Cornwall Under 20s defeated their Devon counterparts 44-29 at Camborne on Sunday afternoon to ensure their continued participation at this level for next season.
However, the win came with a heavy price when flanker Locryn Williams suffered a bad concussion, having just started playing after a similar injury last season. Following medical advice Williams has made the sad but understandable decision to call time on his rugby career at the age of 20!
Both sides came into this game with a raft of injuries, including Cornwall’s skipper Jack Simmons, and it was the depth of the Cornish squad that was to help determine the outcome. This bodes well for the next season as the younger members of the squad now know what is required at this level of the game.
Redruth’s Dan Rutter helped himself to a try hat trick as well as kicking four conversions and a penalty. He got the Cornwall side off to a good start with only four minutes on the clock. Rutter may well yet figure in the South West selectors minds when they meet. Other scores were accredited to fellow Red James MacFarlane (2) and Penryn’s Adam Hughes. Hughes has had an excellent Championship at No. 8 and has shown great skill and determination and is another good prospect.
However, the whole squad contributed to a good result which looked comfortable at 29-0 after 21 minutes. A nasty injury to the very lively Williams seemed to halt Cornwall’s strong defensive play as well as a keen desire to keep the scoreboard moving. Devon finished the half with further tries by Jack Bond and Tom Bottoms so at half time Cornwall led by 32-19.
As the second half got under way there were further scores for Devon that brought the score back to 37-29 and it needed the touchdown by Hughes to settle the score but the whole squad had to dig deep to see out the last minutes and a 44-29 score line.
Coaches Bryn Jenkins, Mike Rawlings and Ian Morgan were clearly relieved that the Cornish boys had acquitted themselves well in the final pool game and that the result ensures another season in the top flight of U20 rugby. Thirteen of the squad will now return to compete at this level next season while Luke Hattam, Tommy Phillips, Jack Simmons and Tommy Lee Southworth and others will move out of the age group knowing that they have ensured Cornwall continues to develop quality players in this age group and into the senior game.
Cornwall (Camborne unless stated): Stean, Tyler (St. Just), McFarlane (Redruth), Down (Saltash) Sandercock (Launceston), Rutter (Redruth), Jane (St. Austell); Southworth (Capt), Trewhella, Burley (Penryn), Brown, Hattam (Redruth), Moyle, Williams (Chinnor), Hughes (Penryn).
Replacements: A Smith (Redruth), Vincent (Lankelly-Fowey), Sayer, H Smith (Wadebridge Camels), Gilder (St. Austell), Illsley, Andrews (Saltash).
Cornwall U20 Players South West Trial
During the recent U20 County Championships games held throughout the South West (SW), selectors have been monitoring players to invite them to the SW trials which will be held at Keynsham RFC Bristol on Sunday 20 March.
The following have been invited to the trials to represent Cornwall:
Tommy Lee Southworth Camborne and Cornish Pirates PDF
Adam Hughes Penryn
Dan Rutter Redruth
Jack Simmons Camborne
Ben Stean Camborne & Plymouth Albion
Tommy Phillips Redruth and Cornish Pirates PDF invited but unable to train due to injury.
Locryn Williams Chinnor – Was selected but is unable to attend due to injury.
Following the trials, regional games will be held where the England Counties U20 Squad will be selected. Last year both Todd Prisk and Tommy Phillips gained England Counties U20 Caps representing Cornwall.
The CRFU congratulate all of the players on their selection.