Yorkshire Carnegie’s Under-16s Junior Development Squad started their 2017 playing programme last week with games against Newcastle and Sale at Kingston Park. This was a good opportunity for the players to take the next step from a successful County programme where they beat both Lancashire and Cheshire. All three clubs brought two teams to the festival with Yorkshire bringing a combined Yorkshire and ERDPP team.

Yorkshire arrived at Newcastle in glorious sunshine but by kick off the rain had started and didn’t stop for the rest of the afternoon. Despite this, Yorkshire played with ambition to move the ball and also play within the new rules of play for the Under-16s academy season designed to keep the ball in play.

The first game for the the Junior Development Squad was against Newcastle on the 3G pitch and both teams played ambitious rugby, moving the ball quickly. After 40 exhaustive minutes Yorkshire won 20-10. At the same time the Yorkshire and ERDPP  team faced  Newcastle twos. With an excellent defensive performance the players showed great commitment and organisation, but struggled to get any continuity in attack leading to a Newcastle win.

With a change of pitch for both teams the team moved onto the grass pitch to face Sale. With declining weather conditions the game lacked continuity with lots of errors from both teams.  The Junior Development Squad struggled to get a foothold in the game against a very physical Sale team. Half time came at a good time for Yorkshire who were able to regroup and pose more problems for Sale in the second half, but could not apply enough pressure and ended the game losers 10-5.

On the 3G pitch the Yorkshire and ERDPP sides continued to show good organisation in the defence with some very good moments of attack, but struggled to keep the ball which put them under a lot of pressure. The result was Sale had too much possession and ran out winners.

The games gave all of the players a good starting point to build towards the RFU Wellington Festival at Easter which is a week long Rugby competition between all of the RFU academies. Before the team get there they face Worcester and Harlequins on Sunday 2nd April in Warwick.

Danny Wild, Under-16s Head Coach said: “These games gave the players a great opportunity to explore the new rules of play. They showed throughout the day some creative solutions to the problems posed by both teams and also got some valuable  reference points to build towards Warwick and Wellington.”