The U11 Rugby Tour played 3 very competitive and entertaining games of rugby. Against Carlisle we faced a physical and aggressive team used to ripping the ball and tackling high to hold up the player to form a maul. Considering we were not used to either tactic, we took a while to adjust and get used to the new rules. Also, playing with an extra man seemed to cramp the pitch a little and we had to straighten our running lines to confront the Carlisle players head on. We did this with great courage and credit to the boys for adjusting so quickly.
Against a skilful and well drilled Aysgarth team, we played some impressive rugby. Our defence was outstanding with tackle after tackle thwarting an ambitious team spreading the ball wide and running aggressively. We found it hard to make that change-over from defence into attack, making our attacking lines a little sluggish and lacking in penetrative line speed. Nevertheless, we played with tremendous spirit and never backed away from a very good Aysgarth team.
Next up was Sedbergh and it was great for the team to end with a strong performance. We dominated the game form the outset, competing ferociously in the rucks to keep possession of the ball and running hard to score some good tries.
In all three games, I have been impressed with the courage, commitment and skills of this set of players. They listen well, respond quickly and have generally been an extremely rewarding group of players to coach. Away from the rugby, the behaviour and engagement of all the boys has been exemplary. It is great to see the values of respect, teamwork and accountability being absorbed and displayed by this next generation of rugby players.