LEICESTER TIGERS A 21
RGC 1404 9
A SQUAD of 14 North Walians, eight Canadians and two Welsh regional players walked off one of the most important stadia in English rugby having put in a credible performance against a Leicester Tigers Academy side.
Welford Road looked a little the worse for wear after the Tigers’ 47-8 Heineken Cup victory over Viadana the previous day and it is a mark of the support which Leicester were willing to give the development of the game in North Wales that this fixture was played there.
There were about 1,000 vociferous supporters in attendance.
Captained by Llangefni’s Will Bown, RGC 1404 - formerly Gogledd Cymru - took first blood through a drop goal by Steve Woodward.
Two more Woodward penalties added a further six points, matched by three successful penalty kicks by George Ford to make the score 9-9 at half time.
RGC 1404 had the best of the scrums in this first half with the front row of Doug Wooldridge, Dave Blackwell and Tom Dolezel in the ascendancy.
As expected from one of the best academy sides in the UK, Leicester were aggressive at the breakdown but this was more than matched by good performances from the back row of Jebb Sinclair, Will Bown and Chauncey O’Toole.
Bown sustained a back injury halfway through the second half and was replaced by Ruthin openside Joe Palmer with Sinclair moving to the number eight slot.
In the second half an early try by Welshman Gareth Clarke broke the deadlock, giving Leicester the lead.
At 14-9 a disallowed try by wing Ioan Davies could have given the North Wales regional team the confidence that they needed, but this was not to be.
Excellent scramble defence by both sides prevented a number of tries but it was Leicester’s Clarke who scored again after a lapse in concentration from a penalty in the red zone.
Scrum-half Sean White, returning for his first game, and Stephen Woodward controlled the game well.
For a side that had only been together for 126 hours, this was an encouraging performance.
Full back Ciaran Hearn played an intelligent game at 15 and Jack Moorhouse was as ebullient as ever in the centre.
See full story in the Leader