Dale Mackintosh speaks exclusively to cardiffblues.comIts been a busy month of rugby development in the Valleys section of the Blues region and not one to let the grass grow under his feet Development Officer Dale Mackintosh has been busy coaching and documenting the progress that is being made in the northern section of the region.
Dale was quick to point out that at under 16 level the Blues north and south are no longer and unknown quantity as having two teams at this level in age grade rugby is a clear indicator of the wealth of power that we have in region. This was also mirrored by the inclusion of nearly 20 players in the Welsh training squad of 40.
Unfortunately for the Blues North, their reputation did them no good when they took on the Scarlets under 16s at Aberdare, as their West Walian opponents proved they wanted victory more and gave the Blues North a lesson in counterattacking rugby to run out victors by 27 15. There were three stand-out performances from the North skipper Ryan James, Tom Price, and the hardworking Jamon Edwards.
It was a different story for the Rhondda Schools under 15s as they put the much vaunted Neath Schools to the sword with a ruthless display of attacking rugby.
From the off there was a great urgency in everything Rhondda attempted and Dale was particularly impressed with lessons that had been learned from the previous weeks game against Cardiff schools, commenting, This was a much improved team as far as a positive attitude was concerned.
In an afternoon of rugby where Rhondda Schools ran in six tries it was their defence that took most praise from Dale Mackintosh. Their commitment to defend, typified by two huge hits by Dafydd Ginstock and Will Rose (Cymmer), knocked any resistance out of the Neath schools and for me that was a hugely satisfying aspect of their performance.
For more information on Rugby throughout the Blues region including the Valleys Kids Community Rugby Initiative, see this weekend's match programme for the Celtic League fixture against Llanelli Scarlets (Sunday 7th November).