Devon Under-18s praised after win over Gloucestershire
DEVON Under-18s head coach Glenn Channing said this year’s players had been a credit to themselves, their county and their clubs after they ended their South West Counties’ fixtures with a victory over Gloucestershire.
The Devon side ran in five tries at Hornets RFC to win 25-15 and it is now hoped a number of the squad might get invited to attend South West trials.
Devon, who had lost to Berkshire in their opening game, started with purpose against Gloucestershire with some big carries from Pete Keane, Jed Reid and Cameron Duncan and with fly-half Euan Kent marshalling the team well.
The Green and Whites opened the scoring when Brixham centre Sam White put dangerman Matt Burns into space and he beat two defenders before drawing the last man and off-loading to supporting scrum-half Tom Pearson, who ran in from 20 metres to touch down.
Seb Tooke, winger Bertie Hughes and full-back Jamie Paxman all made line breaks before Devon’s second try came mid-way through the first half. Good rucking work by Toby Churcher allowed his back-row colleague Freddie Herring to make a great steal at the breakdown and a few passes later the ball came to Topsham centre Ben Sapiecha. He still had work to do, but showed great pace to leave the Gloucestershire defence in his shadow.
Gloucestershire struggled at the line out, with Jack Bull reading their calls brilliantly and front-row skipper Jacob Gould guiding the team well. But Gloucestershire did pull a try back with some good team play.
However, Devon responded well and another trade mark run from Ivybridge flyer Burns turned the Gloucestershire back three inside out and he scored a well-deserved try to make the half-time score 15-5.
Devon made changes at half-time but the players that came on continued the intensity and they scored a fourth try when Tavistock’s Toby Teague got over the line after some good pick-and-go work by the forwards.
Not to be completely out done the Gloucestershire pack produced a well-worked move from a line-out to score a second try, which was followed by a third not long later.
But Devon finished on a high with a fifth score. South Molton’s Jack Routley started it by handing off three defenders before passing to Teague, who bull dozed his way through two defenders for a second try.
Afterward the win Channing said: “This is a true credit to the lads that put the shirt on during the championship and to those lads who made up the training squad of 38 players who never got the chance to play. They are all are a credit to their clubs and Devon rugby.
“Building the profile of county rugby starts from the clubs and then allowing the lads to enjoy the experience that comes with playing with a new group of players and putting on the famous shirt.
“A special mention also has to go to the volunteers who have made it possible this season - team manager Simon Fuller, who pulls the strings behind the scenes, and the coaches Kingsbridge’s Joel Caddy and Topsham’s Ed Powell, between the pair of them they have helped guide the lads to develop and gain a positive experience which will lead to future county under-20s and senior stars.”
Devon squad: James Paxman, Bertie Hughes, Ben Sapiecha, Sam White, Matt Burns, Euan Kent, Tom Pearson, Jacob Gould, Jed Reid, Seb Tooke, Cameron Duncan, Jack Bull, Toby Churcher, Freddie Herring, Pete Keanie, Ben Jago, Herbie Owen, Toby Teague, Zac West, Lewis Sharam, George Down, Tom Newman, Finn Turley, Jack Routley