The second Wales Rugby League junior origin day, sponsored by Gower College, Swansea, took place on Saturday where three exciting games were played.
West Wales took the spoils in an entertaining clash in the U14s fixture. Jack Field’s opening score was converted by Mason Wood to give West Wales a 6-0 lead, but East Wales responded with unconverted tries from Kelyn Jude-Hobbs, East star player Cole Pelopida and Cerrig Day to give them a 12-6 advantage at the break.
An early Jude-Hobbs score in the second half extended the lead to 16-6, but following a team talk from captain Osian Thomas, Wests scored three tries without reply. Alfie Archer first with a try in the corner, then an Elis Thomas try, converted by Wood, levelled things. Finally, Archer’s second of the day gave Wests a 20-16 win. Oliver Andrews of West Wales was later named Player of the Match.
East Wales claimed victory in the U16s clash, edging a 12-try thriller. Easts led 24-10 at the break and despite a strong comeback from their rivals in the second half, held on for a 34-32 win, with Kai Sengul getting the winning try.
Skipper and player of the match Kade Woodward also scored, in addition to George Groves, Jake Sheppard, Ethan Paterson and Lewis Appleby, plus ten points from the boot of Iestyn Jones that secured the victory.
Juris Kesans scored a brace of tries and kicked four goals for West Wales with Alex Green, Will Davies, Jake Nottingham and Owain Martin scoring the others, with Jacob Morris winning their player of the match award.
In addition to the two main fixtures, there was an U14’s development fixture where East Wales got the better of West Wales thanks to tries from Tom Ede, Joseff Keating and Robyn Sandel. Player of the match Charlie Burrows kicked two goals in the 16-10 win. Easts’ star player James Gavigan, along with Harri Nevin got the tries for West Wales, with Ioan Griffiths kicking a goal.
Wales Rugby League General Manager Mark Jones said: “Saturday was another outstanding event for Rugby League in Wales. It was the first time we have run a development game at U14s, which allowed 25 more players to experience regional Rugby League (this opening match was played 12-a-side).
“All three games were highly contested and could have gone either way. All the players performed at a high level and impressed the Wales U16’s head coach Paul Berry and assistant coach Liam Bostock who were in attendance.
“The West v East Origin series is now tied at 1-1 at both age groups, and a date for a series decider for the Origin Plaques will be confirmed ASAP.
“Wales Rugby League would like to thank our excellent hosts Dunvant RFC for their warm welcome and we look forward to working with them in the future, and to Gower College in Swansea for sponsoring the venue. I would also like to thank the Origin staff and match officials for their commitment and effort towards this programme. There is now a clear pathway for our Junior players from community to international honours and Super League with our partners Salford Red Devils.”
Berry adds: “It was a fantastic day, there was some really good rugby league on show. The potential of the players coming through now, and it’s really exciting. Credit to everyone’s commitment over the cold and wet winter months, it’s clear this is having a really positive impact on the players’ development.
“We can’t wait to get to work with the U16s squad we’ve selected for this year’s programme and seeing how the U14s players progress over summer.”