8th April 2013, 14:01
CLARK: WALES YOUNGSTERS WILL GROW
SCHOOLBOYS WILL HAVE LEARNT LESSONS FROM CLOSE DEFEAT TO ENGLAND
By Gary Baker
WALES Schoolboys came within minutes of landing a first ever win at Under-16 level over England Youth at The Gnoll, Neath, on Saturday.
But head coach Dave Clark believes the Welsh teenagers will have learnt big lessons from the match that they can take on towards a second Test against England this year and towards playing at senior level with former national star and current senior coach Iestyn Harris much further down the line.
Wales were undone in the final minutes of the match by a lapse in defence that cost them a try after coming from behind to lead 18-16.
However, it was a match they were expected to be beaten comfortably in so to finish with an 18-22 defeat was encouraging for Clark.
The Welsh Schoolboys boss said: “We showed some character and spirit. We said at half-time that there were some areas defensively to be looked at and giving them some penalties.
“As the game went on, we got better and we were the better side and just couldn't get the result at the end. I'm very proud of our players and these kids are the future for us.
“Hopefully, they will be in the first team with Iestyn in years to come which is what our role is with this team.”
Wales were 16-0 down in the first quarter of the match but came back with tries from Morgan Knowles, Alex King, Zac Williams and Ben Jones, with Knowles converting one of the touchdowns.
Indeed the Welsh boys had England on the rack for most of the second-half and only good defence prevented them from going even further ahead.
Clark is taking a lot of positives from the defeat and added “The commitment they have shown over the last week meant they were able and willing to push themselves that extra mile in the performance.
“The players knew what they had to do which was to complete the remaining sets of six but we gave them field position and they had the opportunity to cross our line.
“But if we just fine tune ourselves, get those little things right and start the game the way we finished, then we could be a better side for the second Test.
“These are the kids for the future.”