For their second international friendly in 7 days the Wales O35s travelled over the bridge to Clifton College to take on England O40s.
Armed with additional squad members that weren’t available for the game against England O35s, Wales were looking forward to building on the positives, as well as focusing on improvements laid out by coaches Taj and Ryan.
The game was played at a fast pace from the start, with Wales soaking up pressure from the England attack but managing to defend well as a team. England could not break the deadlock for a long period of time, but managed to take the lead from a penalty stroke awarded in the first 15.
Wales took the opportunity to implement a new system, with personnel slotting into several positions throughout the game, in a “total hockey” fashion. This system favoured the skills of the players in the squad. It allowed for better linkage between defence and attack, and kept the defence solid during the England attacks.
England went on to score 4 more goals through the 6 x 15 min game. Despite the scoreline, Wales were happy with the performance, especially as the squad continued to play a high level of passing hockey when tired (something that will likely happen in Rotterdam!).
There will be further opportunities for the team to bond during their next training session in 3 weeks and the Combined Services tournament at HMS Temeraire, Portsmouth in July.
We wish players carrying injuries and recovering from illnesses all the best so that they’re fighting fit for the next set of games.