RUGBY Lions under 14s coach Jamie Lambert says his young guns have learned plenty from their defeat in the Warwickshire Plate play-off away to Earlsdon.
In a match that finally took place on Sunday after two previous postponements, the Lions were 36-19 losers but took a great deal of pride having pushed their opponents close with a meagre squad of just 14 players available to them.
Lambert says the difference in quality between the two sides was not evident, despite Rugby’s inadequate numbers.
“Whilst Lions may have been on the receiving end of a defeat, their team performance was nothing short of excellent – especially due to having half the numbers that Earlsdon posted in their match-day squad,” he said.
“We wish Earlsdon all the best for their cup run and look forward to taking the positivity gained with us in our forthcoming games.
“You learn much more in defeat than you do in victory. While I have coached some of these boys for many years, I cannot remember a time that I have been prouder of them as I am right now.”
The injury-hit Lions were up against it before a ball had even been kicked, so there was little surprise when Earlsdon took a fifth-minute lead after some excellent wing play following a penalty.
Rugby roared back and went ahead when Heath Cresswell played through Richard Phipps to score underneath the posts. Alfie Leighton-Lambert then duly converted the extras.
A quick break led to Earlsdon going back in front with a second try of the game, although Luke Broomhead quickly put the Lions back in front with a second converted score.
The hosts ensured they took a 17-14 lead into half-time by scoring their third try of the game – this time converted.
It was an advantage that spurred Earlsdon on to take a firm grip of the tie, scoring two converted tries in quick succession after the restart.
Matters went from bad to worse for Rugby when Charlie Strahan had to leave the field with an injury, although his team-mates soldiered on and reduced the deficit through Leighton-Lambert’s solo effort.
The Lions were unlucky to concede a sixth try of the game late on, as Earlsdon put the gloss on a result which puts them through to the next round of the Plate against Harbury.