Match III: Saracens U15 21-v-0 Hertford U15
Having put out our strongest team for the last game with as many of the A squad in as possible and having the benefit of the overhead conditions, it was disappointing that our game management and tactical awareness let us down several times. From the KO Sarries launched the ball into our in-goal area but rather than touch the ball down and take the scrum on halfway we decided to run it out from under our posts. Although exciting, this play cost us position and territory and pinned us firmly in our half. Soon after having won a penalty where we could easily clear our lines our decision making was again confused and we tapped and kicked straight out, conceding possession, territory and handing the initiative to the opposition. From here Sarries launched an attacking move off the lineout with their back line showing slick hands and they went in for an early try (converted 4mins).
From the KO we made another mistake by not playing to the whistle (our kick not going 10m) whereas Sarries continued, taking full advantage of our laxness and got themselves into an excellent field position from which they scored a further try (7mins converted).
The loss of these early tries dented our confidence and with Sarries playing their strongest team with all their PDG players on the pitch it was difficult for Hertford to get back in the game. However, we worked hard and spent a fair amount of time camped in the Sarries 22 but again repeated infringements (slowing the ball down) stopped us from playing with speed and allowed their defence to line us up. The ref had enough and a yellow card followed, surely with one down it would help us and we could get the score we deserved? Unfortunately Sarries were pumped up by having one in the bin, held firm and we could not find a way over the line, eventually we coughed it up, allowing them to clear and work their way back up the field.
Further poor decision making on our own lineout saw us turnover more ball and resulted in some unfortunate bickering among a few forwards due to frustration and lack of execution. The contest effectively ended when we fell asleep at a penalty and a quick move by Sarries saw them go over for the final try of the match, which was converted superbly from the touchline (22mins). 21-0.
There is much to work on in training and in future matches, in particular, our game management, decision making, leadership and attack play. However, It is important to note we had several playing out of position (to cover injuries and numbers) and whilst this ensured all the lads had plenty of game time it also had an effect on our performance.
There were many positives to be had. Our commitment to the tackle was superb, our scrum was solid, rucks and ball carrying were generally good. It was also very encouraging to see some of our players returning from long term injury on the pitch and making important contributions (Callum, Noah M in particular) as well as Macca who is settling in nicely after a season out. Whilst all the players had good moments in the games a special mention to George Parry who put in a big shift!
Overall plenty of positives but also much to improve and work on!
Match Reporter: Andy Medcalf