Enniskillen Royal 2ndXV start their 2017-18 season in a very healthy state. The 1stXV have lost only 3 of last year’s starting fifteen while the senior squad, as a whole, have been boosted by last season’s successful Medallions plus a key player or two from outside the school. Such is the strength and depth of the squad that Royal School was able to field a different side for each half in their 2ndXV match against Foyle in Derry/Londonderry, with both sides winning convincingly.
Foyle were both brave and determinedly dogged in the face of greater size, skill, speed and aggression but they were unable to staunch a steady succession of Royal tries. The physicality of Chris Balfour and Alex Armstrong in the back five and Jack O’Hare at nine smothered Foyles attacks as soon as they had begun, with the home side rarely managing to get inside the Enniskillen half and never threatening their try line.
Despite very wet conditions leading to the inevitable fumbles, Royal kept the ball in hand spinning it wide when there was space and executing excellent offloads in tight situations. Head Coach, Rhys Botha, must have been pleased to see that his mantra of “flooding the channels” had not fallen on deaf ears.
While the forwards dominated the game in the first half the backs made a stronger showing in the second. Robbie Mills and captain, James Balfour, were breaking through the back line, almost at will, and offloading to Curtis Coalter whose speed and agility Foyle were simply not able to contain. It was also very encouraging to see the Year 12 boys playing a full part in the team’s success. Josiah Johnston, Tom Morton, George Foster, Angus Frazer, Michael Rooney, Ryan Daly and Ben Thompson all made the step up to senior rugby with alacrity and helped the team to their 51-0 win.
Try scorers:- C. Coalter, R. Mills, J. Balfour, C. Johnston, S. Frazer, J. O’Hare, T. Morton, A. Armstrong & C. Balfour
Conversions:- H. Dane (2), A. Jones