Rugby sages love nothing better than to trot out that familiar old maxim – ‘Speed Kills’.
It’s a piece of touchline wisdom repeated down the decades from Murrayfield to Manawatu. And rarely can it have been more aposite than as a succinct analysis of LSFC Under 18s stunning demolition of Cheshunt on Sunday.
The five try victory saw the Young Lions complete their league programme undefeated and underlined their season-long dominance of a division won at a canter. Sunday’s game was played on Cheshunt’s spanking new state of the art 4G pitch – a surface perfectly suited to the Scottish style of play – expansive, high tempo and all action.
The pattern was set from the start with captain Taino Goveia dictating play and clearly determined to extract maximum benefit from the artificial turf.
The opening try after just eight minutes was a signal of what was to come. With the physically combative hosts on the attack the Scottish back row won a turnover in their own 22. Fly half Goveia spun the ball right to centre Dan Masters who accellerated through a gap gaining fully 30 metres. Goveia, expertly tracking Masters’s progress, ran a perfect support line to take an inside pass and scorch away from the defence to score from 40metres out. Tom Hamm added the extras.
Scottish doubled their lead at the midpoint of the half with the simplest of scores. A Goveia penalty to the corner, a soaring lineout take from no8 Joachim Ridley-Barker and a plunge over the line by second row Matas Jurevicius. Hamm again slotted the conversion.
From the restart Cheshunt made a miscalculation they kept repeating – kicking the ball down the throat of Jurevicius. It happened no less than four times and on each occasion the giant lock – honoured this season by England Counties – gathered with ease and charged upfield at pace leaving tacklers sprawled on the synthetic surface.
Five minutes later came the try of the match – possibly of the season – and once again it was sheer pace and brilliant link play that created the score.
Goveia, on sparkling form, began the move with a bold arcing run inside his own 22. He outflanked three defenders, then as he was about to be brought down on half way slipped a pass to Hamm who’d come steaming off the right touchline. The winger’s angled run took him clear in an instant and he somewhat generously passed to fullback Richard Anderson who strolled home from the 22.
With the game all but beyond their reach the home side fought back mounting a series of forward drives and eventually smashing over to peg Scottish to a 19-5 half time lead.
After the break Cheshunt resumed their battery of the Scottish line but the visitors’ tackling was resolute and their scrum held firm.
Bonus point try no 4 came from another burst of electric pace from Hamm. Gathering the ball in his own half from a speculative Cheshunt punt he burned past two defenders on the outside before kicking ahead to the 22. Cheshunt’s fullback gathered but was nailed by chasing Scottish forwards and the ball was moved swiftly left for flanker Will Aris to score close to the posts. Lock Hamish Whitear – great all rounder, fluent German speaker but a risible placekicker – made a complete ‘Schweine ohr’ of the conversion.
On the hour, the Lions’ other speedster wingman Ross Fraser completed the champions’ scoring, brilliantly running in from half way after another clean Ridley-Barker line out take and slick transfer by the Scottish backs .
Gutsy to the last, the home side battled back into Scottish territory for a consolation second try from another forward drive in the dying minutes of a thoroughly entertaining game.
Unbeaten in the league! League winners!!! pic.twitter.com/IXUkNDHTqw
— Young Lions (@YoungLions1878) April 16, 2018
Scottish may have been crowned champions a month earlier but this was a fitting end to a perfect league campaign.
Final Score : Cheshunt 10 – 29 LSFC
League record : P5, W5, Pts 24, F138 A28.
Sunday’s squad: Archie Green, Clem Harrison, Ollie Steafel, Hamish Whitear, Matas Jurevicius, Will Aris, Alex Wilson-Benson, Andrew Conder, Joachim Ridley-Barker, Arun Watkins, Taino Goveia, Tom Hamm, Hamish Hardiman, Dan Masters, Ross Fraser, Richard Anderson, Myles Amiyah-Dixon.
Written by Jon Steafel