U9'S PRODUCE GREAT TEAM PERFORMANCES
Rugby Lions U9's travelled to Leicester on Sunday to take on a very well organised Vipers Team. The Lions were reduced to their shortest squad of the season due to bouts of illness and knew they would struggle against a sizeable Vipers squad on a very boggy pitch.
However, their first game against Vipers 'B' produced one of the best displays of the season with the Lions taking a 3-0 half-time lead thanks to a quick brace by Richard 'Lightning' Phipps and a powerful run from Shakeel Callan.
The Lions started the second half in a very similar fashion, with Richard Phipps adding two more to match his scoring tally of the previous week. Captain Ethan Johnson led the Lions by example, keeping a solid flat-line defence and, coupled with Alfie Balls, made great use of the width of the pitch. Vipers were made to panic in a packed midfield where Alfie Leighton-Lambert and Blakeley Dixon-Ball dominated and the Vipers were constantly pegged back which provided the space for Ruben Mitchell to pick up the ball and run through the gap to make it six tries for the Lions. This kicked the Vipers into life where they gained their first real period of territory in the Lions half and despite great resilience from the Lions, managed to score a consolation try.
Final score: Vipers 'B' 1-6 Rugby Lions.
The second game saw the Lions come up against a much more physical Vipers 'A' side who, earlier in the season, had shown their dominance at the Rugby Lions Festival.
A tired Lions side could not over-power the Vipers and the home team, with a much larger squad, were able to consistently ensure fresh legs were on the field. Three quick tries saw the Leicester team take a 3-0 lead into the interval.
A much needed half-time talk saw the Rugby Lions come out motivated and hungry for success but the Vipers showed their defensive prowess with fast, hard tackling and some difficult refereeing decisions saw the Vipers run in two more tries.
However, the Lions, bossed by second-match captain Alfie Balls, worked hard as a team and made a solid defensive line with Ethan Johnson once again holding his line and putting in some great last-ditch tackles. Great defensive work from Richard Phipps, Ruben Mitchell and Blakeley Dixon-Ball saw the Lions feed the ball to Alfie Leighton-Lambert on back-to-back attacks, whose power and determination took five Vipers players to bring him to a halt. This gap left Shakeel Callan to power through the remaining Vipers defence to give the Lions a much-deserved try. A late Vipers effort saw the Leicester team reverse the first game score line, but there were plenty of positives to take from a group of Under 9's who can now most definitely call themselves a team.