Leicester Tigers 15 – 18 Gloucester Rugby
With 13 points coming from a man of the match performance by centre Conor Murphy (Hartpury College), Gloucester Rugby U18s came out on top against a strong Leicester Tigers team.
Tigers took an early lead on ten minutes from the boot of Jack Vernum who slotted over a penalty to open the scoring.
Tigers had plenty of possession early on but the young Cherry and Whites stood firm, keeping the attacks at bay. Within five minutes the visitors struck back with a neatly timed backs move leading to a line break from centre Iwan Glynn (Hartpury College), who kicked through for Murphy to gather and score.
The early excitement settled whilst both sides tried to work out how to undo the other’s defence. Strong carries and ball playing skills from forwards Albert Taylor (Dean Close School) and Rob Nixon (Sir Thomas Rich’s) allowed Gloucester Rugby to gain momentum but they couldn’t quite string the phases together. Some immaculate tactical kicking and skilful touches from fly half Morgan Adderly-Jones (Hartpury College) and full back Jack Park (Dean Close School) kept the organised Tigers defence on their toes.
At the break Ben Peters (Dean Close School) and Archie Hossack (Hartpury College) were brought on and both made immediate impacts. Peters showing great defensive skills with double efforts to shut down the Tigers attack and Hossack looking dangerous breaking down the left wing but the final offload judged to be forward.
Tigers struck next to take the score to 10-5 but Gloucester Rugby hit back straight away with Murphy knocking over 3 points to close the gap before adding 3 more to take the score to 10-11.
Going into the final twenty minutes Tigers had regained the lead and with the score at 15-11 the Cherry and Whites showed how tight a group they are and started to increase the intensity of the game.
Dynamic carries from the pack meant momentum was with Gloucester Rugby. Taylor carrying strongly from a free kick and some neat handling from second row Danny Eite (Hartpury College) allowed scrum half Joe Adams (Hartpury College) to switch play down the blind side where prop Will Hurn (Sir Thomas Rich’s) drew the defender to put Taylor away before giving the final pass to Hossack to score. Murphy again adding the extras.
Peter Walton, Head of Academy said “I couldn’t be happier for them. The focus, effort and passion shown is outstanding”
Alex Guest, Junior Academy Manager added “To see these boys compete and come out on top in such a tight game is testament to their character. With the year they’ve had it’s pleasing for us as staff to see them get that kind of reward.”
Matt Teague, U18 Head Coach also said “It was fantastic to see the young group get the opportunity to wear the cherry and white and deliver the kind of grit and determination that goes hand in hand when representing what it stands for. The challenge this week is now for the boys to get themselves emotionally back up for another tough test, against Worcester Warriors, and continue to work on the fundamentals that stood them well against Leicester.”
The U18s now focus their attention to Friday Night Lights where they’ll host Worcester Warriors at Cheltenham Tigers.