The trials process this year saw a huge number of schools nominate players for the South East, South West, Midlands and North trials. After a comprehensive process, including regional selection, training day, regional fixtures (SE v SW and Midlands v North) and the North v South game at Maidenhead RFC, the National Squad of 36 players was assembled.
for a selection of photos from the North v South game.
NATIONAL DOMESTIC SEASON
The first game, pitched the ISRFC National U18s against the Irish Exiles, with the Exiles playing for an unbeaten season having won the provincial tournament in Ireland. Despite a sterling effort from the boys in less than ideal conditions, a dramatic late drop goal won it for the Irish Exiles 18 – 17.
The next game was against Saracens U17s and was played at Allianz Park, a great experience for all of the players. After weathering the storm that was Saracens physical forwards and centres the Lambs settled into their game, two tries by Will Bailey (Clayesmore) and a try apiece for Ben Christie (Bristol Grammar) and Fabian Lumsden (Epson College) recorded a superb 24 – 12 victory.
This game was followed by Boys Club of Wales fixture on the Sunday of the same week. Injuries and unavailability meant a smaller squad travelled to Port Talbot to face a team the Lambs had never beaten. With the sun shining and a flat, hard pitch, the Lambs were in their element. A superb first half performance, including two more tries for Will Bailey (Clayesmore) meant that even the Boys Club fight back was not enough and the Lambs held out for a 21 – 18 victory.
The final game of the domestic season was against a Hymers Invitational XV, made up of current players, old boys and some invitational players. A tough fixture saw the Lambs go in at half time down for the first time all season (5 – 9), however the group stuck to their philosophy of playing fast and free and two length of the field scores meant the Lambs recorded a 19 – 12 victory ahead of the Zimbabwe tour.
for some great shots from the game.
It was a successful domestic season with three wins from four, only losing to a last play drop goals against the unbeaten Irish Exiles. In total 13 tries were scored with only six conceded and Will Bailey (Clayesmore) top scoring in the domestic season with six tries, also bagging himself two Man of the Match awards.
On the whole season, National Director Alex Laybourne said:
“I am very pleased with how both the domestic season and the Zimbabwe tour have gone. I would like to say a massive thank you to all those people who have supported the Lambs throughout the year. This includes the schools and schoolmasters, the Lambs coaching and management staff at the regional level all the way through to National level, who all volunteer their time to make the program such a success, and also to this year’s sponsors and partners, Moneycorp, Gilbert and England Rugby Travel."