Lions maintain perfect record but face sterner test in Vase

Lions v Wellesbourne
Lions v Wellesbourne
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Midlands 5 West (South)

Wellesbourne 10

Rugby Lions 43

Rugby Lions maintained their perfect league record with this clear-cut victory but the coaches would have wanted to see a more solid performance a week before their big cup tie on Saturday.

Lions, top of Midlands 5 West (South), face Bedford Swifts, top of Midlands 4 East (South), at Webb Ellis Road (ko 2pm) in the Junior Vase round 2, looking to match the Rugby Lionesses Ladies’ brilliant giant-killing win at Cheltenham last weekend.

And the scale of the challenge facing Rugby is amply demonstrated by the results of the Swifts’ last four league and cup games: 0-71, 0-34 (cup), 56-0 and 90-0, an aggregate of 251 for and 0 against.

Rugby, already delighted with their home and away support this season, will be hoping for a bumper crowd to see how they will match up to this challenge as a marker for where they are in terms of setting themselves up as challengers for a second successive promotion if they go up this season.

Rugby will need to be a more organised unit than they were at times at the Tiddington Home Guard Club outside Stratford upon Avon.

They could have conceded not two but four tries in this game as Wellesbourne twice did everything but touch down properly in the first minute and again on 67 minutes.

Once they got going, Rugby looked on song through the opening quarter and they scored four tries through Terry Kavanagh, Josh Lockley, Jonny Ure and Rob Dignum with two James Collins conversions taking them 0-24 ahead.

Lions showed incidents of really fluent moves but the intensity would then go out of aspects of their play with the only second quarter score a home try for 5-24 at the break.

The second half followed a similar pattern with Rugby sharp out of the blocks with further tries from Dignum, Collins and Ure with two more Collins conversions making it 5-43 by the hour mark.

But in the final quarter, Lions again lost their focus and allowed themselves to get distracted by refereeing issues with Ben Husthwaite in particular involved in several clarification conversations.

Head coach Robert Walton said: “We wanted to use this game as a part of our build up towards testing ourselves against Bedford Swifts as we have never yet been able to establish a really settled side.

“However, we didn’t produce the performance we were hoping for and we will have to discuss that among ourselves and work hard to rectify our failings during the week.”

Rugby Lions line-up: T Kavanagh, J Ure, I Renard, C Bennett, A Attenborough, R Dignum, J Collins, T Kilburn, J Gurling, D Nurse, T Kimberley, B Everton, T Fuller, J Lockley, B Husthwaite. Rolling reps: W Attenborough, I Edwards, R Walton, J Whiteside, J Morgan.