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The Dragons improved on their Round 1 showing with a draw against RGC

Wales U18 coaches impressed with Regional Rounds

A second successful round of Women’s U18 matches saw Scarlets claim a 22-18 win over Ospreys while Dragons and RGC shared the Round 2 spoils 5-5 in a competitive and entertaining encounter.

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Due to the recent adverse weather affecting pitches, the planned double-header at Llandovery was split meaning the West Wales derby was held at Maes y Gwendraeth while the second match of the day was held at the Centre for Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach, both in front of considerable crowds.

A strong start from the Scarlets led to a break out wide from Isla Craig to put Scarlets in a good position in the Ospreys half. Quick support and a clever chip of the ball over the top found its way into the hands of Bronwen Griffiths who recycled the ball to put Ela Harries in for the opening try.
Scarlets had the opportunity moments later with another robust attack allowing Griffiths to spot the space and race over for try number two for the hosts. Chloe Wilkins slotting the conversion to extend the Scarlets lead 12-0.

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Looking to break their way into Scarlets territory, Ospreys battled their way forward and a penalty against their opponents allowed Hanna Marshall to slot the three points to put the Ospreys on the board.

A dominant first half for the Scarlets continued with a powerful carry from Maisie Davies taking the number 8 over the line for their third of the day and just before half time, Scarlets had the chance to sneak in the bonus point try through prop Stella Orin to hand the Scarlets a healthy 22-3 lead at the break.

The Ospreys sparked a second half comeback early on after taking advantage of penalties stacking against the Scarlets. Controlling the ball well Isobel Baldwin Pritchard broke loose to score the Ospreys first try of the game.

In a bid to answer back, Scarlets raced into their opponents half but a kick back up field was nicely chased by the Ospreys who applied the pressure well to force the error onto the Scarlets allowing Lola Mitchell free to crash over the line to score.

With less than 10 points between the two, Ospreys kept Scarlets locked in their half and a third try, this time for Hannah Perry with a huge carry, narrowed the scores to 22-18 with less than five minutes left on the clock but despite a huge second half effort from the Ospreys, the Scarlets held strong to come away with the 22-18 win.

The second match of the day was evenly matched in attack and defence and both Dragons and RGC showed a huge amount of intent to play running rugby with ball in hand.

RGC travelled south on the back of an impressive 29-8 win over Ospreys last weekend while Dragons were keen to get some match points after going down 20-0 to Cardiff in Round 1.

The skill level of both teams was extremely high and with very few handling errors in the first-half, RGC took the first points of the match with a try for prop Ela Basinger. Dragons came closest to the try line through lock Angel Band and right wing Molly Mae-Powell who dashed past the RGC defence only to lose possession over the line. The half-backs impressed along with both full-backs and Dragons forwards Eleri Davies, Chiara Pearce and Molly Owen carried the ball particularly well but it was Pearce who finally claimed a try for the Gwent side 10 mins before the final whistle.

Despite end-to-end rugby for the remaining minutes and a continued commitment to claim the elusive win, the scores remained tied.

WRU Lead Female Age Grade Coach Liza Burgess said, “The standard has gone up so much since last year. We watched two very exciting games today and over the first two Regional rounds so far we’ve seen an impressive level of consistency. We’ve seen some great skills especially in the line-out and all the teams today showed an encouraging intent to spread the ball. RGC set their stall last week with an impressive win, Dragons were determined to improve this week.

“Both teams this evening were keen to get the win but their defences were up to the mark too.”

Wales U18 head coach Catrina Nicholas-McLaughlin added, “I’m very impressed by the standard.

“We’ve seen a vast improvement this season already. We are seeing the advantages of having the pathway in place. We are seeing a lot more girls playing rugby at this level and their athletic ability has improved too.

“Today’s games have been great. Nine tries altogether and there was a clear desire to win until the bitter end while the quality of the sides’ defences have also gone up a notch.”

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