Frampton made the trip to Ross on Wye in Herefordshire (how does that work?) on Saturday afternoon for their first away game of the season. The weather was hot and sunny with conditions more suited to spending an afternoon on the Wye sipping something cold and fizzy. The pitch was firm and well grassed. Perfect conditions for a fast paced game of rugby.
Frampton were hampered very early on when centre Joel Brasher-Jones retired with a hamstring injury. Joel was replaced by Liam Plant who slotted in on the wing, with Isaac Stell, a late call up himself, moving to outside centre.
Ross started much the stronger of the two teams and put Frampton under a great deal of pressure for the first twenty minutes. Frampton weathered the storm well and took the lead with a well struck long range penalty by Lewis Oakley. It wasn’t long before Frampton were pressing again. Ross lost a prop to the sin bin for persistent infringement. Frampton chose to scrummage five metres out and were marching the Ross forwards back towards their own line when surprisingly, the ball was released to the backs and moved quickly to Oakley who sliced through the home defence to score a good try, which he then converted.
Frampton made a mess of the kick off. Déjà vu? Ross then put the Frampton line under immense pressure with Frampton defending manfully and repelling many drives. Frampton eventually won a penalty at a breakdown and were able to clear their lines to half way. From the line out the ball was moved swiftly to Isaac Stell who stepped his opponent and then out-paced the other defenders to run in a fine try from fifty metres. Oakley converted. Half time arrived shortly afterwards with Frampton leading 17 to nil.
The second half started much the same as the first half with Ross forcing Frampton to defend for long periods. Frampton eventually got control of the ball to make their way upfield for inside centre Morgan Stiles to score a good try at the posts with a strong outside break. Oakley converted. Ross came back at Frampton and after a period of sustained pressure they scored an unconverted try in the corner.
Frampton went looking for the bonus point score and following a series of drives for the line, Frampton were rewarded when No.8 Harry Blakes split the defence to run in a good try under the posts. Oakley converted.
Once again, Frampton made a complete hash of the kick off which gave Ross both possession and field position from which they were able to score their second unconverted try of the afternoon in the corner. This was the last score of the game. Final score 31-10 to Frampton.
This was a very good performance by a young and inexperienced Frampton side. They defended manfully when they needed to and turned defence into attack at every opportunity. There are definitely things to work on, but these should not detract from the overall performance. Isaac Stell was outstanding in the centre, but coach Andy Jarrett quite rightly nominated flanker Zak Smith as the Frampton man of the match for being a pest to the opposition all afternoon and for his line out management.