, mostly due to the ill discipline of the Musselborough players.  A try in each half gave them the win although the boys played supremely well stepping up to the physical challenge.

Luxemburg RFC coached by a Scot had been impressive in their games and were more of a physical match for TJs.  The game was end to end stuff save that Luxemburg converted their chances into points while denying TJs.  Matters were not helped when in close succession both Paddy and Henry were yellow carded for supposed high tackles.  The game ending in a 21-0 defeat.

Whilst the overall result was disappointing and I would make serious calls to change the structure of the Cubs pool, the boys were tremendous. They came together as a touring side and stood together not backing down against the bigger opposition.

The tour in other respects was a resounding success with calls for a tour next year, perhaps to Italy.

Tour Party. Abrahams E, Ankjaer P, Bradnam C, Brittain A, Brittain S, Camporeale D, Conyers B, Cotter O, Eeles O, Goldsmith F, Gray T, Harris E, Hobden S,  Jackson A, Lintott A, Olner H, Palmer D, Ridley L, Warwick-Browne B, (“Adults” Abrahams T, Ankjaer C, Conyers D, Gray N, Lintott A, Olner R)

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