U15 v Lydney (Home) 27 Sep 2009

56-8 Win

Monmouth U15s turned in a strong performance, full of open rugby, to overcome a spirited Lydney side at Chippenham Fields this Sunday running out 56-8 winners.

Early concerns over some notable absences in the Monmouth pack – especially given the size of the Lydney front five – were soon dispelled as Monmouth quickly settled into a fast open game, where the forwards were recycling ball quickly and keeping the ball alive rather than engaging in a trial of strength with the bigger Lydney forwards.

With the ball being moved from the contact area, and players offering themselves in support Monmouth were getting beyond the gain line and turning the Lydney defence time and again.

It was good to see Nathan Pinnell back in fold, and making a significant contribution in the first half before being replaced at the start of the second half. Calum Gleed was working hard to counter the far larger Lydney prop and made some telling tackles around the park. Pick of the front row was pack leader Henry Palmer with some storming runs and great connecting work in open play. With Nathan leaving the pitch at half time Marcus Perret-Green stepped into the breach and showed a lot of courage to keep up the front row momentum.

Monmouth’s second row were providing the front three with much needed solidity, Aaron Mills proving an effective means of breaking the gain line at short range with some strong runs, and Cameron Boycott providing excellent line out ball and strong support running in the open. The back row Adam Wheeler, Grant Davies and Joe Christopher, worked hard throughout contesting, and mostly winning, 50:50 balls to provide the backs with a plentiful supply of possession. It was also good to welcome Rory Mitchell to the side; Rory came on a half time and kept the dynamic back-row effort up.

The only criticism of the Monmouth pack in what was a really good performance was the tendency to go high in the tackle. This allowed the Lydney pack to progress in close breaks off the ruck and maul. To their credit Lydney continued to contest the game and they were rewarded with a converted penalty and a try late into the second half.

Monmouth’s backs were enjoying the luxury of plentiful, quick ball and used it well. With excellent open support play from the forwards, the backs broke through the Lydney defence on numerous occasions. Half backs Liam Musselbrook and Ted Senior were generally making good decisions, and there was a variety of attacking options used – through the hands and kicking – which were putting the outside backs and supporting forwards in space.

Jordan Howells at centre made several breaks and showed considerable strength in breaking tackles and handing off opponents, Dan White at outside centre continues to show determination in the tackle and some elusive running. Dan and Liam swapped positions (centre / scrum half) mid way into the second half to help develop options and positional cover, an effective exercise that we’ll look to repeat (with this and other positions) where the opportunity arises.

Monmouth’s wings enjoyed the good weather and saw more ball than they would normally expect, James Davies chased eagerly and put pressure on the Lydney back three, Greg Tynan – in only his second game – continues to show great attitude and appetite for the game. A special mention goes to Harry Streeter, who came on out of position on the wing for an injury to James Davies. Harry should great enthusiasm and worked hard to support attacks and make tackles away from his normal position of flanker. Joe Paley (full back), picked-up where he left off last week from a great display against Cwmbran, fielding the Lydney kicks, and making good breaks through strong running. As with a number of the Monmouth team, checking the options outside for team mates in space may have occasionally offered better options.

Once gain there were some very positive things to take from the game. This has to be tempered with the need to tighten up on some aspects of play to mount a serious challenge when faced with away games and opponents such as New Panteg next week.

Monmouth’s tries came from Cameron Boycott, Grant Davies, Henry Palmer, James Davies, Joe Paley, Jordan Howells (2), Liam Musselbrook, and Ted Senior (2) with two successful conversions (and a couple dinged posts) from Joe Paley and Ted Senior.

Monmouth U15 Team
Nathan Pinnell (Prop); Henry Palmer (Hooker); Calum Gleed (Prop); Aaron Mills (2nd Row); Cameron Boycott (2nd Row); Adam Wheeler (Flanker); Grant Davies (No.8); Joe Christopher (Flanker); Liam Musselbrook (Scrum Half); Ted Senior (Stand Off); James Davies (Winger); Jordan Howells (Centre); Dan White (Centre); Greg Tynan (Winger); Joe Paley (Full Back);

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