Coleg Llandrillo Cymru Rugby Academy made a fantastic start to their season on Wednesday as they defeated the British Colleges Champions, Coleg Sir Gar, 34-28 at Colwyn Bay.
Coleg Llandrillo made a positive start to the match as Harri Evans made a clean break from stolen lineout ball, before linking with Lewis Stockton to score in the corner after just three minutes.
The remainder of the first half was evenly matched with both sides playing a wide, open, exciting style of rugby. Sir Gar took the lead mid way through the first half with a try from Ceiron Evans and two penalties from Ben Williams; only for Afon Bagshaw to squeeze down the touchline and score from 20 metres, having gathered loose ball from a scrappy lineout.
Coleg Sir Gar took the lead in the second half with a penalty again from Williams following a sustained period of pressure. However, Llandrillo responded well when a set piece backs move allowed Jordan Sheridan to run in under the posts.
The visitors forced their noses back in front as they bullied their way over the Llandrillo line once more with Jake Baker getting the try , taking the score to 19-21.
Llandrillo then lifted the tempo of the game with a series of line breaks that resulted in tries for Maredydd Francis and Harri Evans. A penalty from Afon Bagshaw put Llandrillo out of reach, and despite a late try from Josh Adams for Sir Gar, the home side couldn't be caught.
Josh Leach, the Coleg Llandrillo Rugby Academy Coordinator said following the game, "I am extremely pleased with the way the boys performed today, we had 14 new players in the squad and they have gelled extremely well. Coleg Sir Gar is well known as one of the top rugby academies in Wales and Great Britian, and to achieve this result so early in the season is not only a great achievement for the boys, but it sets a positive tone for the season going forward".
Marc Roberts, the WRU Performance Manager in North Wales said" This is a truly magnificent result given that the partnership between the WRU RGC Academy and Coleg Llandrillo Cymru is only 12 months old! We have over the years lost countless players to the South of the country with many players and parents of the view point that the South is the best place to develop their rugby.
"Today's result is testament to all the hard work Josh and his team have put in and clearly shows that the academy partnerships in the North are flourishing and gaining momentum."
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.