Worthing College rugby girls travelled to the Octopus Club in Uden, Holland on Saturday to play 7’s against the Dutch and Belgian national teams.
Organised by Worthing College teacher and coach Mark Rugman it was an excellent opportunity for the Worthing girls to gain experience in an international setting, while Belgium and Holland used it as preparation for upcoming competitions on the international 7’s circuit.
The Blues started their campaign against a skilful and determined Belgium 1st VII side. The Belgians had a number of exciting runners, with players that could send the ball to the spaces it was a tough challenge for the Worthing side. However with a defensive tenacity seldom seen, all attacking forays were curtailed in the early minutes of the first half. It was the Blues on the back of this aggression that managed to get the first with Hird burning through the line and stepping the fullback and just having enough juice to get under the horns. Giampaglia added the extras and the Blues led 7-0.
Haywood was the next Blue to benefit from expansive and pacy attacking play scoring the second try for the English representatives. Blues 12-0 Belgium.
Worthing’s women continued to build pressure and came close to putting the game out of reach deep into the first period as Haywood and Gabriel were thwarted close to the line. A last ditch scramble, pressure on the ball and inaccuracy preceded a coast to coast run by the Belgian wing only halted with a high tackle from the despairing Overton, covering from the far side of the field. Penalty try was the call from the official and a couple of minutes rest in the bin for Overton’s effort, harsh, but fair in the minds of the assembled.
Worthing weathered the ensuing storm and it was Mayhew that finally steadied the Blues ship with a five pointer and Giampaglia added the extras, 19-7 Blues.
A thoroughly deserved victory over the spirited Belgium 1st and a perfect warm up for the matches to come.
On to the second fixture of the day and the Greens took up the baton against Belgium 2. The game was similar in intensity to the first encounter between the respective senior sides and again Worthing were able to assert some dominance over the second string Red team.
The Greens opened the scoring with what Coach Rugman called ‘a worldie of a try’ when Sezen stepped inside her opposite number, then gassed the cover defence from 60m. The extras added by MecAneney 7-0 Greens.
Porter scored another before the half and the Worthing side were proving more than a match for the Belgian second string 7.
Pressure was not only going one way and while determined and wholehearted the Greens line was breached and the score was 14-7 with only a couple of minutes to play. At this point any one of three results was still possible. Not on our watch said the Worthing 7 and it was a rambunctious, robust run from Porter, beating three would be tacklers and scoring in the wide channel that settled the affair. It took an individual effort of such impact to break the teams apart and that was a fitting conclusion to a great game.
Time for the big one, the decider. The Blues and the highly fancied Holland side. Holland have been playing tier one 7s in recent months and looked sharp from the off. Worthing again brought their brand of aggressive defence, pressuring the more experienced 7s outfit. Holland, knocked, knocked and knocked again at the door and unfortunately, it finally gave. The superior fitness and organisation under fatigue permitted gaps to be opened and run through. This was as should be expected, just that little bit too much for the tired, understrength but not outfought Blues team. The final score Holland 19-0 Blues.
Coach Rugman said “What a great experience for these young women. Playing against a tier one and tier two competition winning side. We can only get better as a result of this kind of exposure.”
He continued “The group are definitely better placed to take on the established order of English rugby because of this week and it’s going to be interesting watching the development from this point forward.”