On Saturday, Rugby Lions play their first away game against fellow week 1 winners Trinity Guild, Coventry (ko 3pm).
For supporters travelling from Rugby, at Toll Bar End roundabout head for Coventry Airport onto Rowley Road CV8 3AL and on airport side look for black name signs on fence at entrance.
Rugby Lions 43
Rugby Welsh 5
Rugby Lions were given an ideal introduction on their return to the RFU league structure with a very good crowd in attendance to witness a really promising performance from Lions and a committed display from an impressive Rugby Welsh team.
The bald fact of the score will have satisfied the Lions club while Welsh will rightly take a lot of credit from the fact that, far from folding in a second half they began already trailing 33-0, they only lost it 10-5.
A welcome period of rain had softened the Webb Ellis Road pitch and caused Lions to play in their black away kit again with an eye on keeping the traditional white shirts pristine for the forthcoming BT Sport TV feature.
With only nine minutes played, Welsh had a penalty chance that was very narrowly missed.
Straight after, Lions suffered an injury that took out lock Ben Everton, the only Lion in the match squad not making his first team debut.
Ian Renard, who has been named as 1st XV captain for the season, was unfit so he took on the team coaching role today with no. 8 Ben Husthwaite skippering the team to very good effect.
Rugby Lions looked a bit hesitant in the opening minutes but from the 14th minute, they started to show real fluidity with a great passage of play involving speed and well-timed passing giving the honour of scoring Lions’ first points going to hooker Karl Lawson, who has been instrumental in revving up the spirit, bonding and pride in the badge already evident within this new squad.
Wing Adam Attenborough made a great run just before Gareth Bott scored Lions’ second try and Bott added his second conversion for 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Attenborough was then at the heart of Lions’ other three tries in the first half, scoring two himself and making a break before Chris Easton scored his try, Bott converting for that 33-0 lead at the break.
Every credit should be given to Rugby Welsh for their second half performance with skipper and former Lion Adam Bond scoring their try between further scores from Terry Kavanagh and the prolific Jonny Ure.
Lions will be aware that their standard dropped in the second half when they might have expected their fitness to tell but this is their first real run out as a team and the signs are this will be a side and a season well worth watching.
Skipper Ben Husthwaite said: “This is the first time we have fielded our best team and the first league game adds 15% to everyone’s performance so everyone was very up for the game.
“We will have to adjust to the refereeing we will meet and even if we think he’s wrong, we must just shut up and get back the 10 metres ready to go again.”
Renard added: “We looked a good side with organisation and composure. We took our foot off the gas second half, perhaps, but everyone gave 110% and there is more to come.”
Rugby Lions: Kavanagh, Scott, C Bennett, Bott, Attenborough, Dignum, Easton, Kilburn, Lawson, Nurse, Everton, Walton, Moore, Fuller, Husthwaite. Rolling reps: Gurling, Edwards, Kimberley, Webb, Ure