The first inter-Exiles fixture of the season took place on a beautiful sunny Sunday, September 30, when our opponents were our Scottish equivalents, at St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham.
The Exiles Under-18 squad clearly showed the benefit of the togetherness gained from the Ireland tour in August, though from the kick-off, it was a newcomer, number eight Callum Burke (Hampton School), who took the kick perfectly and immediately brought his outside backs into play, resulting in a try for openside James Stephenson (St. Benedict’s), converted by centre Jordan Davies (Denstone College).
Jordan featured strongly in the next two tries, a break by him resulting in a try by right winger Tchad Collins-Francois (Truro College), and ‘quick hands’ from Jordan led to the next try for left winger Fraser Carlisle (RGS High Wycombe), to make the score 17-0 after just 12 minutes.
Not content with being provider, Jordan finished off good continuity play with a try, after a quickly taken penalty, which he himself converted.
A brief respite for the Scottish Exiles was broken with a further two tries before half-time. A good cut-out pass from centre Jack Dever (St. Benedict’s) put Collins-Francois in for his second try and a charge down of an attempted clearance kick by flanker Dean Connor (London Irish) led to Stephenson’s second try. Both were converted by Jordan to make the half-time score 38-0.
A further brief respite for the Scots at the start of the second half did not last and fresh Irish legs off the bench did not help their cause. Out-half Callum Burke (Campion School) joined the try scorers, quickly followed by Stephenson’s hat-trick try, converted by Callum. Fraser took his second try, converted by Callum, and the scoring was completed by tries from flanker David Wells (Cokethorpe School) and scrum half Jack Conway (Taunton School), to make the final score 67-0.
Though not amongst the try scorers, the entire ‘front five’ (starting and replacements), plus scrum half Ralph Jones (Filton College) helped lay the foundations for this win with their unselfish performances. It was also a tribute to the coaches – Kevan ‘Dinger’ Bell and Danny Lyons – that the Irish Exiles XV kept their shape throughout the game.
The Scottish Exiles will have an opportunity to avenge this defeat when they host the Irish Exiles Under-19s on Sunday, October 14 at London Scottish (kick-off 1.30pm).