East unbeaten in entertaining Junior encounters

By Ian Golden at Ystrad Mynach

East outscored West by six tries to four in their 26-22 win but their kicking nearly cost them as they converted just one out of six conversions, levelling the U16 Origin Series 1-1.

It only took a minute for West to take the lead. Harri Arthur ran through and Juris Kesans converted.

East soon hit back through an unconverted Jac Jones try but West increased their lead when Harri Wrigglesworth pounced on a loose ball to score. They scored a second just five minutes before the break. Aled Isaac dodged his way through to score.

But West increased their lead again with the final move of the half. Ryan Blyth barged his way through the East line to score and Joshua Gabrielsen converted.

Blyth was again on the scoresheet early in the second half as Wests pulled further away from their rivals. Kesans was back on kicking duties and duly converted to make the score 22-8.

East weren’t finished yet. Kavan Phillips pushed away all comers as he drove through for his side’s third try. Evan Williams converted.

And they pulled another try back 14 minutes into the second half as Jones twisted over for his second of the game.

They levelled with 12 minutes to go. Rylie Probert got on the end of a good passing move and scored in the corner.

The same player then put East in the lead for the first time in the game with a brilliant run. The score again was unconverted but East held on for a hard-fought win.


East Wales and West Wales U14s played out an entertaining draw on Saturday in Ystrad Mynach in the second match of the 2023-24 WRL Origin Series.

The game took time to get going. From the first tackle after kick-off, West’s Jack Murphy hit his head and play was stopped due to concussion protocols. Three minutes after the restart, Evan Brayley scored in the corner to give West the lead.

East levelled on 14 minutes. Jake Leighton fed Elijah Asare-Bediako who scored in the corner. Captain Rhys Wood added their second converting it himself to give East a 10-4 lead at the break.

West brought it back to 10-10 early in the second half when Riley Davies scored under the sticks and Will Mordecai converted. They took the lead from the next set with a Ceirion Emmett-Jones try that Mordecai brilliantly improved from the touchline.

Wood then scored one of the tries of the day when he ran onto his own grubber, dodged a defender and scored under the posts. He converted himself to level the scores again.

Then in the final couple of minutes, after a strong attacking set, East looked to have won the game. Asare-Bediako forced his way over with Wood happily kicking the conversion.

That should have been it, but West secured a draw with the final move of the game after regaining the ball from kick-off. Charlie Noakes raced over and Mordecai kicked well to share the spoils.


In addition, an U14 development match was played with the fringe players from East and West locking horns, East winning 34-26 in a thriller.

West won this encounter 10-8 in December and they took an early lead in this game through and Alex Rankin try that Ruben Main converted. But East quickly turned the game around. Noah Appleby scored two breakaway tries in the space of three minutes with Jake Harper converting the second.

West hit back with an unconverted Ioan Griffiths try four minutes before the break to level the scores at 10-all. But an error allowed East back in. Harri Smith went over then Appleby completed his hat-trick with another strong run that Jacob Stiles improved. East 20-10 up at half-time.

Appleby made a quick impression in the second half with his fourth try of the game with Stiles converting. Smith scored his second to put the score onto 30-10.

West started to fight back. Arthur Gibbs went over for a hat-trick of tries in under ten minutes with Main converting two of them to bring the score back to 30-26.

But a late Louis Powell try in the corner sealed the match for East Wales.