Under 9’s Update:
THE PERFECT 10! We’re not talking about Jonny Wilkinson, Finn Russell or Dan Carter but the LS U9s who posted 10 wins from 10 at the Richmond festival today. At this age we don’t keep score but there were sufficient mathematicians across the LS Blues and Whites to keep tabs. The boys who represented the club were magnificent with emphatic performances against Richmond, London Welsh, Barnes et al.
Having just transitioned from touch to contact, this was an assured performance and the perfect warm-up prior to our festival next week. The lads ran hard lines, supported one another at the breakdown and defended their line with commitment. Particularly pleasing was the battle of the touchlines with LS minis stepping infield well and maintaining momentum, while routinely bundling opponents out of play and securing critical turnovers.
Mark Tweedie – U9’s Head Coach
Under 10’s Update:
An early season test for the U10s saw two evenly balanced London Scottish squads compete in a local festival at the RAG today. Along with hosts Richmond, London Welsh, Hammersmith and Fulham, and The Bank of England provided teams looking to showcase their newly-acquired rucking and mauling skills, and they did not disappoint.
In the 5 games London Scottish White played, there were many examples of Scottish bringing their physicality and presence to the fore. Two narrow victories over squads from our noisy neighbours were sandwiched by slightly more convincing defeats to our old friends at Hammersmith, who demonstrated a very strong grasp of the new skills, dominating Scottish over the ball at the breakdown and making use of the space out wide with crisp hands and accurate passing.
The final encounter witnessed an exceptional display against London Welsh, where Scottish finally brought together the previous glimpses of skill and determination in a concerted and sustained demonstration of flair and commitment. Throughout the day Fin and Magnus had been at the forefront of the team’s defensive effort, tirelessly covering ground to jackal, rip, and run through their opponents. The reward for their efforts in this fixture was a succession of tries for the team, with Cameron finishing with his trademark panache and speed, Mark and Daniel K bringing their strength to the fore, and Damola capping a fine morning’s work with an absolutely outstanding performance of defensive commitment, tenacity at the breakdown, and intelligent running off Fin’s shoulder to score a well-deserved hat-trick.
London Scottish Blue started the festival with plenty of energy and intent, it was great to see the structures that we have introduced this year being executed and the players keeping their width and depth, which created plenty of opportunities. It was a festival of two halves with the back to back fixtures taking their toll on energy levels as the morning progressed. Two convincing wins against Richmond and London Welsh were followed by a very even match against a second London Welsh side, with the morning concluding with two solid defeats to Bank of England and Hammersmith – both of whom displayed great physicality in the contact area and very direct running with ball in hand. A number of players producing performances worthy of mention; Liam D was back to his try scoring best with some great offensive play, Finlay C made a number of very decisive outside breaks resulting in some superb tries, Frank M was the standout defender on the day with a number of strong tackles and turnovers at both ruck and maul. Special mention must go to Callum D for the tackle of the day and I would argue tackle of the tournament, great courage to tackle a much bigger player front on, to not only dominate the tackle but also forcing a knock on.
This was a really enjoyable fixture, an aperitif to next week’s London Scottish’s super-festival where the squad will need to play as they did in the final game to come away with the spoils. BRING IT ON!!!!!
David Deakin – U10’s Head Coach
Under 11’s update
The London Scottish U11s had their first festival of the season this week – home away from home at Richmond. The competition was fierce with teams from Richmond, London Welsh and Bank of England proving very tough opposition across 5 games. The first two games resulted in disappointing performances and defeats, but a heart to heart between all the players and coaching team after the second game brought about a big improvement in the second half of the competition. Players began making their tackles, hunting together and getting the go-forward which had been lacking in the early games. While the team were unable to record a win, the tries, tackling and improvement they enjoyed after the first two games bode well for next week’s home festival.
Dan Marshall – Assistant Coach U11s
U13s extend winning streak to three with solid 5-11 win away at Harlequins
It was another fabulous day for rugby this past Sunday, 6th October. Despite a deluge of rain overnight, the picturesque ground at St Mary’s University, home ground for Harlequins U13s, was soft yet without puddles. Our 16 healthy and present players meant we’d have 3 rolling subs.
The HRFC coaches drafted a robust session plan to do some joint training together from 10-11am before the match. This worked well with varied games of touch combined with tackling and rucking skills development. The joint training allowed the boys to have some fun and get to know the opposing players a little better, making it a more enjoyable prelude to the heated contest that was to ensue.
The match began with kick off just after 11am under dry blue skies and a light breeze. After some back and forth in the first minute, the ball popped into Axel’s hands and he ran down the left side of the pitch to start the scoring by the second minute.
Several more minutes of intense rugby followed when a solid tackle by Josh, playing in the second row, changed the momentum and direction of the game. Lucas our fly half, found himself in possession of the ball, made some ground and then deftly passed it out to our Number 8, Axel, who again ran it down the left side and in for the second try in 5 minutes.
Quins answered back quickly with a try in the 6th minute, tightening the score to 1-2. This was immediately countered as Axel ran wide with the ball to the right until he was trapped between the touch line and one of the Quins keen tacklers. Jackson, our other Lock, showed the importance of close support play as he received the short flick pass on the opponents side of the halfway line and he ran down the right to extend the Scottish lead to 1-3.
Injuries to Josh, and Ben, who started today at prop, saw them both come off. Fortunately they returned to the match later with both getting in some solid tackles and runs with the ball.
Oli, our other prop, started the next phase with a great clear out (one of many) which resulted in George, the inside centre, getting the ball, and picking his way past the defence to bring the score to 1-4.
Our newest player, Henry, then came on the pitch and made a brilliant flying tackle on their 22 meter line for his debut with London Scottish.
