When the Young Osprey under 19 fixture with the British Army was originally set up (to clash with the 6 Nations) it wasn't anticipated that there would be full programme of matches throughout Wales.
When the Young Osprey under 19 fixture with the British Army was originally set up (to clash with the 6 Nations) it wasnt anticipated that there would be full programme of matches throughout Wales. This clash proved a bit of a headache for under 20 Team Manager Kevan Tee and his under 18 counterpart John Davies; however, between them they managed to put a team on the field with some new blood that certainly made coaches Garin Jenkins and Keith Holifield look forward to next season with relish.
First points on the board came from Mumbles Tight Prop Lee Perrett, who came out of a driving maul and forced his way over for a try from 5 metres out. At 6 2 and with the build of an outhouse this recently converted 2nd row certainly has the stature to go a long way in the game and, what better a mentor than Jenkins himself. The British Army is certainly admired for its resilience and that quality is definitely reflected in its rugby team as they came back immediately with 2 tries and conversions in a five minute spell. However, fellow prop Nicky Boyce was not going to be outdone by his compatriot in the front row and he soon joined him on the scoreboard with a well taken try. Then came tries from two players returning to regional rugby which would be at the extreme ends of fishermens tales when they would be re-told to family and friends later on. If outside centre Michael Schropfer exaggerated his score by doubling the distance of his run in, it would have to be a try from 150 metres out; while if scrum half Chrissy Morgan did the same his would have to be a swallow dive effort from 2 metres up, as he used that technique in pouncing on a loose ball that squirmed out of the back of a disrupted 5 metre scrum. Both Schropfer and Morgan are available for next seasons under 20s and Holifield would appreciate the opportunity of having them in his armoury. Outside half Mike Jones only managed to convert one of the tries to give the Young Ospreys 22 points to 14 lead in what was an extremely entertaining first half of rugby.
With both sides making numerous changes in the second half the game lacked the control of the first period; nevertheless it remained exciting and high tempo. Morgan went on to score a hat trick of tries (and 2 conversions) and captain for the day Darren Phillips also added one. The Army replied with two of their own and with neither converted the Young Ospreys under 19 side were worthy winners by 41 points to 24.
Another young player to make his debut during the match was Mumbles back row forward Keiran Murphy and such was his impact that he has been officially added to the under 18 squad. Also it was an interesting day for potential under 18 international prop Ryan Bevington; he was forced to play as a hooker and made a very impressive front row in between Boyce and Perrett. Considering it was his first venture in such a difficult position at this level, it must have been mouth wateringly pleasing for his for his mentor Jenkins.
The Young Ospreys are extremely grateful for the cooperation and support they get from Corus RFC who again stepped in last minute to host this fixture when it was moved from the original venue. Also for the first time a Young Osprey match (outside of the Reebok Championship) received match sponsorship in from Mr Windows of Skewen, Neath.