Congratulations to Jake Clemson (St Ives RFC & Penwith College) who has been selected for the Under 18 England Counties two match tour to Ireland in April.
More details here:
Congratulations to Jake Clemson (St Ives RFC & Penwith College) who has been selected for the Under 18 England Counties two match tour to Ireland in April.
More details here:
The Cornwall U17 Group season is now under way for 2016-17. The U17 Group follows a different format than other age grades as the focus is on a larger squad, giving more players the opportunity to pull on a Cornwall shirt. The process began early 2016 when the U16 "Open Access" sessions were held at Newquay and Wadebridge RFC. These sessions saw over 130 boys attend and culminated in the traditional fixture of a Potential Cornwall U17 XV against the U16 County Cup winners at Bodmin RFC. This year saw the Cornwall side face Truro U16 in a very competitive game, with the Cornwall XV coming out on top.
From the original 130+ players the U17 squad is cut down to approx 65 players who are all invited to attend the U17 squad day at Bodmin RFC in November. As this is the age group where players leave school and enter colleges there is a huge amount of disruption in the squad selection as many players develop over the summer period, some leave rugby all together, some move clubs or even change position therefore the squad day is a way of seeing where everyone is and what they are doing.
The U17 Group play a number of fixtures over Dec, Jan and Feb and every player in the squad is given at least one game in a Cornwall shirt, this allows the coaching team the opportunity to see how players perform against a higher standard of opposition than many will have faced at this time.
This season the fixtures are
U17 v Truro School 1st XV Sun 11th Dec @ Truro School
U17 v Dorset & Wilts and Somerset (3-way fixture) Sun 18th Dec @ Newquay RFC
U17 v Plymouth College 1st XV Sun 15th Jan @ Marjon, Plymouth
U17 v Dorset & Wilts and Somerset (3-way fixture) Sun 29th Jan @ Dorchester RFC
U17 v Dorset & Wilts and Somerset (3-way fixture) Sun 12th Feb @ TBC
At the end of the U17 season the coaching team select the U18 squad for the following season from the players that have played for the U17. The reason behind this is that the U18 season begins early in the autumn and there is not the time to go through another selection process. However due to recent changes to the structured Constituent Body (CB) signed off by the RFU this may change as the U17 & U18 seasons will be different in the future.
Seven of this seasons Cornwall U18 group squad have been successful in taking the next step toward representing England Counties at U18 level.
The two weekends of the October half term saw all eight counties in the South West Division compete at Bristol Grammar School. The aim of this contest is to select players to represent the South West in the divisional weekend against other divisions from around England.
The players have been selected from over 200 players who took part in the championship at Bristol. They will be part of a 37 man squad that will take part in a final assessment day which is held at Hartbury College in Gloucester on 15th January.
If they are successful following the final assessment they will play against a Gloucester Rugby Academy side on 28th Jan and finally compete in the Divisional weekend on 24th & 25th Feb.
Players who compete in the divisional weekend are then selected to represent England Counties U18.
Congratulations to the players selected and we wish you all luck in the next stages.
Players selected in SW FAD Squad
Jake Clemson (St Ives RFC & Penwith College)
Keane Whitaker (St Austell RFC & Bodmin College)
Aaron Simmonds (Newquay RFC & Truro College)
Jack Old (Wadebridge Camels & Wadebridge 6th Form College)
Johnny Wood (Truro School)
Kyle Bradley (Helston RFC & Truro College)
Tom Hawken (Helston RFC & Helston Community College)
With this being the only home fixture for Cornwall U18 group this season, the players and coaches were keen to put on a good display for the faithful Cornish crowd that had gathered at St Austell's Tregorrick Park on Sunday afternoon.
With a few injuries to squad members, the coaches used the opportunity to select from the promising number of U17 players that have been highlighted through the U17 selection process. Even with the changes to the match day 23 the Cornwall players were confident following on from two strong performances against Bucks and Devon.
Things didn't start well though, when Cornwall lost one of their props in the warm-up.
The previous two fixtures had been "selection" games and it was obvious from the start that as this was effectively a "friendly", the intensity wasn't quite the same, as Cornwall looked laboured and couldn't seem to bring the normal consistency to their game. With dominance in the forwards and a huge attacking force in the back line it was only Cornwall's mistakes and frustration that kept Somerset in the game.
