It has been a busy few weeks for the Exiles as their Under-19 and Under-20 sides are in action in a series of interprovincial clashes. Exiles team manager Mark Blair brings us up to date with the results so far.
The Exiles Under-20s hosted the Ulster Under-20s at the Oratory School in Reading in August in their annual fixture.
In near perfect conditions, the Ulster team proved a little too strong for a committed and enthusiatic Exiles team and finished 20-0 to the good.
The Exiles got off to a good start and competed well especially at scrum time, putting the visitors under pressure. Unfortunately the loss of tighthead prop Luke Murphy Wooldridge proved costly for the Exiles as Ulster proceeded to score from a push over try shortly after.
This seemed to be the turning point of the game and the Exiles struggled to contain Ulster.
Several handling errors by Ulster and squandered scoring chances kept the Exiles in the game and some good Exiles defence made a contest of the fixture. Ulster manged two penalties and another try but were made to work hard for every point.
It was especially pleasing to see good performances from Tom Crozier and Sean O’Connell who made the step-up for the Exiles from the Under-19s.
There were also notable performances from many others including Caolan Ryan at out-half and David Devlin Jones at centre, giving the new Ireland Under-20 coach Mike Ruddock plenty of Exiles encouragement.
Meanwhile, the Exiles Under-19s hosted the Leinster Under-19s at the London Irish Amateur Rugby Club in an interprovincial game that proved to be a tight affair. Both sides played an open game with the conditions being conducive to running rugby.
Leinster, who arrived over that morning, started off well and created a well-worked converted try. The Exiles then put together a sustained period of pressure to score a try themselves from number 8 Stephen Hegarty, although it was unconverted.
Leinster forged ahead with a penalty and seemed to be in control after the Exiles had missed a couple of penalty opportunities themselves.
Another try just before the break put Leinster 17-5 ahead but a spirited fightback in the second half by the Exiles saw centre Matt Dever cross unopposed for a try under the posts, which was converted by Ollie Clements to bring the score to 17-12.
The Exiles continued to press and three yellow cards against Leinster in a 15-minute period gave the Exiles the opportunity to come into the game.
A penalty by Leinster opened the gap again, but a well-taken try by Liam Marmion for the Exiles made for an exciting finish.
20-17 down, the Exiles had a penalty opportunity but this was missed and Leinster pushed the Exiles deep into their own 22.
With time running out, the Exiles pushed hard to break down Leinster but stout defence by the visitors saw them hold out for a worthy 20-17 victory.
The Exiles U-19s will be back in action at Shaw’s Bridge, the home of Instonians RFC, on Saturday to face the Ulster U-19s. The match kicks off at 12.30pm.
EXILES Under-19 Squad: Greg Barrett, Philip Brocken, Tom Chellew, Oliver Clements, Anthony Costelloe, Tom Crozier, Matthew Dever, Stephen Hegarty, Ryan Jablonski, Mark Jones, Tom King, Tom Margetson, Kieran Marmion, Liam Marmion, Tom McDonagh, Sean O’Brien, Dan O’Brien, Sean O’Connell, Callum O’Connell, George O’Hanlon, Will Quinn.
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