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Young Exiles Break Even In Ireland

Young Exiles Break Even In Ireland

The Exiles Under-18 squad made their annual pilgrimage to Ireland last month, playing Ulster on Friday, August 24 at Malone, and Leinster on Sunday, August 26, at Barnhall. The squad again stayed in Armagh, using both the Royal School and City of Armagh RFC facilities as their training bases.

The Ulster game rewrote the ‘game of two halves’ adage by some metaphorical distance! A lineout error after five minutes gifted Ulster a try, a lead they increased with a converted try and a penalty. The fact that Ulster led by only 15-0 at half-time was indeed a let-off. However, the second half produced a completely different performance from the young Exiles.

The immediate response was one of territorial domination by the Exiles, but it took 20 minutes to make the break-through. Good play by full-back Liam Cambridge and right winger Tchad Collins-Francois led to a try from the former. A further try – a good break by out-half Jordan Davies – brought the score to 15-10. With the very last play of the game, left winger Fraser Carlisle came off his flank to the other side to round off the best bit of attacking play from the Exiles and tie the scores. With his first kick of the game, centre Jack Tovey calmly converted to give the final – and almost unbelievable – score-line of 17-15 to the Exiles.

The Exiles approached the Leinster game in very good heart after the above win. However, the combination of a good Leinster performance and the ‘two games in less than 48 hours’ syndrome, produced a home win.

It did not look like resulting in that in the early stages as a lineout drive from the Exiles in the first five minutes of the game produced a try for tighthead prop Luke Murphy-Wooldridge. Leinster responded with a catch-and-drive try of their own, which they converted. The best backs’ move of the half resulted in Leinster increasing their lead to 12-5. The Exiles hit back with an excellent opportunistic try from Tchad Collins-Francois, converted by Jack Tovey, to make the half-time score 12-12.

A converted try early in the second half from Leinster took them into a lead that they never relinquished. Though they only added a penalty to make the final score 22-12, Leinster deserved their win. Though the Exiles’ forwards – the front row particularly – were as strong as their opposition, the power of the Leinster backs proved to be a decisive factor.

Overall, the tour was as valuable as ever and we look forward to a number of the players from all three teams meeting up on the Ireland Under-18 Clubs squad.

Exiles squad

Liam Cambridge, Michael Hennessy (15); Tchad Collins-Francois, Fraser Carlisle, James Twomey (wings); Jack Tovey, Nathaniel McDonald, Callum McKie (centres); Jordan Davies, Joe Robinson (10); Ralph Jones, Calum Mulderrig (9); Charlie Armstrong (8); James Stephenson, Dean Connor (7); Ben Manning, David Wells (6); Karem Moursi, Christian Shepherd, James Doyle, Peter Bradley (locks); Sean McCarthy, Kieran Hagan (1); Declan Farrell (Capt.)(2); Kieran Brookes, Luke Murphy-Wooldridge (3).


Coaches: Kevan ‘Dinger’ Bell and Danny Lyons
Manager: Ces Shaw