Rugby Lions lose out in Twickenham Final

RFU Junior Vase

Last Updated: May 5, 2014 12:49pm
New Bilton, Rugby
By Paul Bolton
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A devastating first-half display helped Longlevens lift the RFU Junior Vase after an impressive 23-12 victory over previously unbeaten Rugby Lions.

The Gloucestershire side gave up a considerable weight advantage to their Midlands opponents but more than made up for that with their devastating pace.

And three first half tries proved enough, despite plenty of Rugby pressure in the second half.

Delighted Longlevens captain Jed Holman-Jones said: “This is the happiest day of my life. It was pretty tense out there but we’re all ecstatic now.

“We’re quite a young side and we will only get better. We missed out on promotion by just one point so next season we want to go and sort that out, and hopefully get back here again as well.”

The tempo was high from the outset and Lions’ Gareth Bott had the first chance to break the deadlock from the tee, but his strike cannoned back off the post.

Longlevens’ Michael Hagan punished them with two quick-fire penalties, before wing Harry Yorke bagged the Gloucestershire side’s first try out wide on 21 minutes following Craig Barden’s break from deep.

Yorke doubled his tally in the opposite corner shortly afterwards as his team returned a loose kick with interest.

Rugby were in disarray, with their buoyant opponents exploiting space in the wide channels at every opportunity.

And Lions soon found themselves 23 points in arrears when some neat offloading put Dan Wilton over for a try that Hagan converted.

But Rugby, in a deeply unfamiliar position after winning Midlands Five West (South) with a 100 per cent record this season, responded strongly and Chris Easton burrowed over on half time to restore some hope. Jamie Whiteside added the extras.

Lions continued their momentum into the second period and their sizeable pack sought to grind their opposition down in the set-piece, but Longlevens were resolute and kept the Midlanders at bay.

The threat of Levens remained and they almost grabbed a fourth try when Barden sliced through again, only for his attempted scoring pass to Jack Beck to hit the floor.

Lions enjoyed the better of the game as the clock ticked down and lock Rob Walton eventually danced his way through for a five-pointer 12 minutes from time, but it was too little, too late as Longlevens triumphed.

Rugby player-coach Rob Walton said: “It was a massive day and I think the occasion got to us a little in the first half. We put pressure on but we didn’t take our chances well enough.

“I hope it will be a big lesson for us all – we want to be back here next year.”




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