Yesterday we finished 2014 with a great win at Altrincham Kersal. The last 12 months has been up and down for the Under 11s but yesterday, and the two last games at the Sedburgh festival, showed what this squad is capable of. Our aim is to build a team of players who all have the core skills to compete on a rugby pitch when we move to one team rugby in the coming years. We want balanced players who can pass both ways, tackle with both shoulders, ruck with good body position, be confident with the ball in hand and play what’s in front of them. A core set of skills means every player makes a contribution to the team and every player enjoys their rugby safely. We have an immense amount of natural rugby talent in this squad and when they are in tune they are unbeatable. They are all working hard to play in tune much more often and follow the simple plans we put in place. Attitude in recent weeks has seen a huge improvement and the boys are really throwing themselves into the task, training hard and coming up with good results. If yesterday’s game had been played 6 weeks ago heads would have dropped, arguing would have started and we would have gone home losers with a bunch of unhappy players. Yesterday these boys knuckled down, worked as a team and worked together to bring about a good win. There were no crossed words when tackles were missed or the opposition scored just encouragement and composure. They held the line well and individually made their tackles when they needed to. Each player executing a one-on-one tackle when they knew they were the last man in defence. They all stood up and did it for the team. In attack, spreading out and moving the ball into space is what we coach, and the tries we score, come mostly from good play and not poor opposition defence. Offloading early to players in more space has been hard to grasp but each week we get better, and as our core skills have grown, our ball retention has improved and we have dominated the opposition. Thanks to all the parents who bring the boys along and brave the weather. Keep the encouragement up and the positive messages we are giving to the boys. So a great end to the 2014 for the Under 11s and let’s keep building this team, building our core skills and upholding our values in 2015. Happy Christmas boys and Happy Christmas to all at MRC from the Under 11s.