U12 v Liceo Frances (Home) 02 Feb 2014

10-20 Loss

It was with great relief that the long awaited fixture between Monmouth RFC U12s and visitors Liceo Frances from Madrid, was able to proceed on a bright but chilly Sunday morning, despite atrocious weather in the preceding 48 hours. Two early morning pitch inspections over the weekend ensured the pudding of a pitch was given the go-ahead – a mud-fest was therefore guaranteed!

Liceo Frances travelled with over 20 players, all of whom were entertained at Monmouth R.F.C.’s newly refurbished club-house the evening before to watch Les Bleus beat the English. Catering hospitality provided by Emma Henry was gratefully received and a great social evening was had by all.

And so to the game – a tight affair ensued in the first half. Monmouth had the initial advantage with territory and possession and it was they who broke the deadlock midway through the first half. A quick tap penalty move from the hosts went blind and one pass later, speedy winger Aaron Hickmans outpaced the visitors’ defence to touchdown in the corner – the conversion attempt failed. Back came the visitors, ferocious at the breakdown and displaying great ball handling skills despite the muddy ball. A great flowing move by them saw the ball spread-out wide to their right wing, who managed to evade at least four tackles and eventually touch-down under the posts – again, the conversion was missed and half-time arrived with score level at 5 – 5.

The second half saw the visitors begin to assert their dominance, benefiting from fresh legs through regular substitutions. Strong forward pressure saw them go through many phases of play, eventually breaking through magnificent Monmouth defence from close quarters to go ahead. It wasn’t long before the visitors scored again, benefiting from quick hands to see their centre cross the white-wash. Monmouth hit back through scrum-half Josh Lewis – picking up from the breakdown, he went blind and scampered down the touchline to score out wide, to reduce the arrears to 10 – 15. Fatigue from the home team however, playing without substitutions on a heavy pitch, saw them succumb to a late try out wide to earn the visitors a final result of 20 – 10.

Players, officials and supporters of both teams returned to the bar for refreshments and presentations of club gifts. The whole weekend was a great advertisement for rugby – the wonderful social experience of a club tour; the opportunity to play against quality opponents; the camaraderie and friendships forged; the hospitality extended by the hosts – coinciding with the opening weekend of the Six Nations, rugby was the winner on the day, whatever the result.

Tries: Aaron Hickmans, Josh Lewis

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