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Home > News > South West finish on top at National U16 festival
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Your News South West finish on top at National U16 festival

The England Under 16 Divisional Festival concluded this afternoon (Sunday) with the South West on top of the four-team event after their second win in two matches.

In four matches over two days at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry, the South West defeated the North 15-7 on Friday and the Midlands 10-5 today. London & South East won 10-0 against the Midlands on Friday but were defeated 10-0 today by the North, whose backs' speed of handling was a feature of the festival.

The England Rugby Football Schools' Union were pleased to see the revised and expanded event go ahead on schedule after the cancellation of the planned first festival due to the cold weather earlier this month.

The next step as the season builds towards England U16's international fixtures in April is the selection of an elite training squad of 40 players - who will be notified of their inclusion this week - to meet at Stowe School on February 7 and a final selection match for other players at the same venue on that day.

London & South East and the Midlands kicked the festival off on Friday (January 22) with wing Jordan Burns (Epsom College and Surrey) scoring two first-half tries in London's 10-0 win. For the second try, fly half Will Hooley (The Leys School and Eastern Counties) put outside centre Harry Sloan (The Skinners' School and Kent) into space before Burns broke a tackle and stepped the full back.

Midlands pressed hard in the second half - all the matches were 35 minutes each way - without scoring.

In Friday's second match, the South West started strongly and quick ruck ball for fly half Oliver Devoto (The Gryphon School and Dorset & Wilts) led to Nick Carpenter (Clevedon School and Somerset) scoring in the corner. The North responded with a series and catch-and-drives, and were awarded a penalty try, converted for a 7-5 lead at half time.

The South West rediscovered their rhythm after half time, the back row forced a penalty and Devoto found touch in the North half. Scrum half Callum Braley (Colston's and Bristol) darted down the short side and put open-side flanker Gus Jones (Eton College and Oxfordshire) over. Leading 10-7, the South West closed the match out with inside centre Tom Stephenson (Bloxham School and Buckinghamshire) breaking from halfway for another unconverted try, 15-7.

Today (Sunday), the North absorbed early London & South East pressure and began to edge the match. Two quick rucks and swift hands allowed full back Oliver Cicognini (Ermysted's Grammar and Yorkshire) to score the first try.

In the second half, a good break by Cicognini led to a ruck 20 metres from the London line. North open side George Hymes (Ellesmere College and Cheshire) played his fly half into space and left wing Alex Wootton (Sedbergh School and Cheshire) scored wide out to make the final score 10-0.

The Midlands closed the festival on home soil by using their set piece and ruck ball efficiently in the final match against the South West, and from a maul 15 metres out, Midlands flanker Tom Roberts (Caistor Yarborough and Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire) scored with a short side break. The South West levelled 10 minutes before half time through left wing Harry Davis (King Edward VI Community College and Devon).

The second half was evenly contested, but the South West edged the result when, 15 minutes from the end, scrum half Henry Taylor (Cranleigh School and Buckinghamshire) picked up from a ruck and, attacking blind, passed to Stephenson who fed wing Jack Rossiter (Pangbourne College and Berkshire) to beat the full back and score.

England Under 16 Divisional Festival 2009-10 results at Broadstreet RFC:

Friday January 22: London & South East 10 Midlands 0; South West 15 North 7.

Sunday January 24: North 10 London & South East 0; South West 10 Midlands 5.

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