Eventually things began to click and Cornwall managed to get on the scoreboard through some excellent continuity play in the forwards. With the offloads now "sticking" confidence was growing. Somerset soon quashed the new found confidence when Cornwall failed to secure the restart and some simple but effective "one up" driving by the visiting forwards led them to the Cornwall line. Only a few meters away Cornwall again were guilty of communication failings when the Somerset 9 simply strolled around the corner of a ruck to score. (7-5)
The Somerset score and the "gentle encouragement" from the Cornwall coaches appeared to concentrate the "black & gold" players as this was to be the final score by Somerset.
Cornwall took a hold of the game and with the forwards being able to provide a solid platform, the impressive backs began to tear holes all through the defence. A further two tries were scored in the first half meaning Cornwall went into the break with a healthy 21-5 lead.
The 2nd half pretty much followed the first with Somerset only managing to break into the Cornish 22 on the rare occasion. The inclement weather probably didn't help matters but it appeared that Cornwall adapted best to the constant changes from sun to rain to hail back to sun again. Cornwall scored a further three unanswered tries in the 2nd half (one converted) to finish off the afternoon 38-5 victors.
The players and coaches would like to thank St Austell RFC for their fantastic hospitality and use of their facilities as always. Thanks again to the large support, including the members of TASC, who braved the cold and wet to cheer on the players.
The U18 season is now complete but the coaching team now move on to the U17 season which begins in earnest on 20th Nov at Bodmin RFC where the annual "squad day" will be held.
This Sunday (6th Nov) see's Cornwall U18 face Somerset in their final game of the 2016 U18 season. The game will be their only home county fixture of this season and will be played at St Austell RFC, with KO planned for 2:15pm.
The U18 group have had a mixed season with two wins in their first two warm up games against a Plymouth College 1st XV and an Exeter Chiefs Outreach U19 Squad.
Confidence was high after these first two fixtures but with a number of injuries to players from the original 25 man squad the build up to the first U18 Counties Championship games was far from ideal.
The Championship saw Cornwall lose 29-22 in a frustrating game to Buckinghamshire and then drawing 21-21 with their old foes, Devon.
The fixture against Somerset is a re-arranged game following a change to the U18 CB structured season as dictated by the RFU
The players will be hoping to go out on a positive note, before the coaching team turn their eye on to the U17 group season which begins in earnest on 20th Nov with a squad day at Bodmin RFC.
Squad to play Somerset at St Austell RFC on 6th Nov 16
The second and final game for Cornwall in this season's England Counties (SW) U18 Championship saw them face their old rivals, Devon.
With Devon putting Gloucestershire to the sword in their first game of the championship and Cornwall losing in a frustrating game against Buckinghamshire the Devon squad felt confident that they could "get one over" on their Cornish counterparts.
With a number of changes to the squad from the previous week, with players back from injury Cornwall felt this was an opportunity to put right some of the wrongs from the Bucks game. Unfortunately Cornwall again seem to struggle to get the bus journey out of their system and found themselves 7-0 down in the first 7 mins. The large Devon pack finding their feet first in the contest.
This reaction from the Cornwall side was impressive and again they began to tighten their grip. With total dominance in the scrum and with the lineout functioning Cornwall had plenty of possession and created a number of scoring opportunities, however the clinical finish required at this level appeared to have been left behind somewhere on the A30. To all involved and those supporting how the Cornish lads were not "out of sight". With the complete dominance in both territory and possession it was only Cornwall's control at the crucial moment that kept Devon in the game. With the large travelling support for both teams camped around the Devon 22 it was obvious who would score next and Cornwall duly obliged with a flowing backs move to score out wide (7-7)
Although easily on top in many facets of the game Cornwall couldn't build on their first score and finished the half all square.
The second half continued and quickly Cornwall began to build phases and the forward dominance led to a second try (14-7) Unfortunately it appeared the Cornwall dominance in the scrum was about to work against them as Devon ran out of qualified front row players and the game had to move to uncontested scrums. This allowed Devon to have a platform they hadn't enjoyed earlier in the game. Allowing the big "back five" to run more freely at the Cornish defence and after a number of narrow attacks and some valiant defence from Cornwall, Devon managed to trundle over under the posts (although the Cornish player placed between the ball and the ground appeared not to count?) (14-14)
With their new found freedom and their "tails up" Devon managed to score again when after a number of tight phases and the Cornish defence dis organised the Devon scrum half darted through a gap around the break down to score (14-21)
With 10 minutes to go Cornwall again began to build pressure and found themselves camped again in the Devon 22. Without the ability to tie in the Devon defence due to uncontested scrums Cornwall had to work hard for their third try but powerful driving from the pack led to a break off the maul and a touch down out wide. With the conversion successful the game was level 21-21. The final whistle couldn't come quickly enough for Devon but again Cornwall has let a game they had completely dominated get away from them and their failure to convert pressure was frustrating for all.
