The EURFC’s Fresh 1s took on Cardiff Met’s 3s on 13 January up by Exeter’s own Sports Park. A large crowd, presumably taking a break from an arduous morning’s work in the library, made the journey up to the Rubber Crumb to watch the first years thrash the visitors 55-5. This was the side’s first game back after the Christmas break and they certainly showed no signs of rustiness as they took apart a lacklustre Cardiff side in an emphatic display.
The tone was set right from the kick off as fly-half James McFarlane put up a perfectly weighted kick that saw a Cardiff flanker knock the ball on as he was bulldozed by several Exeter forwards. A few phases later, McFarlane ran a sublime switch pass with centre Jacob Bushnell, who broke through the line to score the first try of the game in the opening minutes.
With the successful conversion by the fly-half, all looked to be going swimmingly well for the young Exeter side, with the score at 7-0. However, a mix up moments later in the midfield saw a missed pass intercepted by the Cardiff winger, who ran the length of the pitch to score.
With the match now at 7-5, it looked for a moment like we would have a serious game on our hands. However, it didn’t take long for the Exeter backs to make up for their error as a fantastic step from centre George Taylor saw him slice through the Cardiff defence and trundle over the line. The try came off the back of a turnover scrum and it certainly looked as though the dominant Exeter pack would have a prominent say in the outcome of the game. As the match went on, the EURFC forwards continued to set up good ball for the backs and another fantastic move in midfield saw winger Dom Thorne make an impressive break up the touchline. A fantastic step and hand-off were quickly followed by an inside pass to teammate Bushnell, who drew the last tackler in and offloaded back to Thorne, who scored in the corner. A tough conversion by McFarlane meant that the lead was now increased to 19-5.
At this stage, the fly-half began to orchestrate moves inside the opposition twenty-two and a wide pass to captain James McRae on a straight running line resulted in a try under the posts. Despite being a second row, McRae showed exceptional pace and even a cheeky step to beat Cardiff’s full back. Half-time was fast approaching when scrum half Rory Penfold increased the team’s lead, as he picked the ball up at the back of the ruck and scored his first try of the day to make it 31-5 to the home side at the whistle.
After the half-time break, the weather cleared up and Penfold was very quickly in for his second try. A darting run from full back Jesse Lipetz-Robic saw him make twenty metres before shifting the ball to the scrum half who scored in the corner. Minutes later, Penfold was able to complete his hat trick as he pounced on an opportunity created by the forwards to scramble over the line. Another conversion by McFarlane meant that Exeter were home and dry with the score at 43-5.
In the final stages, the EURFC backs were running riot in the midfield. A glorious move saw full back Lipetz-Robic latch on to a wide pass by the 10 and dissect two defenders to run the ball in from twenty meters out. Then, the full back picked up a loose ball and put away his winger Max Himbury who handed off the last man to score in the corner and end the game 55-5.
A number of these players will be knocking on the door of EURFC’s 1s in the coming year. The level of skill, desire and professionalism shown by the young squad is certainly an encouraging sign for the club. The Exeter side showed a lot of spirit and will be delighted to have come away in their first
fixture of 2016 with such a win.