London Welsh 26pts - Bedford 20pts
Old Deer Park, Saturday 9th March 2002
London Welsh were quick off the mark, scoring a try within two minutes of the kick off. Stealing a Bedford throw in, the Welsh backs moved the ball quickly to the right, where fullback Matt Vines joined the line to finish the move with blistering pace.
Richard Mahony converted for a 7-0 lead.
Mahony later added a 16th minute penalty to open up a 10-0 London Welsh lead, but as the half progressed Bedford began to display some of the form that had taken them to 5th in the League table. In the 33rd minute outside half Mark Meenan kicked a drop goal following a period of pressure near the Welsh line.
London Welsh hit back straight away when flanker Florent Rossigneux was driven over following good interplay between the Welsh backs and forwards. (15-3). Mahony then added another penalty in injury time to give London Welsh a half time lead of 18-3. Bedford were appearing frustrated at this stage and a number of physical skirmishes followed, none of them to do with the ball.
This led to Bedford prop Chris Horsman being dismissed within 5 minutes of the restart following a series of blows to his front row opponent.
London Welsh added a penalty through the boot of Mahony 21-3 before London Welsh produced a try following a determined drive from a lineout. Replacement hooker Gregg Botterman was credited with the touchdown. This took London Welsh to a 26-3 lead after 52 minutes, as home fans could anticipate a fourth try and bonus point from a tiring 14-man defence.
As so often, the 14 men rallied bravely, and following turnovers from London Welsh attacks, clawed their way back into the match.
Firstly, flanker Fred Fichot was put over in the 67th minute, then Mark Meenan finished off a spirited attack in the 74th minute to bring the score to 26-13.
London Welsh minds were focussed more sharply after replacement wing James Hinkins sped over in the final minutes of normal time for a try, converted by Meenan which left the Visitors only 6 points adrift.
To their credit, London Welsh still went in search of the elusive fourth try, and Vines did cross the line to finish a good move. Sadly for the Welsh, a pass was adjudged forward, so the score did not count, as the final whistle ended a fierce but enjoyable contest. Enjoyable, that is, from the safety of the stand.
The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.