Friday 9 December 2016

U-17s take positives from tour

Published 08/04/2016 | 02:30

Connacht U-17s revelled in the challenge of playing Harlequins in front of a big crowd at the Stoop
Connacht U-17s revelled in the challenge of playing Harlequins in front of a big crowd at the Stoop
Connacht U-17s scrumming down

A 27-man Connacht U-17 squad travelled to England to take on the might of Wasps and Harlequins last week.

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The five-day tour was based in the exceptional facilities of the Oratory School just outside Reading and the first match was against Wasps last Thursday.

Set in the stunning grounds of Henley Hawks RFC on a sun-drenched evening, Connacht were outmatched physically by a well drilled and competitive Wasps side.

Connacht started well, dominating early possession and striking deep into the hosts' territory but failed to cross the line and once Wasps weathered the initial surge they started to impose their own game-plan, scoring 61 unanswered points using their brute force and strength.

But Connacht had the final say, managing two late tries to leave the final score 61-12.

The second match saw the Connacht side arrive at the Stoop in time to see the first half of the Aviva Premiership clash between Harlequins and Newcastle before togging out and taking to the same pitch straight afterwards.

The atmosphere was electric as a large portion of the crowd stayed to see the age-grade clash.

Harlequins raced to an early lead but Connacht's second-half performance was a defensive masterclass, holding a much bigger and more physical Harlequins side scoreless; the final score of 40-0 did not reflect the massive performance this up and coming crop of Connacht players.

Despite the results this was a thoroughly beneficial trip for the squad, the team bonded well and have plenty of video footage to pore over between now and the U-18 InterPro series in the autumn.

Connacht U-17 Squad: Aarron Martyn, Brian Boland, Christian Nielsen, Cian Huxford, Colm Reilly, Colm O'Brien, Craig McCormick, Diarmuid Codyre, Daniel Arnold, Darren Toohey, Declan Gill, Dylan Tierney-Martin, Ewan Heapes, Fionn Finley, Harry Donnelly, Iarlaith Morrin Laheen , James Kelly, Jason Hoare, John Tumelty, Jordan Fogerty, Michael Hanley, Michael O'Donnell, Morgan O'Brien, Niall Murray, Rob Hennessy, Rowan O'Halloran, Ryan Lomas.

Management: Charlie Cooper, Conor Galvin, Gavin Foley, Luke Murphy, Emily Ross.

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