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Victory in the North Final of the NatWest plate.

On Friday 2nd February, Saint Anselm’s College Under 15 Team hosted Ampleforth College in the North Final of the NatWest plate.  A perfect day for Rugby at the hallowed Ridings.  The team started with clear intent, choosing to play up the hill against a very powerful Ampleforth.  After Fintan Lynch kicked to the corner from a penalty, the forwards played with quick phases in the corner resulting in Harry Roscoe scoring to take the early lead, Fintan then converted from very wide. 7-0.

From the restart Ampleforth used the slope keeping Saint Anselm’s deep in their 22 making it very difficult to exit.  After a mistimed pass the Ampleforth defence clinched an interception try under the posts, which was converted to level the game, 7-7.  From this moment in the game the Saint Anselm’s team played phase after phase of powerful Rugby, rarely allowing a very good Ampleforth team out of their 22.  The Ampleforth defence managed to hold up 3 consecutive attacks on the try line before Archie Jones managed a big pick and go from a ruck to take the lead again, 12-7.

After Ampleforth used the slope to pin Saint Anselm’s in their 22 there was a continued period of defence, Ampleforth were clearly well drilled and had a good game plan.  After many phases Saint Anselm’s forced a penalty from a ruck which Fintan again kicked for distance securing a line-out.  The Saint Anselm’s forwards set up a maul and kept the ball tight for a number of phases before scrum-half Harvey Hancox took the ball from the base of a ruck and scored, 17-7.

The second half proceeded with clever use of territory.  A clever move from a scrum outside of the half-way line saw Centre Dan Swainston break through the line of defence and score a fantastic converted try under the posts. 24-7.

Ampleforth replied from the kick off with a continued attack, Saint Anselm’s had to make numerous tackles and defend a string of well organised line-outs, scrums and mauls inside the 22 before winning the ball back through relentless defensive work from the outstanding back row trio of James Colquit, Roan de-Butlier and James Bladon.  Fintan again kicked for territory, Captain Sam Croft charged down the full back and blocked his return kick, he managed to gather the ball under control and scored under the posts, converted to make 31-7.

It is fair to say from here Ampleforth struggled to get out of their 22, Saint Anselm’s remained well organised both in attack and defence giving away very little in terms of territory.  Scrum-Half Harvey Hancox scored his second try deep in the second half through a great solo effort which was converted again by Fintan Lynch to finish the game 38-7.  Although very hard to pick a single standout performance for the game, scrum-half Harvey Hancox was simply dominant throughout and earns my man of the match.

A great day for Saint Anselm’s College Rugby as we see the Under 15 team go on to the National Semi-finals of the NatWest plate and the opportunity for these worthy young players to play in the semi final.

Our thoughts go to the Ampleforth player who received an injury during the game, and our own Dan Keiller who was having a tremendous game of Rugby on his birthday before receiving a concussion during a brave tackle in the second half.

Adam Hale
U15 Coach