A Squad Give Rosslyn Park a Fright
HRFC U13s | Match report
A late KO at Rosslyn Park was expected to mean a long day for the A squad, especially when looking at our last visit - a chastening 0-50 loss - a few weeks back.
Our main objectives for the day were to get over the white line with a try of our own, to narrow the gap against excellent opposition and - above all - to start the game strongly so that we kept within touching distance.
Famous last words. Within 14 mins, we were 30-0 down as we lost shape and discipline from the very start, handing RP the initiative and several situations to get 3 on 1 down the wing - our game plan of sticking to our positions on the pitch and trusting our team-mates went out the window. At that point, Sam hobbled off with a recurring foot injury that clearly needs rest, with Keiran replacing him at #8; we shuffled a couple of positions, notably bringing Isaac in off the wing and bringing on Finn.
Facing an embarassing scoreline, Hertford - like they did in the last encounter - woke up. The front row had actually competed well despite the scoreline and whilst defending their own 5m line, strong rucking saw Noah pinch the ball, which was passed out to Isaac who saw a gap and galloped through, gathering steam and brushing off a few lame attempts to tackle. The resulting try injected belief in the team that they weren't playing super-humans and whilst RP did respond with a further try (making the score 40-5 at that stage), this was against the run of play and somewhat fortunate in terms of a lucky bounce. Hertford responded with Isaac finishing off a great team try that involved 8 players. A missed infringement by the referee (who was otherwise excellent) handed another score to RP.
Undeterred, Hertford scored probably the try of the match through Joe, following several back row switched and forward pick-n-go moves. At this point our general approach of moving the ball, forward phase play and sheer aggression was winning the day - two of their star players found themselves on their backsides for probably the first time in a long while, courtesy of Michael-Antony and George.
HT: Rosslyn Park U13 A 45-15 Hertford U13 A
Hertford were out of the traps fast at the start of the second half and were the dominant force. We scored a quick try through Isaac, following some excellent rucking and back line play, before Seb took a clothes line tackle and Ollie succumbed to a late hit, which disrupted us a little. Sam had seen the start of the recovery from the sidelines and had re-entered the fray. In fact, all the boys taking a breather and acting as replacements wanted to get back on the pitch, which was fantastic to see.
Still the swagger remained with a further score from Isaac and one from Charlie, meaning we had closed the gap to 45-30 with 4 unanswered tries. RP knew they were in a battle and tried to slow the game at every opportunity. We continued to press, playing a high quality level of rugby that stemmed from great communication and decisions by those players on the pitch.
In pressing for more tries, we were having to try different moves and to take more risks; with 5 mins to play, RP stole the ball and went over for an undeserved score, which was repeated as the full time whistle blew. Notwithstanding, Hertford had won the second half. In fact, ignoring that first 14 min period, we had won the game from there.
The referee and RP head coach - as well as several opposition parents - were full of praise, not just with the gutsy fightback, but by the nature of the flair in the play of the Hertford team.
FT: Rosslyn Park U13 A 55-30 Hertford U13 A
As coaches and management, this was an extremely proud day, to see the boys go toe-to-toe with one of the best U13 sides in the country. There is huge potential here and we look forward to seeing these boys develop further in the second half of the season.