U15s lack cohesion in win against Manchester
By Richard Culver
Off colour display against a Manchester side who were low on numbers but showed some determination in a first half where MV played like strangers.
Manchester were hit by a number of late cry offs, and with just 12 players were always going to be up against it.
Good numbers allowed us to loan a few players, with a few lads needing match practice, Charlie B, Eoin and Franklyn wore Manchester red in the first half, whilst the home side made a few positional changes and still had the luxury of 4 substitutes.
1 Dan; 2 Charlie H; 3 Ethan; 4 Azzanne; 5 Matt; 6 Tom; 7 Will C (c); 8 Jacob; 9 Will R; 10 Jack; 11 Alastair; 12 Nick; 13 Cian; 14 George; 15 Rafi
Subs; Charlie DS, Oli; Ali; Yousuf
The first few minutes saw good pressure force Manchester back wards, and some spilled ball allowed the home side top dominate territory. An early scrum was won comfortably and Manchester were looking stretched. The problems for MV/BP were all of their own making, with forwards clogging up the half backs passing lanes, and a tendency to go back to mini rugby thinking, with players looking to beat players individually, and not use the ball to get around the Manchester defence which was narrow. Manchester were defending well, and a few early ruck turnovers were a signal that they were growing in confidence as the match remained scoreless with almost 10 minutes on the clock.
A penalty allowed the home team to kick deep into Manchester's 22, and after a couple of phases, Dan was able to find enough room to cross for the first try of the morning with a short blindside run. 5-0.
Alastair was having an excellent game on the blind side wing, and after a scrum was able to make a big dent in the Manchester defence, and he was stopped just short of the line, but quick thinking by Will C saw him cross for the second try, exploiting some poor defence around the ensuing ruck. 10-0.
Yousuf's introduction helped the MV pack assert their authority, with some greater physicality in the ruck meaning less ball lost, and he was instrumental in the third try, making a good break before offloading to Jack, Jack spun a lovely inside pass to Jacob who was able to cross on the short side. Jack had certainly left his kicking boots in the car, and the score was 15-0.
Manchester had a few forays into the home side's half, some naïve positioning allowing a bit too much space on the flanks, and Tom was needed to make a few big tackles to prevent serious threat. For the away side, Charlie was has having a tough time, and the MV back row were driving him backwards regularly.
Manchester were again turned over, and Cian deep in his 22 decided to take them on. A few sidesteps and hand offs later he was clear of the Manchester midfield and just had enough in the tanks to hold off the challenge of Oli, who had agreed to fill in for Manchester following an injury. A brilliant solo try which Jack added to with a straightforward conversion.
The final act of the half was a deserved score for Nick. Manchester were again stretched and defending close to their line, a penalty following a ruck infringement and Nick took the quick tap and was able to cross unopposed. 27-0 at half time.
A reshuffle at half time, George, Alastair, Will R and Matt were pressed into Manchester colours, and the returning 4 players took their place in a rather experimental looking side, except the unfortunate Charlie B who took a blow to the ankle and was forced off for treatment.
Harsh halftime words saw the home team up their efforts and dominate the breakdown, but some sloppy back play snuffed out a few promising opportunities. Jacob did add to the score, a strong run following a period of loose play to take the score beyond 30.
Will C at seven was becoming increasingly prominent, his ability to link play was evident, taking good positions, and always looking to keep the ball moving he was involved in the lead up to Jacob's score and was then created a try for Yousuf. A strong break through the Manchester midfield with a line that drifted in to out and sucked in the Manchester outside backs, he timed a beautiful offload to Yousuf who took the ball at full pace and was able to streak away from the Manchester defence from just inside the Manchester half. Not a typical prop forwards try! Jack added 2 more, 39-0.
Dan's bullocking run was stopped just short of the line as Manchester started to wilt badly, and eventually Tom was able to cross, some good football skills took him beyond the defence, George was unable to secure ball for Manchester, and the versatile Tom applied a smart finish 44-0.
The Manchester coaches decided that it was appropriate to call proceedings to a halt, and some 15 minutes early the match ended.
Despite the one sided score line, this was not a vintage performance. Some poor decision making, passive at the breakdown and too greedy with ball in hand in looked more like an U12s team than a well organised and structured U15s. There were positives, the set piece was good and the second half physicality was improved.
Alastair was solid at blind side wing would be my nomination for MOTM in the backs, with Yousuf edging Will in the forwards.