Under 19s learn lessons from Bucks defeat, and come tantalisingly close against Bedok

Wanderers U19 vs Bucks

After the high feel good factor of giving Oldham a tight game in the first run out, we headed into Thursday nights fixture against an unknown Bucks side with an air of cautious optimism.

We started brightly, for 10 minutes the game plan for wide channel running and quick ball for Arthur and Luca to unleash the backs was effective and we had Bucks under enormous pressure. A line out 5m out was lost and in the blink of an eye we were under our own posts.

This seemed to kickstart Bucks into gear, and the remaining 60 minutes was a rather hard lesson in Precise, Aggressive, Fast rugby.

The result was fair, that we didn’t manage a score wasn’t. Sometimes you have to accept that you were beaten by a better, more experienced team and learn from it.

From a coaches perspective we were proud of our players for never giving up, and working hard for 70 minutes.


Wanderes U19 vs Bedok Kings

With lessons learned from the Bucks outing, and two good training sessions under their belts the boys lined up against Bedok Kings on Saturday,  confident and ready to get that first W.
The early squad set back of losing 3 players that morning meant that in the heat of the day most of the boys were going to have to go for a full 70 minutes.  Giddy up!

A blistering start, and perfect execution of the revised, energized game plan saw Captain Fantastic Cornelius carry strongly twice through the middle to go untouched under the posts on 5 minutes. The conversion was missed due to some confusion in the technical area meaning the Tee never found its way to Luca, coaches error.

We kept the pressure up and suffocated Bedok with terrific line speed and aggression, forcing them to be overly ambitious and Luca picked off a pass in the midfield and ran in for the intercept try. Tee found, conversion kicked.

As the half went on both sides wilted under the sun and Bedok took control of the ball, we showed some resolute defending but eventually they scored a well deserved try. We responded well, and got back up the right end of the pitch, and more aggressive turnover battles allowed Luca to nudge a penalty over, however the hard work was undone as we fluffed the restart, gave them a lineout 5m from our line which after much huffing and puffing they blew our proverbial house down for 7 points. A mildly disappointing end to a very good first half.

With a thin subs bench in the blazing sun we knew we needed a strong start and the boys duly delivered. Some barnstorming play, saw strong carries threw pretty much all the forwards allowing Ficky to get some quick go forward ball to Arthur to Unleash his outside backs, a break down the wing by Rian was wonderfully finished by Luca under the posts.  Converted.

Unfortunately another coach-killer lack of concentration at the restart meant we gifted Bedok the 7 points we had just taken from them. 25-19 to us. The last 20 minutes is a blur to be honest, as they were able to bring on a raft of subs most notably in the forwards, we refreshed where we could but the forwards were in for the long haul. A lot of pressure against fresh legs and a couple of poor decisions here and there saw Bedok camped on our line for 7-8 minutes, the boys were tackling everything but eventually they found a way through next to the posts. Converted. 26-25 90 seconds left. Not enough time.

70 minute games are never won or lost as a result of 1 mistake, but a combination of small errors over the course of a game. A dropped pass, a poor lineout, a forgotten kicking tee, a yellow card.

Distraught red shirts strewn all over the pitch at the end of the game was suitable evidence of the heart, soul and effort every single player put into the game. Coaches couldn’t have been more proud and upset at the same time. Monumental efforts from every single player as a fellow front row I took particular pleasure watching Glenn and Webby go a full 70 minutes, JQ going for 60 before being replaced by Matt. Cornelius announced his arrival as captain and was Mario itoje-esque (or Rettalick-esk, Etzebeth-esk, insert suitable name just no one Scottish or Australian) in his carries, lineouts and tackles.

Special Mention to Yeong, from being named on the bench on Thursday with the aim to give him maybe 10 minutes, to being told at 10am Saturday that he was starting at 7. No subs. 70 minutes of destruction speed and effort definitely forgoing any sense of self preservation, or that of the opposition. Oh yeah, it was his first ever game of rugby. Not too shabby! Another mention to Shane for being part of the bench, being there for the club when others weren’t, ready to get stuck in if he was needed, also having never played before.

Ultimately a loss, but for the first time we were in a position to win a game that we all let slip, but this shows signs of growth and development. Onto the next game.

Big thanks to Gully and the oldies who come and support the boys, its greatly appreciated. Hopefully we can deliver a win in the not too distant future.


Daniel Clark

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