Over the next term, HSC will be attempting to discover the identity of Hampton’s Greatest Sporting Moment, with your help. This article recounts the rare occurence of two First XV players coming up against each other on the international stage. This will compete against three other moments in Group Three. Vote in our Twitter poll on Friday to decide your favourite moments – the winner will progress to the quarter-final stage!
Wales U19 15-31 England U19, April 2019
Tribal loyalties do not normally need to be suspended when England play Wales at rugby. A studied neutrality is not generally the reaction expected when St George does battle with the Dragon. But at Bridgend’s Brewery Field in April 2019, Hampton rugby supporters might be forgiven if a certain detachment entered their calculations when these two great rivals climbed into the ring.
In the red corner, representing Wales, Hampton’s Gwilym Bradley was on duty as openside flanker, a potential successor to the illustrious line of Warburton and Tipuric. In the white corner, for England, Hampton’s Louis Lynagh, an Under 18 player among Under 19s, prepared to show his positional flexibility in the visitors’ back three.
Wales went into the game on good form, with two victories over emerging rugby stars Japan under their belts. For England it was the first match of the season, but early pressure gave them a half-time lead at 7 points to 3, thanks in part to Lynagh’s assist for their opening try.
After the interval, Wales hit back early with a converted try to take the lead at 10–7 before a storming comeback by the visitors brought 24 unanswered points, with a further assist from Lynagh among the highlights. A late Welsh try brought respectability to the score, but 31 – 15 represented an emphatic victory for the rose over the daffodil.
England coach Jim Mallinder played down the significance of the final result: “It’s nice to win,” he reflected, “but the purpose of this game was to look at the talent coming through and we’ve certainly done that.” For supporters of Hampton rugby, the talent coming through on either side had a familiar face, with a promise of further encounters across Offa’s Dyke in the years ahead.
A few months after the match, Lynagh took up a professional contract at Harlequins; Bradley began an Economics degree at the University of Bath, before being offered an Academy contract at Cardiff Blues earlier this year and playing for Wales U20 in the Six Nations.