|22nd Jan 2006|| Friendly||NEUTRAL||867||HT:6-16|
|MATCH NOTES : Match played at Donnybrook, Leinster RUFC, Dublin |
|Age in brackets is at time of match - Total average age for this team is 18. - ** non-playing sub|
MATCH REPORT : Despite rarely finding their fluency in their first run-out of the 2006 season, a youthful Saints side proved too strong for National League 2 side, London Skolars, in the Annual Dublin City Rugby League Challenge.
Saints got off to an ideal start on four minutes when Ian Webster claimed the season's first try, scooting over from dummy-half when the Skolars' markers over-anticipated a pass from the hooker.
The Skolars were taking longer to settle, and three times in the opening ten minutes surrended possession in their own half. However Saints handling was not assured either, as shown when Littler wasted a line break on the first tackle with an unnecessary, speculative pass. His error was compounded by conceding a penalty moments later, allowing the Skolars their first foray into Saints' half; centre Mike Castle scored in the right corner, and Ben Joyce's convcersion from near the touchline levelled the scores.
Although still disjointed, Saints were maintaining their territorial ascendancy, and it was only a matter of time before the moves began to produce rewards. A delightful, delayed pass by Matty Smith created the space for Ste Bannister to run through unchallenged, then Sean Weed's offload caught the Skolars defence unawares and Dave Hull jinked through to open up a ten-point margin on the half-hour.
Saints were keeping the Skolars defence guessing with their range of passing, and Scott Moore's short pass to Weed was too astute for a stretched defensive line to combat, as the centre sprinted in for Saints' fourth.
The half-time interval proved to be merely a pause in the procession: Hull was ultimately the beneficiary from Moore's basketball pass, and 2005 Senior Academy Player of the Year Gaz Langley scored a trademark 80 metre interception try.
The Skolars rallied, and it took a first-class tackle by Hull to prevent Nathan Meischke from grounding the ball after he had intercepted a pass by Smith on halfway. The Skolars' efforts were rewarded two minutes later, though, when Austen Aggrey finished off a good move down the left flank.
The respite for the Londoners did not last long. Paul Leyland scored from close range after an imperious switch of play by Smith, who then scored Saints' eighth try from Clough's pass.
Hull capped a fine performance when he again tracked back to haul down a breakaway attack, this time preventing Rubert Jonker from scoring. Perhaps fittingly, the team in green had the final word: Matt Pitman scoring his side's third try in the last minute, as Saints ran out comfortable winners, 42-14, in front of an enthusiastic Irish audience.
Tries: Hull (2), Webster, Bannister, Weed, Langley, Leyland, Smith.
Goals: Hardman (5 from 8)
London Skolars: Charlie Oyebade, Austen Aggrey, Mike Castle, Tane Taikoto, Corey Simms; Todd Egan, Nathan Meischke; Mike Morrison, Gareth Honor, Rubert Jonker, Matt James, Matt Pitman, Ben Joyce.
Substitutes: Alex Walker, Vinny O'Dowd, Malaki Forrester, Josh Garden, Huy Le, Mario Du Toit.
Tries: Castle, Aggrey, Pitman.
Goals: Joyce (1 from 3)
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