Shire Lose Out to Strong Dundee Team
One of the best team performances of the season not enough to beat strong Dundee side
So much of Sunday's performance against a strong Dundee team on Sunday was pleasing - except for the end result.
In what was a hugely physical encounter, the U15s went toe to toe with a big and determined Dundee team in an excellent and entertaining game.
The match started well for Perth with Alex S being put in to space wide on the left; he rounded the last man and ran in from the half-way line for a well taken try. Dundee responded quickly though, and after a series of questionable penalties levelled the score through one of their big ball carriers. Although the boys were keeping possession well, we were making a few errors due to the intensity of the opposition line-speed and tackling, and this meant we lost good field position on a few occasions. It wasn't long before the home side took the lead with another unconverted try, however the Perth response to going behind was excellent.
In heavy underfoot conditions, Archie, Ross P and Junior were aggressive in their ball carrying and this got us over the gain-line consistently. The ball was also really well protected and recycled as the boys worked their way down the pitch. The more we kept possession, the more dangerous we were looking, and eventually Archie hit a gap, shrugged off a couple of loose tackles and touched down to level the score at 10-10.
Shire were right back at Dundee again from the kick-off with some smart handling across the back-line; Ross J and Alex LL carried well and the forwards were quick to provide support at the breakdown. From a scrum 15m out from the Dundee try-line, the boys called a set move which worked a treat, as Aedan ran a loop around Blair before shifting the ball through ALex LL to Jonathan who scored in the corner. The Dundee defence looked bewildered. The boys were thrilled to score from a move they practiced for the first time at training during the week. With Blair converting, Perth led 17-10.
Dundee levelled the score before half-time with a well taken try from the back of a scrum in the Perth 22.
The home side strengthened up from the bench in the second-half, and it seemed to make a big difference as they started to get an edge up front, they also introduced real pace out on the wings. Perth continued to defend bravely when they had to; Alex S tackled superbly throughout the game and let nothing past. In the pack, Angus C did a great job filling-in in the front-row against a big Dundee front three, and Forbes, Archie and Ross P were excellent at the break-down.
The game continued being a really competitive and fiercely fought contest, but unfortunately, Dundee were moving the scoreboard forward, and we weren't. The hosts were clinical at exploiting small Perth errors, and slowly they forced their way ahead in the game through some big carries and then playing with width. They added three further tries, with their final score of the game being a length of the pitch run from a quickly taken line-out near their own goal-line following some great Perth pressure.
There was a feeling of injustice at some of the decisions, particularly at the breakdown, however the boys showed superb commitment and great resolve to keep fighting all the way to the end, and they can be proud of their performance, which despite defeat was actually one of their best of the season in terms of attitude, fight and determination. Although there were plenty of mistakes, they boys did a lot of things really well against a very good team.
So the Conference season finishes with a Won 5 Lost 5 record; perhaps a little disappointing after such a strong start, but a massive step forward for this group of boys who as U13s won no Conference games, to U14 where we won just one!
Final Score: Dundee Rugby 36-17 Perthshire
Team: Angus C, Daniel, Josh, Junior, Ruaraidh, Archie, Forbes, Ross P, Aedan, Blair, Ross J, Alex LL, Jonathan, Angus DP, Alex S, Saul, Barnaby, Tom,
Man of the Match:
1. Alex S - brilliant performance defensively at full-back which was full of bravery, also took his try superbly
2. Archie Fitchner-Irvine - carried brilliantly and the turnover king
3. The Back-line - for their brilliantly executed set-play resulting in the team's third try