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Home > News > Roses pair ready for U20 semis
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Your News Roses pair ready for U20 semis
15
APR

YORKSHIRE have appeared in the final of the National RU Under 19, 20 and 21 Championships 22 times since this evolving age-group competition was launched in 1979/80 and on Sunday (April 18, 2010, 2.15) they will be bidding to add another Twickenham appearance to that list when they meet Dorset & Wiltshire in the Semi-Final at Bournemouth RFC.

The White Rose youngsters will start as favourites on the strength of their landslide victories en route to the last four, their 61-19 Quarter-Final victory over East Midlands revealing a potent combination of collective power, pace and individual skill.

That game was effectively over as a contest in the first half-hour as Yorkshire delivered a five-try blitz and if the visitors can replicate that whirlwind start, Dorset & Wiltshire will have their defensive capabilities thoroughly tested.

The twin challenge facing Yorkshire is to repeat that first-half form and deliver it for 80 minutes. Against East Midlands the side lost direction and focus after their decisive opening onslaught, a situation that Team Manager Keith Dyas is keen to remedy.

"I realise that it's almost impossible to maintain that precision when the game is won so early on," says Dyas: "People inevitably start to over-carry and 'white-line' fever creeps in. In reaching the last four our opponents have proved that they are a very capable side and we need to be fully focussed for 80 minutes if we are to progress.

"One bonus this weekend is that with the odd exception, all the players will be standing down from club rugby on Saturday after their clubs cooperated with us and gave them the option. Unlike our other matches, when we lost players through injury on the eve of the game and had players carrying bumps and bruises from the previous day, we should be fresh and ready for the challenge."

Yorkshire will be at full strength with the exception of Doncaster prop Lewis Theide, who is needed by the Knights, and Dinnington flanker William Marshall, who has a prior commitment in New Zealand.

Changes to the Quarter-Final starting line-up involve Mark Gemmell coming in at scrum-half, Ben Sowery going into the front-row and Alex Rieder resuming at flanker.

Lancashire face a stern test when they take on defending champions Gloucestershire at Lydney on Sunday (April 18, 2.30), the West Countrymen having beaten Yorkshire in the last two finals at Twickenham.

The Red Rose camp have a couple of injury absentees and will finalise their team on Friday night, although their squad will be much the same as that which snatched a 36-23 win at Nottingham in the previous round.

"We'll need to get into the game much more quickly than we did against Notts, Lincs & Derby," says Team Manager John Greenwood: "I thought we were the better team once we got going."

While Gloucestershire have wrested the National Under 20 mantle from Yorkshire in the last couple of years, only four players remain in the squad that won the title 11 months ago and earlier in the competition they needed a last-gasp try to beat Devon and stay in contention.

"For the past couple of years we have generally been billed as favourites but that's not the case this time around." says Gloucestershire Coach Paul Morris: "However, we have worked well and we have done well. We also have a great bunch of lads who are a pleasure to work with.

"We are going into this game a little in the dark. We know that Lancashire finished second in their pool to Yorkshire so we are expecting this to be a tough, physical game."

Yorkshire Under 20s (v Dorset & Wiltshire at Bournemouth RFC, Sunday, April 18, 2.15): Joel Gill (Otley); Thomas Hodson (Sandal), Jack Mackie (Wharfedale), Tom Davidson (Bradford & Bingley) capt, Jack Bircham (Middlesbrough); Sam Watkinson (Durham University), Mark Gemmell (Bradford & Bingley); Ben Sowrey (Harrogate), Ben Morrell (Old Brodleians), John Aikman (Sheffield), Richard Rhodes (Wharfedale), Joe Makin (Doncaster Knights), Alex Rieder (Leeds Carnegie), Oliver Rodgers (Dinnington), Laurence Pearce (Hull).

Replacements: Rob Almond (Bradford & Bingley), Gavin Stead (Huddersfield YMCA), Ben Johnson (York), Tarek Mursal (Pocklington), William Dutton (York), Josh Bayford (Sandal), Ben Dorrington (Hull), Adam Malthouse (Yarnbury), Luke Bowler (York).

Lancashire Under 20s (v Gloucestershire at Lydney RFC, Sunday, April 18, 2.30): from - Stuart Hesketh (Vale of Lune), James Smith (Preston Grasshoppers), Kyle Manson-Kullin (Ormskirk), Callum McShane (Myerscough College), Liam Oldham (Blackburn), Andrew Abraham (u/a), Ben Corless (Garstang), Dan Bibby (Fylde), Andrew Bushell (Tyldesley), Alex Zavallis-Roebuck (Preston Grasshoppers), Craig Price (West Park St Helens), Sam Russell (Fylde), Chris Thompson (u/a), Jack Gallagher (Trafford MV), Mark Wilcox (Widnes), John Wells (Myerscough College), Tom Banks (Fylde), Josh Beaumont (Fylde), Jamie Harrison (Broughton Park), Mike Smith (Sedgley Park), Ben Stelmaszek (Aldwinians), Matthew Griffiths (Liverpool St Helens), Luke Parker (Ormskirk), Sam Wallbank (Vale of Lune), James Conville (Wilmslow), Harrison Collins (Preston Grasshoppers), Michael Dutton (Sedgley Park), Richard De Carpentier (Fylde), Jamie Clare (Liverpool St Helens), James Mawdsley (Preston Grasshoppers), Luke Wooley (Sedgley Park).

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