Independent Schools Barbarians U18 v Irish Exiles U19 Independent Schools Barbarians 22 Irish Exiles 12 The Independent Schools Barbarians met at Stowe School as a group of individuals, from many different schools from all over England, and they finished the day a team. It was a team which had just beaten a very competitive Irish Exiles U19 side, who had played a number of games already this season. The match was played at breakneck speed and some early misunderstandings amongst tense, nervous looking players put the Barbarians under pressure in the opening minutes, leading to the Exiles opening the scoring but failing to convert. This was perhaps what the Barbarians needed as they then relaxed and burst into life scoring 3 unconverted tries (Callum Bennett, Kirkham Grammar School followed by Miles Mantella, Millfield College and then Joel Dudley, Bromsgrove School). The pace and handling from all the squad was at times breathtaking and the lead was well deserved. Just when it looked like the Barbarians might run away with the game the opposition dug deep and found the desire that has made the Irish National side so tough to beat in recent times. The Barbarians resolute defence could only hold out for so long and it was fitting that a Barbarian player from last year David Devlin Jones scored for the Exiles to bring the score to within 3 points (15-12). In the closing minutes of the match the Barbarians twice turned down simple attempts to kick for goal and pressed to close the match out in style – which they did with Sam Heygate, Rugby School being driven over at the death, with the conversion putting the gloss on a 22-12 victory for the boys in pink. It was an extremely impressive performance based upon 1 hour of training and the passion and desire to play quick attacking rugby perhaps proving, to some extent, the sceptics who say that the ELV’s have ruined the game wrong! I’m sure that the 200 spectators would agree that they were privileged to watch a terrific game of rugby union. Next up for the Barbarians are the Crawshay’s Welsh U19s on February 6th at London Welsh RFC.
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