The year 7 boys House matches exceeded all my expectations and produced some truly thrilling rugby in both the tag and the full contact matches. The attitude and camaraderie of the players was quite inspiring and they should be immensely proud of how well they performed. This was ably supported by the sport leaders who were excellent at assisting the refereeing and supporting the players.
The Celts secured the most points in the tag competitions but rugby was the real winner. At times I had to stand back and watch as the rugby was of such a high standard. Players attacked space, made calculated decisions with the ball and showed a real togetherness in defence. It was a real pleasure to see the enjoyment and skill on display. Coden was a real talisman for his House. Possibly the most physical and abrasive tag player I have ever seen. He constantly put pressure on the opponents and looked to drive over the gain line. Young George played with a similar level of gusto and calculated aggression. Although new to the game he understood that by attacking the space as opposed to the face he could attract multiple defenders meaning other players could profit from the space created, and boy did they profit. The joy of rugby for me is that it encompasses so many different skills and the variety is what can make a team successful and enjoyable to watch. All of the players showed creativity at some stage, but the sheer magic and impish nature of Elliot, Calen, Joe and Edwin meant that opposing defenders were unsure whether to bite in on the ball player or drift onto the wrap around attacking players. This ultimately made space in areas of the pitch and this was something the pacey players like Jagger, Marcus, Matthew and Zack exploited by running into the gaps. I can not explain how pleased I was with the players performance and I hope they continue to enjoy the game.
The contact games were a little more one sided with the Vikings squad packed full of school rugby players. To the credit of the other Houses they did not let that deter them, and all of the Houses battled well and showed immense spirit and skill. Sam came in for a lot of praise from Mr Waterfield on account of his ferocious tackling and non stop work around the ruck. He is calculating enough to understand when to go for the ball and jackal and when to counter ruck or get into the defensive line. Comparisons were made to George Smith, the great Australian open side who played with a similar control and purpose. Lewis and Jack proved difficult for the opposition to handle. It says a lot about the technique of the boys that they were stopped, with Robert, Fin and Archie amongst the boys to perform well here, but when they were stopped they had the presence of mind to stop and recycle and allow the 2nd, 3rd or 4th wave of attack to make ground. Young Alfie read this pattern well and crashed over for a deserved try. He was reminiscent of Kyle Sinkler and his charged towards the line and the look on his face and the celebration afterwards said it all. Frank, Ryan, Eric and Marley performed with distinction throughout and showed all the sides of their developing game.
Overall it was a great morning and many thanks to all that made it happen. The beautiful weather and picturesque surroundings were surpassed on this occasion by the fabulous games on display.