Cornwall U20 44 - Devon 29
In a game that all the Cornish players and coaches knew would define not only this season but also next season’s standing in the Championship tier Cornwall came out with a six try to four win in the bright sunshine at Camborne RFC on Sunday 13 March.
With selection changes due to injuries both teams needed to make rearrangements and it was the depth of the Cornish squad that was to help determine the outcome. This bodes well for the next season as the younger members of the squad now know what is required at this level of the game.
Dan Rutter helped himself to a try hat trick as well as kicking four conversions and a penalty. He got the Cornwall side off to a good start with only four minutes on the clock. Rutter may well yet figure in the South West selectors minds when they meet. Other scores were accredited to James MacFarlane (2) and Adam Hughes. Hughes has had an excellent Championship at No. 8 and has shown great skill and determination and is another good prospect.
However, the whole squad contributed to a good result which looked comfortable at 29-0 after 21 minutes. A nasty injury to the very lively Locryn Williams seemed to halt Cornwall’s strong defensive play as well as a keen desire to keep the scoreboard moving. Devon finished the half with further tries by Bond and Bottoms so at half time Cornwall led by 32-19.
As the second half got underway there were further scores for Devon that brought the score back to 37-29 and it needed the touchdown by Hughes to settle the score but the whole squad had to dig deep to see out the last minutes and a 44-29 score line.
Coaches Brynn Jenkins, Mike Rawlings and Ian Morgan were clearly relieved that the Cornish boys had acquitted themselves well in the final pool game and that the result ensures another season in the top flight of U20 rugby. Thirteen of the squad will now return to compete at this level next season while Luke Hattam, Tommy Phillips, Jack Simmons and Tommy Lee Southworth and others will move out of the age group knowing that they have ensured Cornwall continues to develop quality players in this age group and into the senior game.