Belhaven Hill School

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

Boys' Rugby: U11a Season Report

Boys' rugby: U11a Season Report

Boys U11a Rugby
Season Report

What the sixteen boys who made up this year’s U11 group lacked in numbers, they certainly made up for in enthusiasm and skill, thus ensuring that the 2019 season was a very successful one indeed. As we play eight a side at this age-group, it meant that on some match days it was all hands on deck but this didn’t prove to be a problem for this, seemingly indefatigable, group.

At U11 level, the focus is still on trying to get the boys as engaged and involved as possible and with a small group of sixteen, playing eight a side, A and B matches, there was certainly no difficulty in doing that! With almost equal numbers of form 4 and form 3 boys, I also had a keen eye on development, and as such, ensured that every boy played at least a couple of matches for the A team, something not many schools manage to do. The fact that both teams were still so successful, speak volumes about this merry band and it was fantastic to see some of the younger or less confident boys giving their all when given the opportunity in the A team.

The season kicked off with an early A team match against Clifton Hall then A & B matches against Ardvreck and early successes suggested that there were some real talents amongst the boys. The B team then headed into the capital to play in a triangular and had a fantastic afternoon, winning against St. Mary’s and then drawing in a nail-biting match with Fettes.

It was the A team’s turn next as they threw themselves into 7s rugby at the annual Loretto 7s Tournament; a tournament in which we have enjoyed great success in recent years. 2019 was to be no different. The boys were hugely impressive, tackling ferociously and passing the ball better than any other team there - true sevens rugby. The final, against Cargilfield, was a real battle and, slightly dazed, the Belhaven Hill boys emerged as victors when the final whistle sounded, to lift the cup for the fifth time in six years.

A return to regular matches for both the As and Bs against Cargilfield, Merchiston and Craigclowan saw some good wins for both teams but also the As first defeat at the hands of Cargilfield.

Still smarting from their loss, the boys took their revenge by playing some outstanding rugby to sweep all before them at the Cargilfield 7s Tournament and lift that trophy for the second time in the three years of its existence.

Loretto, Ardvreck, St. Mary’s and Fettes all followed as both teams continued to develop their skills and, for the most part, play open, running rugby. A mark of the A team, in particular, was their skill at passing the ball, getting it away from the breakdown and into the wide channels time and again; as an U11 coach, I love to see tries scored in the wide channels and plenty were. Both teams were dominant at the breakdown in virtually every match they played, which was just reward for the boys’ application in training as whenever we focused on these skills and a good demonstration of their determination and competitive natures. In the A team game against St. Mary’s an unexpected change of laws denied the boys the chance to use this strength and slightly flummoxed them, leading to another defeat while the Bs just soldiered on.

The final match of the season was against Longridge and as it was a home match, I thought it only fitting that all the boys play. Dividing them into ‘pods’ of four, they were subbed on and off in their pods with all boys enjoying equal time. And it worked a treat! A close game ensued and I was hugely impressed by all the boys, with a number of them playing their best rugby of the season. A very close finish saw Belhaven end one try up which was a fitting finale to a brilliant season.

Every boy has made tremendous progress, improving their tackling, passing, rucking and running skills. Some who began the season feeling a bit nervy have grown in confidence while others have pushed on to develop some higher order skills, including some good decision making. There are some real talents amongst these boys. I have no doubt that some of the form 3s will go on to strengthen the 1sts in 20120 and I look forward to working with the form 4s against next year – though another small group, they are showing every sign of being ready to ensure that the high standards of U11 rugby at Belhaven Hill, set over the past six or seven years, will be maintained.

It has been a pleasure. Well done, boys.

Some statistics:

16 boys
Played 27  Won 22  Drew 3  Lost 3
tries for
115 against
Most tries scored = 45

B team unbeaten

Minimum games played by any boy = 7
Minimum games played by any boy for A team = 2

Winners Loretto 7s Tournament

Winners Cargilfield 7s Tournament

W.T. 2019