Two games that were equally winable finished with unfavourable results. Although ultimately it is about the players performance and as far as South West selection goes the result is immaterial, for the coaches and the players this is definitely two games that were there for the taking.
Squad against Devon
Saturday 22nd October saw Cornwall U18 compete in their first game of the 2016 U18 England Counties (SW Division) Championship. This event is held every year at Bristol Grammar School Sports Ground and is the next stage of the U18 age group aspirational pathway. The eight counties included in the SW division are Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Dorset & Wilts, Devon,Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Somerset. Each team plays 2 games (one each weekend of the October half term) with the ultimate aim of having players selected to represent the SW division in fixtures after Christmas and from there hopefully represent England Counties at U18 Group.
Cornwall's first fixture saw them "pitched" against Buckinghamshire, a team they had not played against at U18 group for some considerable time. Whether it was the long journey from Cornwall or whether it was a little bit of "stage fright" Buckinghamshire were the first to gain any kind of advantage. There simple, controlled rugby allowed them to dominate the early stages of the game as when Cornwall did have possession and tried to build phases, a simple mistake, a forced pass a wrong decision allowed Bucks off the hook and simply frustrated Cornwall more.
Bucks were the first to put points on the board with a well worked try and anyone watching the game couldn't really argue. Cornwall continued to worked hard and in glimpses everyone could see that the potential was there and the players simply needed to relax. The Cornish frustration wasn't helped by the fact they had obviously fallen foul of the referee's interpretation of certain aspects of their game, as the penalty count appeared to "rack up" in favour of the Buckinghamshire boys. Again it appeared that every time Cornwall managed to put phases together, they would lose their advantage through giving a penalty, dropping a pass, losing the ball in contact etc...
Half way through the first half Cornwall began to take control and built pressure, the forwards beginning to dominate the contact area and the scrum set piece, this pressure was rewarded with two scores in fairly quick succession, Cornwall taking the lead at 10-7. Unfortunately a lapse in concentration just before half-time saw Cornwall's defence breached and with the conversion missed half-time saw Bucks with a 2 point lead.
With a number of changes at half time to allow all players a fair opportunity in front of selectors the first 10-15 mins of the second half seemed to be a repeat of the first. With Bucks playing simple and more controlled rugby and Cornwall wanting to play a more exciting but higher risk game. Although Cornwall were dominating possession, it appeared that every time they got close to their opponents 22 they would let them off the hook and Bucks would clear. What happened next can't really be explained, it appeared that Cornwall stopped playing and allowed Bucks into the game and they began to dominate around the breakdown with simple "pick and go" and using their big runners close in. Before Cornwall knew it Bucks had scored 3 tries in a spell that quickly need to be forgotten. Bucks led 10-29
What the coaching team were pleased to see was the character shown by their players as Cornwall decided that they were not going to let this happen and took the game by the "scruff of the neck" The last 15 mins were completely dominated by Cornwall and if the side had played like this for the rest of the game Buckinghamshire wouldn't have been close to being in the game. two quick tries in the last 10 mins saw Cornwall pull the score back to 22-29 and with confidence no high the only thing that would stop Cornwall winning this game was the clock. Unfortunately with time running out Cornwall were unable to cross the line again and Bucks who appeared to be hanging on by their finger tips could not hide their pleasure at the final whistle as they knew that with 5 mins more the result could have been different.
A well contested game from both sides with some lessons to learn for the Cornish boys. two being, sometimes simple is best and also learn to adapt to the referees interpretation.
Next up Devon!!!
Squad for Cornwall v Buckinghamshire
Monday evening saw the Cornwall U18 squad get their season up and running. With the traditional season "opener" against a Plymouth College XV.
The game, originally planned to be played at the home of Plymouth Albion, was shifted to the 3G pitch at Keyham at the last minute.
With limited time together, an away fixture against a side that have been together for a couple of years and had recently returned from a pre-season tour in Wales was always going to be a great test. Made even more difficult with the number of injuries and unavailable players hitting the Cornish side.
