Virginia RFC U14s Keep 100% Record Intact
Rainey Old Boys RFC 0 Virginia RFC 27
Virginia RFC U14s travelled to Magherafelt in Co Derry on Saturday looking to maintain their 100% start to the season after the previous weekends abandoned game. It was a cold and wet morning but Virginia were determined not to let that affect them as they took on Rainey Old Boys RFC. The match was played on the state of the art 4G Hatrick Park pitch at the Meadowbank Sports Centre.
The visitors front row of John Smyth, Killian Collins and Jake Sullivan didn’t have it all their own way against a well drilled Rainey scrum, but as usual they were comfortable on their own ball and provided a good attacking platform. Locks Robert Lochaden and Jamie Osbourne worked tirelessly in the loose, allowing the flankers plenty of opportunity to test the home defence. Adrian Lynch was a thorn in their side, and eventually a strong run from Cai Walker broke the deadlock and gave Virginia a 5-0 lead. It wasn’t just about the forwards though, and with Jason Henderson at scrum half varying the play at every opportunity Rainey were under constant pressure. The backs saw plenty of ball, varying it between the strong direct running of Ryan Kennedy, and the electric step and pace of Niall Carolan, they sought to test the hosts out wide and before long Cai popped up on the wing to squeeze into the corner for his second. Rainey were no pushovers and their backs in particular ran at Virginia. The men in black though were up to the challenge, and Jack Vaughan and David Gibney on the wings put in some great tackles. Towards the end of the first half Virginia again found themselves in the opposition twenty-two, and more powerful runs by the forwards again broke through the defence and Cai completed his own hatrick to make it 15-0 at half time.
The changes were rung at halftime but it didn’t affect the performance in anyway. The forwards continued dominate in the loose, with Callum Finnane adding his trademark ferocity to the proceedings. Adam Sherriff on at scrum half was a constant pain to his opposite number, and John Dolan tackled bravely to shut down any wide moves quickly. Adam Charters continued his controlling performance at fly half, and broke the Rainey lines with a great run and step to take the score to 20-0. Conor Nulty was brought on in the centre, and the timing of his passes was creating space outside him to great effect. The additional space allowed the ball to get wide and into the hands of Evan Manning on the wing, and his powerful run was too much for the Rainey defence as he touched down in the corner for the visitors 5th try. A stunning touchline conversion from Michael McKeon-Boyle made the scoreline 27-0. Mark Gibney came on at No 8 and continued to impress in his first season, as did Thomas Sheridan at hooker, eventually winning us a scrum against the head as Rainey sought a consolation try. Virginia are yet to concede a try in the league this season, but that was put to the test as the game drew to a close, and only a last gasp try saving tackle from Aaron Mannion at full back kept that record in tact, final score 27-0 to Virginia.
Next week they have a home time against Malone RFC, the team they beat in last years Ulster League Final, and the 2nd XV are also back in action as they travel to Leinster for a friendly against Navan RFC.