West Wales proved to be worthy 36-30 winners against East Wales at Glynneath RFC in a fast and high entertaining game at under 13 level as Wales Rugby League’s two Regional Player Development Centres (RPDC) went head to head for the very the first time this week.
The RPDC is a development programme run by Wales Rugby League where players are identified via the junior club and schools programme. They are then invited to their local centres where they are exposed to quality coaches who deliver a structured Rugby League programme. The intention of the programme is to speed up the player development process and it enables the WRL to keep a close eye on each player.
On a sunny but blustery day a great crowd turned up to watch a high intense thriller.
The game started well with West Wales starting particularly strong, dominating from the very first kick.
Ben Jenkins was very prominent, culminating in a great break from dummy half in the first minute which resulted in a great solo try. Dylan Francis converted taking the score to 6-0.
Straight from the kick off there was a slight case of déjà vu as the West once again looked for the attack. A series of strong carries by the forwards enabled West to gain territory which resulted in Curtis Davies bulldozering his way over the line. The conversion was missed. The West looked in a strong position stretching their way to a 10-0 lead.
The East region finally got their opportunity to show what they can do with the ball and were driven around the park by their very dominant and mature half back Lewis Cullen. They looked strong with both centres Daniel Wilde and Jarred Rosser looking particularly dangerous in open play.
The forwards were on top with Rollin Menayese proving to be a real handful for the West defence. A series of robust runs had the West region on the back foot as the ball was span out Jarred Rosser was on hand to score the opening try for the East. Menayese converted.
The forwards were gaining great yards with each carry and the momentum was now with the east. Jack Williams ran hard and he was rewarded with a try in the corner but the conversion was missed.
The purple patch continued from the kick off, the East rolled easily up the field. The relentless pressure continued as the East scored a further three tries through Daniel Wilde and Rollin Menayese (2).
As the half time whistle blew the East went into the changing rooms with confidence with the score standing at 22-10 in their favour.
As the second half started the West region were once again on fire. Great carries by the Davies brothers and loose forward Connor enabled the west to dominate field position. The tide had changed with the West now being the dominant team. Crisp passing from Elliot Myles from dummy half allowed the west to carry the ball with great vigour. Relentless pressure and the sheer size of the west pack enabled Bradley Davies to crash over. The conversion was successful and the West were back in the game.
The encounter was now action packed as the west looked to utilise their dominance. Daniel Maiden was lively and looked very dangerous with the ball. A loose kick from the East was easily gathered by Ben Jones he launched the counter attack and found himself in space with only one person in front of him.
Some intelligent play and great inter passing between Ben Jones and Ben Jenkins created a score for Daniel Maiden. The conversion was missed.
The West were now totally dominating and a try by Carwyn Taylor which was converted by Dylon Francis gave them a 26-22 lead.
Both teams were now pushing for the win. Relentless pressure resulting in Jarred Rosser scoring his second try. The conversion was missed, the scores were level.
The level of tension had by now increased neither team was willing to give up. Pressure from the West resulted in Connor Davies scoring – the conversion was missed the West led 30-26 with five minutes left on the clock.
The game was tight, anxiety was high in both teams. Fforest Quirke snuck up the blind side and scored a great opportunist try. The kick was missed the scores were again even.
With seconds to go, the game was destined for a draw again. The West were in possession as the ball was spun to Dylan Francis. A cheeky show and go play enabled him to find space, there was no one in front of him and he touched down underneath the posts to score the match winning try.
Wales Rugby League’s Player Performance Manager Aled James said: “The East versus West game was the culmination of an eight week programme. The talent on show was tremendous and the skill level demonstrated throughout the game was pleasing. The future for rugby league in Wales looks good. The immediate future for the players on show tonight is their local junior clubs. They will also be invited to train together as a squad once a month over the summer. Some players from this programme will invited to participate in the High Performance Unit and the Crusaders Scholarship programme next year.”
Written by Aled James