On an extremely foggy day in Sunbury on Thames, the Exiles Under-18s defeated their Welsh Exiles counterparts 31-3. This was the last Exiles fixture before Christmas and they certainly finished with a festive flourish.
A bright opening by both teams gave no indication of what was to come but, after 11 minutes of even sparring, the Irish took a strike against the head in the Welsh half and sweet handling by the three-quarters put Elliott Spencer in for an unconverted try.
After half an hour, persistent pressure by the Irish forwards told with a try by Luke Connolly, converted by Oliver Weir, to make the score 12-0.
A feature of the first half was the assured catching of high balls under pressure by Irish Exiles full-back Alex Webb and his subsequent elusive running.
The second half commenced much as the first, though the Irish had the edge. It took 20 minutes before the floodgates opened when a steal of a Welsh lineout in their 22 led to a forward drive and a try by Charlie Phair.
This was converted by Sean O’Hagan to make it 19-0. A penalty goal by the Welsh relieved pressure for them and only great last-ditch defence by the Irish prevented them from scoring a breakaway try.
Two further tries by Adam King, one converted by O’Hagan, completed the scoring at 31-3, but not before Webb had consolidated his man-of-the-match status.
IRISH EXILES U-18: Alex Webb; James Deehan, Tom McClean, Adam King, Elliott Spencer; Oliver Weir, Chris Carlisle; Nathan Higgins, Jamie Tolan, Steve Dalton, Luke Connolly, Tom Hilton-Stevens, Phil Doherty, Conor Gracey, Ciaran Murphy.
Replacements: Joe Roe, Isaac Dunk, Dom O’Connor, James Farmer, Jack McLean, Matthew Kileen, Sean O’Hagan, Charlie Phair, Jobie Burke.
Manager: Chris Magowan; Coaches: Sam McKinney and Peter Halsall; Logistics: Nick McDonough
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