Minutes later the ball went flying loose in the air, where Sebastian, playing right wing, reeled it in and ran down half the pitch before being tackled. Once again, Jackson was on hand in close support to take the pass from Seb and score his second try during the 12th minute.
Alec continued to work well at scrum half, while Josef, left wing, and Cesare, fullback, were giving good support with tackles, runs and passes to gain further ground and minimise any opposing gains.
Following a mid-field tackle by George, Henry and Seb put in additional tackles until finally Jackson’s tackle turned the tide as he was able to rip the ball and make some ground before being tackled himself. He made the offload to Max on left wing, who then made very good ground. Further phases passed before Axel collected the ball at the halfway line and made the run down the field for the 6th try for Scottish.
A brief timeout was agreed to allow the two teams to regroup. When the action re-started, Quinns were fired up and racing hard for the try line, but a solid tackle by our hooker, Woody, on the far side, slowed the attacker considerably and Lucas was able to complete the defensive play with a follow up tackle. Soon after, a Seb tackle created a loose ball which Lucas was able to scoop up and then use his speed to blast past the opposition to notch the score up to 1-7.
Approaching the half, Alban, the U13s outside centre, gathered the ball and made a good drive from our 10m line. A few phases passed and then Henry, still deep in our territory, offloaded to Alec who threaded the ball to George, who made ground before flipping the ball to Axel at the halfway line where he was able to sprint to the goal line to make it 1-8 at the half.
The second half saw a renewed energy and determination from the Quins side. Scottish were challenged by injuries, which saw Jackson leave the match and Josef come off as had Brodie, Ben and Josh, at various times, but who all were able to get back in and be effective. The Quins pressure was being met with resistance from the Scottish side. In one instance Alban was firmly holding the attackers wrist, slowing his progress, until he could lunge for his legs and complete the tackle. Despite his effort, and that of the rest of the Scottish side, the Quins progressed up the field, fast approaching the goal line. As the ref placed the whistle to his mouth in anticipation of awarding the try, Axel made the last second tackle that released the ball. He picked it up and passed it out to his teammate who kicked it across the field to Woody, who made catching it look easy. George was then given the ball and he kicked it to the halfway line while giving chase with several boys. Henry competed hard in the footrace against the Quins defender who was scrambling back. Henry gave it a couple of kicks along the ground, progressing swiftly toward the opposing goal line. Winning the foot race, Henry picked it up. As he was being tackled he passed cleanly to Lucas who ran the final 20 meters to score a thrilling end to end try bringing the score to 1-9.
Quinn’s then began to turn their frustrations into some exciting plays with one culminating in a long run down left side where they celebrated their efforts and brought some momentum back to the game, despite trailing 2-9.
Fast paced tries were now the fashion as Axel was passed the ball after the re-start. He made his way to the half along the touchline before darting inwards and past the remaining defenders who gave pursuit but never caught him. 2-10 now looked like a comfortable lead.
Cesare, moved to scrum half for a piece to give Alec a break after excellent work on the field. Both boys did a great job at getting the ball out at the breakdowns. George moved to number 8 to take Axel off. Brodie, who was playing the wing in his first club match, continued to be good at passing the ball out to others. Ben was back on making an impact with his tackling.
In the next four minutes, Quins captured the momentum and played at speed to rebuild their position. One of their boys broke away at the halfway line to bring their tries to 3 for the day. They quickly regrouped and rucked hard, played quick and placed another ball over the goal line. Another fast paced series of phases saw yet another try go on the scoreboard for Quins at the 14th minute (of 25) in the second half. Quins were closing the gap at 5-10.
Scottish then drew a deep breath, slowed things down a bit, returned to their more familiar positions and got right back in the game.
8 minutes of tough, scoreless rugby was then witnessed as both teams dug in and raised the intensity of the match. There was a palpable excitement in both directions.
Finally, with two minutes remaining, Josef drove over their 10 meter line before being tackled near the touchline. Played stopped but possession was given back to Scottish. Alec tapped the ball and there were several passes until the last one landed in Axel’s hands and he laid the ball down for the try at the final whistle.
Final score was 5-11.
The boys had a cracking game full of enthusiasm, energy and pace. It’s been a delight of the parents to see these boys gel so well so quickly in the season. While some have played together for years, others who have joined this year are fitting right in, with all the boys making effective contributions and building a team to be reckoned with.
Scott Gregory – U13’s Assistant Coach
Girl’s Rugby Update:
The U18 girls team played their second fixture of the season away at Harpenden on Sunday
Suffering some late illness withdrawals the team took the field with the bare minimum 15 players but came out of the blocks firing to work a series of training ground plays and score a couple of quick tries. The team kept that momentum to turn round at half time with a 26-7 lead.
Not surprisingly Harpenden mounted a fight back in the second half but the Scottish girls were weathering the pressure before conceding twice in quick succession to breakaway tries. Harpenden then added another to bring the score back to a tense 26-24 going into the final quarter.
Credit to our girls for maintaining their composure and keeping their shape to work deep into the Harpenden half and exert great pressure and control on the game. From this we scored two more tries in quick succession to close out the game. Fly half Morven had clearly packed her kicking boots and ended the game with 5 from 6 on a windy day. Final score 40-24 to London Scottish.
On Saturday the female rugby pathway at the Athletic Ground was working overtime with two London Scottish girls playing their first senior home game of the season for Richmond Women. Freya Aucken was starting scrum half for the first team at the end of the day and before that Becca Lawn had vice-captained the second team. Both teams ended victorious against Worcester Warriors. Proof that the female rugby lifecycle lives at RAG, minis, juniors and seniors.
Tim Lawn – Head of Girl’s Rugby