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Exiles Triumph Over Welsh In 20th Encounter

Exiles Triumph Over Welsh In 20th Encounter

The history of this fixture goes back to the late 1980s when it was an Under-21 fixture. Over this past eight years, the age group focus has shifted to Under-18 level.

On a blustery day at St. Mary’s College in West London, the Welsh Exiles exerted early pressure on the Irish Exiles.

This pressure was converted into a high penalty count in favour of the Welsh. Within the first 15 minutes, the Welsh were 3-0 ahead and the Exiles Under-18s had barely touched the ball.

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It was then that the Irish seemed to click their ‘’game switch’ on.

With virtually their first touch of the ball, centre Tom Chellew made a break inside his own half, the movement was carried on by USA-based winger Oliver Cregg and ended with loosehead prop Tom Margetson driving over for a try.

The try was converted by Ireland Under-18 out-half Grant Connon and the Irish were in the ascendancy.

The front row of Margetson, Delaney and Ball were in a combative mood and took the game to the Welsh. They were well supported by Mark Jones in the lineout, who stole a number of Welsh throw-ins.

Given that the front five put the Exiles on the front foot, the back row of Barrett, Joyce and Crozier were everywhere both in attack and defence.

Unfortunately, Tom Crozier dislocated his shoulder in this early part of the game just as he was beginning to make his mark.

The Irish showed their ambition by mounting a series of attacks that featured both forwards and backs, with Margetson scoring his second try, once again converted by Connon.

The backs then got into the act with a try by winger Adam Ike, converted from the touchline by Connon. That brought the score at half-time to Irish Exiles 21 Welsh Exiles 3.

Playing into the wind in the second half, the Irish continued to play with ambition, a change at scrum half and wing saw Jack Walsh introduced for Kieran Marmion, the Ireland U-18 scrum half, and his brother Liam introduced onto the wing for Cregg.

Further changes during the half saw Saul Gerald and Sam Bennett moving into the front row with Kieran Ball moving into the back row.

The Exiles added tries by Walsh and Chellew in the second half with Connon converting both to end the day with a 100% kicking record.

The Welsh got a reward for their hard work with a converted try on the whistle.

With the Irish finishing as 35-13 winners, coaches Kevan Bell and Danny Lyons were very pleased with their young charges.

Kevan was particularly pleased that this group of young men play with ambition and enjoy playing the game together.