Penarth RFC Youth 5 Cardiff Met University 26

LAST Saturday saw a four-match winning run come to an end for Penarth RFC youth when they were beaten at home by Cardiff Met University.

Having won their previous Blues Premier league match convincingly against Abercynon at home, the Penarth have made good use of the suspension of the league during the autumn internationals by playing several friendlies against local teams which resulted in three victories and the opportunity of developing the squad.

Notably, the first year youth boys had a convincing win against Llandaff RFC Youth, whilst a mixed experience team of first and second years earned a good win at home against Newbridge.

However, by far the most pleasing result was a fortnight ago when with only 17 fit players available, and many playing out of position, the team travelled away to Beddau and pulled off a great win against a very professional, well supported side 27-24.

With four victories in a row, it was hoped that the winning streak could be carried on.

The players and coaches knew that against the much older and bigger Met boys it was always going to be a tough game for the home team, and so it proved when the university team ran out winners.

It perhaps says something that following the previous game in the WRU Youth Cup, when the Penarth boys came close to beating the university team, losing by only three points, their opponents' coaching staff decided to bring their strongest team for Saturday's game.

It must also be seen as a compliment to how far the Penarth Youth team has progressed over the past few seasons and the standard of play they are achieving, and once again it gave the Penarth boys an opportunity to develop against a well organised and physical outfit.

For much of the game the home team held the university boys well with some great defending and counter attacking play and it was 15 minutes into the game before the visiting forwards bulldozed their way over from five metres out to take a five-point lead.

The Penarth team continued to put up a wall of defence with some great steals in the lineout by both Alex Shaw and Cameron Sultana and this gave an opportunity for scrum-half Joe Williams to kick for territory and play deep into the university half of the field.

It wasn't until the 23rd minute before the university struck again when some strong running by their number 8 into the Penarth 22m set up a ruck and a peel from the back again saw them score a converted try from close range.

A further seven-pointer saw the visitors go into half-time with a 19-point lead.

With the Penarth boys conceding an early try at the start of the second half, the Penarth coaches made some changes after five minutes of the restart in both the forwards and backs, and this seem to stem the flow of the university team, with the Penarth Youth pinning the visitors in their own half for most of the second half.

Great tactical kicking by Joe Williams, who was moved to outside-half and sniping running from Aled Rees at scrum-half, opened up holes in the Cardiff Met defence on several occasions, which centres Matt Frost and Aron Arthur were able to exploit and gain great ground.

Together with some good ball carrying from Ed Hurst at second row and Connor Mitchel at prop, Penarth were rewarded for their hard efforts with a try for wing Gruff Shewring who carried the ball well to the line to score.