From the KO it was clear that the bigger Cornwall side had the upper hand and dominated the early possession with backrow Keane Whitaker opening the score within the first 5 mins. For all the possession though, Cornwall were finding it difficult to breakdown a very well organised and stubborn defence. Cornwall failed to adjust their game to what was being placed in front of them and attack after attack would either "fizzle" out or the ball would be spilt with possession being handed over to the College boys.
Plymouth began to find their way into the game and their skillful half-back pairing began to take control. With good game management Plymouth found themselves deep in the Cornwall 22. Fortunately the defence was solid and Cornwall managed to break free and build an attack of their own which ended in a try scored by second row Archie Connolly. With the score 0 -12 Cornwall reached the half time break content, if not exactly pleased.
With a full front row, half back pairing and one centre changed at half time it was always going to take a few minutes to get organised again, and so it was that Plymouth took advantage straight from the whistle. With some larger than normal gaps in the defensive line the Plymouth fly half strolled through to score under the posts immediately from the restart.
Cornwall recovered well though and eventually got back into their stride. Again they dominated possession but slow ball at the breakdown and a lack of ability to play "heads-up" rugby which would have seen them out flank their opponents meant the college side were always in contention. With both sides scoring a further try a piece and the scores 12 - 17 Cornwall finally managed to break free by with another try from Whitaker and one from winger Jake Carr, score 12 - 27.
With minutes to play and with the college right winger "slicing" down the 5 meter channel he must have caught a glimpse of a black and gold "steam train" heading his way and stepped inside to evade it, unfortunately that steam train was blindside flanker Whitaker who was not allowing anyone to cross the Cornwall whitewash, with the Plymouth player coming off considerably worse. The tackle was deemed to be slightly high and as the referee felt the winger was in the action of scoring a try it was given as a penalty try. Final score 19 - 27
All in all a positive start to the campaign and a special mention to the U17 players who filled in at the last minute.
Next game away to Somerset U18 on 25th Sept at Weston-Super-Mare RFC
Monday 5th Sept sees this season's Cornwall U18 squad get their season off and running when they face a tough Plymouth College 1st XV away at Devonport Services RFC on the 3G pitch at Keyham.
Due to unavailability and pre-season injuries the lads have only been able to get together for one session since the squad was selected back in late May/early June. The whole squad (inc injured parties) attended an evening squad session which was held at Bodmin RFC last Monday evening. Although many of the players had not played a game " in anger" since the close of last season all have been involved in either club or college pre-season training and this showed in the session. The coaching team commenting on the good level of fitness and basic skills on show.
The fixture against Plymouth College is always the season "opener" for the U18 group and tends to be a very tight affair. The college have been involved in pre-season and are currently on tour in Wales so will have a head start on the Cornish boys.
The Cornwall squad has already been hit by injuries so have called upon a number of U17 players who have impressed through the selection process carried out at the end of last season. Hooker Callum Dewson is also unavailable due to his selection for the opposition as he attends Plymouth College and is required to play for them.
The U18 group is an important age grade for the Cornwall boys as it gives them a pathway to possible South West Division, and ultimately England U18 group representation. Last season saw six Cornwall players selected to attend the South West Divisional trials at Hartbury College, with three players going further and representing the South West against London & South East.
Aside from the Plymouth College game, the Cornwall side will be playing
Somerset U18 Group @ Weston-Super-Mare RFC (Sun 25th Sep , KO 3:00pm)
Dorset & Wilts U18 Group @ Launceston RFC (Sun 9th Oct , KO 2:30pm)
Buckinghamshire U18 Group @ Bristol Grammar School (Sat 22nd Oct , KO 2:00pm) U18 Championship
Devon U18 Group @ Bristol Grammar School (Sun 30th Oct, KO 2:00pm) U18 Champioship
Squad for Plymouth College Fixture
Squad players unavailable
Congratulations to the players listed below on their inclusion in the CRFU U18 Group Squad for the forthcoming 2016-17 season. As always the selection is a difficult process and every player who has played in the "Black & Gold" this season for the U17 Group has been considered.
The first time the squad will come together is on Sat 2nd July where there will be a training/testing day at Marjon Uni in Plymouth where the players will be put through their paces by the expert staff at the university.
The 25 man squad will play fixtures against Plymouth College 1st XV, Dorset & Wilts U18 and Somerset U18, before they compete in the England Counties SW U18 Championship which is held at Bristol Grammar School over both weekends of the October half-term. This year Cornwall will face Buckinghamshire on the first weekend and their old foes Devon on the final weekend.
Cornwall U18 Group Squad