Belhaven Hill School

Co-ed Boarding & Day School for ages 5-13

Boys' Rugby: U11 v St. Mary's

Boys' Rugby: U11 v St. Mary's

On Wednesday, the U11s headed into the wild darklands of the Scottish Borders for a match with St. Mary’s, Melrose that was full of surprises.

We’d spent a significant time this week on our rucking technique, indeed, I would rate us as one of the top two schools on the circuit at the breakdown - it has been a real strength of our game thus far. Five minutes into the match, we’d been punished with three penalties at the breakdown and it was apparent that a different set of laws was being applied in this match. The boys were a little flummoxed by this and I don’t blame them as my final words to them before they ran on were: “We will win this match at the breakdown so remember what we have been working on and compete every ruck.”

Once I’d realised that they were not being allowed to compete at all at rucks, I asked for time to speak to them and explained what was happening and told them that they would need to adapt quickly. Unfortunately, young boys tend to like routine and consistency and they really struggled to adapt; in fact they were totally thrown and this affected every facet of their play as they lost the drive and ferocity that has been a hallmark of their play thus far.

Nevertheless, when they were in possession, they passed the ball wide and managed to score three tries in the first half, the first of which was a fantastic effort that started with a brilliant tackle by Johnny before James gathered up the ball, gave it to Hugo who delivered a cracking long pass out wide and eventually ended up in George’s hands on the wing and he sprinted round the outside to dot it down.

We ended the half three tries to two up but had to start the second half a man down as one of our company was sent off for what was deemed to be a dangerous tackle. Like the All Blacks do so often however, the boys responded well and actually put some points on the board while a man down.

When all was said and done, however, the boys never quite raised their game after the first few minutes to the standards we have come to expect, while St. Mary’s threw everything into the attack, including a few cross-field kicks and played well to score five tries in the half, including one in the confusion of a last play, meaning they ended up victorious.

So, a surprising defeat for the U11As, but often greater lessons are learned in defeat and,  as always, this was a learning experience - even at international level, referees interpret the laws differently and a really good sportsman can adapt, even in the heat of battle.

Belhaven Hill      5  -  7     St. Mary’s

MOTM: George