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On a sunny day at Brunel University the Irish and Welsh Exiles entertained a large crowd with a thrilling game of running rugby.

The Irish, with a core of 6 of Ireland's U18 Internationals in the side, started briskly, moving the play into space and continually asking questions of the Welsh defence. The first 25 minutes was dominated by the Irish scrum and the probing play of Ireland's U18 scrum half Peter Phelan and new find Kieran Hallett at fly half. Hallett, who plays for Bedford Blues reserve side, had been a late replacement in the side for Ireland U18 fly half Shane Geraghty. During the game Hallett displayed a range of running, kicking and decision making skills that must have impressed the Ireland U19 coaching team watching the team.

The Irish side combined both U18 and U19 players providing an opportunity for the Ireland U18 and U19's coaching teams to evaluate potential Irish players.

The first half was dominated by the Irish Exiles set plays in both lineout and scrum and their ability to spread the ball wide. Ever present in this 4 to 6 phase play was open side Jamie Chapman. The Irish turned round at half time 11 points up, thanks to 2 penalties and a try by fly half Hallett.

The second half brought a resurgence from the Welsh which continually tested an organised and resolute Irish defence. The Irish kept hitting back through strong running centre Matthew MacLoughlin who continually broke the Welsh first line of defence. On numerous occasions the Irish came tantalisingly close to finishing off MacLoughlin's breaks with tries. However a sustained period of pressure saw the Welsh finally break the Irish defence wide out on the right wing. This score revitalised the Welsh and the Irish defence held through 15 minutes of intense pressure. The Irish held their line intact, often by inches, during this period of pressure. However their attacking instincts often meant they were prepared to run the ball from turnovers in their own 22.

From one such occasion MacLoughlin ran the ball from the Irish 22 linking with Phelan, now operating at full back, to run in their second try with seconds to go. Hallett kicked the conversion to give the Irish an 18-5 victory over a strong Welsh side.

It was pleasing to see an Irish victory but even more important was evidence of quality Exile players being introduced to the Irish and Welsh systems.A good day for Exiles rugby particularly the Irish flavour.
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19 June 2018
No events scheduled
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