Clive Griffiths' first home game in charge of RGC 1404 got off to a flying start with a 12-6 victory over a strong Worcester Warriors 'A' side that included many first team squad members.
On a cold evening, with the pitch quite heavy underfoot this was never going to be a free-flowing game. However, Worcester came charging out of the blocks and looked like they may blow RGC 1404 away in the first 15 minutes. Joe Carlisle was controlling things from fly-half, but RGC's defence held strong and they survived the barrage only 3-0 down.
After weathering the storm, the RGC forwards started to take control; working their rolling mauls well and proving good, quick ball for the backs. This pressure soon turned to points and they were 6-3 up thanks to two penalties from Stephen Woodward. Further penalties followed and just before the half-time interval RGC 1404 found themselves camped on Worcester's try line, but their stubborn defence held out and so the whistle went with the score being 12-6 to RGC 1404.
Something must have been said in the RGC 1404 changing room at half-time as inside centre Nick Blevin started to come into the game more, creating gaps in the Worcester defence. One of these breaks saw the ball being shipped out quickly and winger Nathan Rees capitalised with a try in the corner. Although this wasn't converted, a penalty did soon follow and RGC 1404 found themselves 20-6 in front.
As the early defending had revitalised RGC 1404 in the first half, the same could be said towards the end of the game for Worcester who came back at RGC 1404. Winger Rees, so recently the hero, was now the villain as he was sent to the sin-bin for not rolling away after a tackle. The extra man soon paid dividends and Worcester full back, Chris Surman, found a hole in the thinly spread defence to score in the corner. The conversion attempt was missed and the score remained 20-11 at the final whistle.
This was a brilliant result for RGC 1404, as Worcester had inflicted a heavy defeat (72-3) on their last visit to Parc Eirias. Coach Clive Griffiths was delighted with his new look team: "this result shows a massive turnaround in the fortunes of North Wales rugby in the last 12 months. I'm naturally delighted to put one over on my former club, but more importantly I'm delighted to see the team gelling further and becoming a cohesive unit. There are still areas to improve upon, and we will address these in the next few weeks, with all flaws being ironed out"
Following on from the victory over Glamorgan Wanderers two weeks ago, Griffiths also added: "this is the creation of a small piece of history for RGC 1404. To have defeated Premiership teams from England and Wales in consecutive games is no mean feat and I'm absolutely delighted for those who initiated this project. It took Worcester 79 minutes to unlock our defence and that was only once we were down to 14 men. The game may have not been ideal for rugby purists, but we are working hard to look at the new laws at the breakdown area and once these have been addressed, we will start playing rugby to delight the supporters".
A crowd of over 500 people watched the game at Parc Eirias, defying the freezing night to cheer on the team. "I hope that we can develop a hardcore support to get as many people as possible to Parc Eirias" added Griffiths.
Next up for RGC 1404 is a home game against Sale Jets at Parc Eirias on Wednesday 24th November. Advanced tickets are available at a reduced rate through Venue Cymru on 01492 872000.
The WRU's Women and Girls legacy events - #TRY OUR GAME have proved popular this week with current players and newcomers to the game learning new skills and picking up tips from national squad players.
We caught up with Shona and Ellie from the Wales women team ahead of the start of the Women's Rugby World Cup in Paris next month at a recent women's training session to encourage and promote more women and girls to try their hand at rugby. #tryourgame
The Women's Rugby World Cup warm-up clash between Wales and USA proved bittersweet for centre Elen Evans. Despite being one of the star performers on the day on her 50th Test appearance, USA edged home 10-7 at Cross Keys.
Wales completed their Junior World Championship campaign with a victory over Samoa. Team manager Mark Taylor and No 8 James Benjamin reflect on a tournament which saw Wales win three games and lose two.
Wales U20 players Angus O'Brien, Nicky Thomas and coach Richard Hodges are determined to finish their Junior World Championship with a flourish when they tackle the big hitting Samoans tomorrow in Auckland.