11 Mar 14
Harlequins' Academy back row, Jack Clifford is one of four newcomers named in the England Sevens squad for the next two legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
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Quins v L Irish
Harlequins v London Irish
London Irish (H)
29/03/2014, KO 15:00
Sat 29th Mar 14
AVIVA Premiership Rugby
L Irish 18-13 Quins
L W W L W
L Irish Form
W W W L L
The game did not disappoint, despite the drizzly and very windy conditions, with both teams opting to play attacking rugby when they could. After a tense opening period where defences were on top Irish made the first breakthrough with an excellent try from a set-piece scrum in their own half. The Irish outside backs were dangerous throughout the night and a break from Cameron Cowell opened up the space from which Harry Lightfoot-Brown scored in the corner. The conversion was missed on a difficult night for kickers. Harlequins came back strongly and edged in front just before half-time. The forwards started to make some inroads through the heart of the Irish defence. Fifteen year old Gabriel Ibitoye was next on the attack and surged clear only to be hauled down just short of the line but quick recycling and handling opened up space for full back Sam Aspland-Robinson to dive over in the corner. A magnificent touchline conversion by scrum-half George Jackson put Harlequins 7-5 up. Unfortunately an error from the restart gave Irish a penalty right in front of their opposition's posts and Conor Murphy took the opportunity which gave Irish an 8-7 lead at the break.
Harlequins knew that they would have to up their game after the break as they would be playing the second half into the teeth of the 30mph wind blowing down the pitch. It was Irish however who started the period sharper and after some sustained work crashed over through Max Berry. The conversion was missed leaving the score at 13-7. Harlequins' response was outstanding, led by a marauding pack performance, which had the Irish forwards on the back foot all night. The next 25 minutes saw some outstanding rugby considering the ever worsening conditions. With Harlequins happy to run the ball out of their own half and producing excellent continuity, the pressure continued to build. Jackson took first advantage with a penalty from under the Irish posts to bring the gap down to three. The momentum continued to build and Irish were reduced to 14 men for frequent penalty infringements. Harlequins took advantage and utilized the extra space well, and after some excellent handling, wing Loewy Simmons went over in the left hand corner. The conversion was missed leaving the south-west London team 13-15 ahead going into the final quarter. Refusing to try to just hold onto their lead the team carried on with their running approach which was rewarded when Aspland Robinson crashed over for his second try of the night. The missed conversion left the score at 13-20 where, despite some threatening half breaks by the Irish backs the scoring finished.
Coaches Graham and Evans were delighted with the performance afterwards and were especially pleased that at the end of the game Harlequins had five U16's on the pitch who gained valuable experience at this level.
After the Christmas break the U18's will next be in action at Surrey Sports Park against Exeter, 1.30pm kick off on Saturday 11th January.
Harlequins U18's v London Irish U18's
15 Sam Aspland-Robinson (Wellington College)
14 Gabriel Ibitoye (Trinity)
13 Joe Marchant (Peter Symonds College) CAPTAIN
12 George Taylor (Whitgift)
11 Loewy Simmons (Brighton College)
10 Alex Hogg (Trinity)
9 George Jackson (Trinity)
1 Mofe Wilkey (Trinity)
2 Seb Adeniran-Olule (Wellington College)
3 Joshua Ibuanopke (Dulwich College)
4 Stan South (Whitgift)
5 Kieran Treadwell (John Fisher)
6 Ed Forshaw (Wellington College)
7 Victor Keunan (Stonyhurst)
8 Henry Cheeseman (Whitgift)
Subs: James Lasis (Brighton College), George Mount (Epsom College), Archie White (Epsom College), Nathan Thomas (Tudor Lodge), Niall Saunders (Epsom College), Ben Sackey (Emanuel), Brandon Bellamin (Whitgift)
Tries: Aspland-Robinson x 2, Simmons
Conversions: Jackson x 1
Penalties: Jackson x 1