Match Report
Royal Hospital School 1st XV vs  Norwich School
On: Saturday, 16 Sep 2017
Venue: at Home

The RHS 1st XV proved that hard work pays off as an intense week of training saw them produce some scintillating rugby as they beat Norwich 42-3. After the disappointing display against Uppingham the boys were determined to start this fixture brightly and that they did as the team defended brilliantly before a turnover saw RHS execute a set play with precision allowing Elliot Rayment to ghost through the Norwich midfield to score in the first few minutes (converted by Toby Ruffles: 7-0). Both teams tried to play open, attacking rugby which was a credit to the schoolboy game. Norwich had a couple of clear chances to strike back but some excellent RHS defence (allied to a couple of handling errors by Norwich) saw the home side keep the visitors at bay. For 15 minutes momentum was with Norwich as some strong running had the RHS defence on the back foot, however RHS proved their character as time and again tackles were made and Norwich were repelled. A penalty to Norwich narrowed the gap to 7-3 but another great break by RHS, with some outstanding interplay, enabled Rayment to burst through to score his and the team's second try (again converted by Ruffles: 14-3). This soon became 21-3 as the 1st XV started to take control of the contact area and therefore the game. Some more good rucking allowed quick ball to be spun left and with the Norwich defence at full strain Toby Braybrooke showed his mesmeric footwork as he stepped past 4 defenders to score.

21-3 was a solid position at half time but not a winning one so the message was clear: maintain the tempo, play in the right areas of the pitch and score first in the second half. RHS started as they left off with the handling being of a very high standard, but much of this was down to the work rate of the support runners. Hamish Comonte, on debut, proved an influential presence in midfield and his interplay with Rayment was causing Norwich problems every time RHS had the ball. Toby Okechukwu was also having a storming game (proving that when he worked hard he was a serious player!). A couple of strong runs in the first half had put RHS on the front foot and he was the next to score as a blistering run was rewarded with the team's fourth try (Ruffles, who was to have a 100% kicking performance, again converted: 28-3). More pressure from RHS had Norwich camped on their line for a few phases before Toby Lee burrowed over from close range (35-3) and Elliot Chilvers scored the final try in the dying seconds after a fantastic build up with numerous players involved in the interplay.

There was much to celebrate in this display but the players were also mature enough to realise that this was not a complete performance - a number of clear chances were missed when players veered from the game plan and tried to do too much themselves. However, by not conceding a try, the RHS 1st XV proved that with the right energy levels and work rate they are capable of making it hard for opponents to score. The boys had certainly earned the post match smiles - but now it is back to training to keep improving and striving for even more next week.