Harrogate RUFC Under-15s triumph in sensational style at international tournament

Harrogate RUFC’s 1st XV may well be struggling at the bottom of National Two North, but the club’s under-15s boys are celebrating a remarkable triumph at an international festival of youth rugby held in Portugal last weekend.

By Rhys Howell
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 10:59 am
Updated Thursday, 21st April 2022, 11:00 am
Harrogate RUFC Under-15s won the 2022 Rugby Youth Festival in Lisbon. Pictures: Andy Lambert
Harrogate RUFC Under-15s won the 2022 Rugby Youth Festival in Lisbon. Pictures: Andy Lambert

Captained by Oliver Spencer, who was named player of the tournament, and coached by Ralph Zoing, the young Aces beat Welsh side Cwmbran in a thrilling final.

Several other countries, including France, Portugal, Ireland and Spain were represented at the Rugby Youth Festival, which was hosted by Lisbon University.

‘Gate took a squad of 25 players from schools in Harrogate and Leeds, who were backed by the same number of parents.

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Harrogate RUFC Under-15s in action over in Lisbon.

Many of their squad have played together since the age of five or six and have been supported by a number of coaches along the way, in addition to Zoing.

Harrogate won five games, three against teams from Portugal, to reach the final.

Among the sides whom they overcame were CDS Cascais and CDUL, two of the host nation’s elite professional rugby union clubs.

In reaching the competition’s showpiece, Zoing’s troops racked up an impressive total of 110 points, while conceding just 12.

The final itself was played out in front of a crowd of more than 500 spectators and also broadcast live on Portuguese television.

The game was a close affair and ended with Harrogate and Newport-based Cwmbran locked at 7-7 at the full-time whistle.

That meant that the tie was forced into extra-time, with ‘Gate emerging victorious by a 12-7 scoreline courtesy of a ‘golden try’.