The Worthing College squad travelled to the Dukes Rugby on Saturday afternoon following on from supporting the girls at Octopus Rugby in morning. The mornings exploits had buoyed the boys group as they entered the training fixture with Holland U17.
Worthing played with the elements in the first half, the slight breeze rustling the remaining leaves as the sun cracked through the autumnal semi clad trees surrounding the Dukes pitch.
While titled ‘training’ it was anything but as both sides flew into the collisions, asking nor giving quarter. The initial encounters were testament to the mentality, commitment and passion with which each side would take to the challenge.
It was Worthing that had the best of the opening exchanges and surprised all in attendance with the competitiveness shown at scrum time. Much the smaller and lighter from 1-15 they gained field position and probed the home sides line but it held firm.
Once this initial pressure was alleviated Holland came more in to the contest and their superior physical stature began to stress the visitors defence. Gain line was becoming more readily available to the Dutch and this was the perfect platform to get the offload game going. This resulted in some excellent defensive scrambles but it was Holland that took they lead halfway through the first half.
This initial score was backed up with another late in the half, but it was only 10-0 Holland at the break. A fact that wasn’t lost on Coach Coulson who later said “We were really in the game at that stage, the first half was a real confidence booster for everyone.”
With the number of changes that were made at the half it was difficult to say what the second half would hold. However only 2mins in that question was cleared up some. The Dutch side which had been completely changed from 1-15 hit the ground running and the visitors were struggling to hold on as every collision made seemed to go the way of the home team. That dominance was instrumental in the building of a 29-0 lead. It was clear that this could soon degenerate into a semi-opposed team run were it not for the continued tenacity of the Worthing team.
The with 10mins to go in the game, Worthing started to gain a little more parity in open play. The strong running of Worthing’s pack brought the go forward enjoyed by their counterparts for much of the match. The backs were starting to make holes open up and it gave the defenders more to think about. A concerted period of tight play driving into the Dutch 22m led to a try for Captain Wheat, just reward for his and his sides efforts on the day.
The match finally concluded with Holland deserved winners 29-7. Worthing gave more than good resistance, it was an excellent advert for the sport and sportsmanship between two sets of players that wanted to represent themselves and their loved ones with pride.
Defence and Forwards Coach Turner said “The pressure we applied in the first half was impressive. We stopped any momentum being created and this rattled them for long periods.” Attack and Backs Coach Coulson added “We set the goals of scoring a try in each half, of defending stoutly, but most of all representing ourselves and earning the respect of the national team and their coaches. It was a huge learning curve for some of these guys. Ask any student from Durrington or Worthing High schools if they would have thought in Yr11 they’d get the chance to play against an international rugby team, I reckon I know what they’d say!”
So Worthing leave Holland on Sunday very much on the rugby minds of the Dutch rugby public. Respect earned through a tenacious appetite for the can do and a disregard for the nay sayers. A great camp, thanks to the students but most of all, Helen Stewart, Mark Rugman, Jack Churches and Chris Turner, all of whom have played their part in an excellent experience for the students at Worthing College. Top work to all, see you in lessons Monday.