Sidmouth Under-15s enjoy ground-breaking Portuguese Tournament experience
PUBLISHED: 20:20 21 April 2019 | UPDATED: 20:20 21 April 2019
Sidmouth RFC Under-15s have just returned from what was a terrific visit to Portugal that saw them take part in an International Rugby Festival played over the second weekend of April.
The ground-breaking tour came to fruition after months of planning following the brainchild of an idea by Sidmouth scrum-half, Sam Pugh.
Sidmouth were proud and excited to compete in what is widely regarding as one of the best youth tournaments in the world, one that sees participation by some 118 teams and 3,000 players representing five continents across the globe!
The first game in the tournament for the Sidmouth teens was a meeting with top Portuguese side Technica. The match was played out on a hard surface beneath blue skies and strong sunshine!
Undaunted and certainly not phased, Sidmouth began well and George Taylor was involved in a move which led to Tim Goody dashing over the try-line to score the first ever try by a Sidmouth player in the prestigious tournament. Edward Cooper slotted the conversion for a 7-0 lead. Back came the home side with a brace of tries, but crucially only one of which was converted.
With the clock ticking down and Sidmouth trailing 10-7, Teddy Osborne powered his way through the opposition ranks to score and a clinical kick from Cooper saw Sidmouth land a 14-12 success, much to the delight of a large – and noisy – number of travelling supporters!
Game two saw Sidmouth taking on Rhinos and their cause was not helped by Reuben Bennett being dismissed for what was deemed a 'high tackle' and a penalty try was awarded!
Sidmouth responded in gallant style when James Lacey demonstrated an impressive turn of pace to score the equalising try. Rhinos edged ahead once more, but Sidmouth were giving as good as they got and it was no more than they deserved when Beck Finnemore went on one of his trademark unstoppable runs to the line and another successful Cooper conversion.
Sidmouth continued to battle away and there were some terrific tackles put in James Lacey which epitomised the 'never-say-die' attitude from the team. However, Rhinos had that 'little bit extra' and duly won the game 22-12.
The third and final game of day one action for Sidmouth saw them beaten 12-0 by impressive Spanish outfit VRAC.
The day two action began with Sidmouth meeting Portuguese side Agronomia. In a flying start, Sidmouth struck first with a wonderful individual try from winger George Taylor. The action was fast and furious, and there's little doubt that this particular game daw the Sidmouth side play some of their best rugby of the tournament. They enjoyed long periods of possession with the opposition largely reduced to speculative kicking which Noah Western was content to hoover up! However, as the match wore on the Portuguese side gained confidence and they bagged a narrow 7-5 success with a late try and conversion.
The fifth and final game for Sidmouth was a Devon derby albeit played on Portuguese soil! Ivybridge were the opposition and Sidmouth, from the first whistle, seemed determined to exit the tournament with a 'bang'!
The powerhouse that is George Found opened the floodgates after finishing off a great team move and, shortly after Callum Priestley was unlucky when his 'try 'was ruled out for being in touch, George Taylor got his second try of the tournament with another powerful run.
Influential hooker Yan Mercan bagged the third try, his score coming with some terrific contributions by his forwards.
Then came the 'moment of the tournament' for Sidmouth as a powerful driving run from Beck Finnemore which ended with him unselfishly throw the ball into the arms of the supporting Noah Western to cross for a superb try to seal an emphatic 20-0.
Special mention and a large round of thanks should go to Taine Benson whose calm, decision-making and integrity makes him a great team captain. Also thanks are due to Sidmouth U15 coaches Stephen Kruger and Dan Western for their inspiration, hard-work, dedication and tactical nous, without them the team wouldn't exist.
The Sidmouth 'Player of Tournament' award, as chosen by the team, went to George Taylor for relentless try scoring brilliance.
The 'Special Inspiration' award went to the deserving Jan Tiffen-Turker whose pure passion, enthusiasm, love of life and love of Sidmouth rugby club is a great example to all the players.