Match Report
Sir Thomas Rich's School Boys-U14A vs  Bloxham School
On: Saturday, 14 Oct 2023
Venue: Away

Match Analysis vs Bloxham

Game nine of the 2023/24 U14 season saw Tommies make the journey east to face Bloxham in Oxford. After a torrential down pour before the off, it was unsurprising to see plenty of handling errors in the early exchanges. Tommies have mainly started games strongly this season, but they were slow out the blocks on this occasion and Bloxham took full advantage. After 10 minutes, Tommies had yet to put more than one phase together and subsequently had very little possession. Bloxham found themselves with a line out just outside our 22 and ran a nice play off the top. Our defence was poor, and a hard runner ran through practically untouched. Not the start we wanted, but Byron railed his troops under the posts and Tommies knew they must bounce back quickly.

Fenton kicked long from the resulting kick off and the remainder of the half was played in Bloxham territory. Tommies carried well upfront and were able to advance powerfully off the base of the breakdown. Things weren’t clicking in the wider channels and a few handling errors halted attacks. Credit to the boys, heads didn’t drop, and we continued to ask questions of the Bloxham defence. Wave after wave of Tommies attack followed and eventually, we were able to breach the Bloxham wall. Harper sensed an opportunity at the base of the breakdown and there was no stopping the Tommies number 8 so close to the line. Fenton added the extras to make sure his side were level at the break.

Similar patterns of play followed in the second half but crucially Tommies were able to build a few phases in attack. Large parts of the game were played in the Bloxham half, but they continued to be an extremely difficult side to breakdown. Tommies lacked depth in attack and subsequently failed to convert some opportunities out wide, but they continued to have the edge upfront. The pressure eventually told with both Yemm and Leney powerfully smashing over from close range. After a very slow start, I was proud of the attitude to fight back. Plent of things to work on in training before the Local derby vs Crypt!

Man of the match was a close call again this week. Harper carried monstrously upfront whilst Miller looked dangerous with every carry out wide. I have decided to give the vote to Yemm who was instrumental in our set piece and delivered some big carries at important times.

Areas to Improve

Depth outside the first receiver – Depth has been a problem for us all season, but it was particularly apparent on Saturday. Bloxham were quick off the line and often blitzed out at our first receiver. In these cases, we must get Ospreys in place, with the Osprey runner coming hard, and crucially, the second receiver nice and deep. This will allow us to unlock those outside channels and set our backline a little deeper.

Body height when carrying – Credit to Bloxham, they were excellent at slowing the game down upfront and looked to choke tackle at nearly every opportunity. We spoke about this at half time, and we did improve but it is worth considering our body height when carrying into contact.

Exiting quickly – Sometimes the best time to exit is immediately after a turnover as there is usually plenty of space in behind. We must try and recognise this quickly then make a decision, as a turnover can also be an excellent time to counterattack!

Skills/Inspiration

Backs – Antione Dupont

Antoine Dupont Is A Beast For France | Brutal Rugby Speed, Agility & Big Hits - YouTube

Forwards – Ardie Savea

Ardie Savea is one POWERFUL ATHLETE! - YouTube