RGC's Age-Grade sides suffered mixed fortunes playing against their Sale Sharks counterparts.
First up were the Under 16s who by playing 3 x 40 minute periods were able to give significant game time to over 30 members of their squad. Sale recently returned from Ireland where they defeated both Munster and Connaught and their match fitness was evident from the start as they looked sharp both in attack and defence whilst RGC struggled to put phases together to put pressure on their hosts.
Period 1: Sale 3 tries RGC 0.
The second period saw RGC put out a completely different side and for the opening 15 minutes they played with an energy and enthusiasm that had not been evident in the first period and were rewarded with a score under the posts. As the game wore on they had further opportunities to score but a failure to take these opportunities was punished by a Sale side that ran in 3 scores of their own.
Period 2: Sale 3 RGC 1
The final period again saw both sides make wholesale changes but it was Sale who were again on the front foot and against a visibly tiring RGC side they ran in a further 4 scores. It would have been understandable if RGC's heads had dropped but to their credit they scored 2 tries of their including the final one of the game, a fine solo effort from Evren Ozbilen.
Period 3: Sale 4 RGC 2
In spite of the final score, RGC Under 16 Head Coach, Gav Hodgkinson, felt that there were plenty of positives to take from the game,
' Sale provided us with exactly the test that we were looking for at this stage of the season as we look to start the RAG Programme. It was evident from the cohesion that they showed that unlike us they had already played some competitive fixtures. However I felt that both the scrum and lineout worked well in all 3 sessions and that whilst our decision-making was poor in certain aspects of the game there was nothing that isn't fixable. For nearly all of our squad this game was a major step up in terms of pace and intensity and as such they will only have benefited from the experience'.
It was then the turn of the Under 18s and in a thrilling game they ultimately ran out 30-28 having outscored Sale by 5 tries to 4.
As expected Sale's pack proved a hugely physical challenge, but it was one that RGC appeared to relish and with Dafydd Thirsk and Sam Hughes seemingly everywhere they never were to gain the ascendancy. RGC scores came from Harri Hughes, Sam Hughes, the recently signed Will Barton and a double from Dafydd Williams his second of which was a length of the field interception on the final play of the game.
Head Coach Andrew Williams was understandably thrilled post-match, ' It's very pleasing to win our first outing this season, despite using close to two full teams the level of intensity and physicality never dropped and the fact that we were able to score two late tries to win is a testament to the attitude of the players. It's given us plenty to work on leading up to the Blues in two weeks, but winning is a habit I hope we can continue.