Last weekend was a big Six Nations weekend with the England Italy match at HQ eagerly awaited.
Before that Cobham had their own international to focus on welcoming Rugby Rho from Milan for a Veterans and U18 Fixtures.
Whilst Eddie Jones had his problems at Twickenham he didn`t face the challenge that Cobham U18`s managers Richard Davies and Pippa faced - over half the squad tied up with school fixtures meaning a week of coercing and recruiting a team which was finally put together on the Friday evening. All good, other than the majority of the team were props. Coach Chris Gibbons looked perplexed but figured at least 'we`d be competitive in the scrum'.
Rugby Rho duly turned up bright and early on the Saturday morning for afternoon fixtures necessitating a rethink on the catering front. Their 70 person tour party was most welcome and it was good to see Mum`s and Aunties on the trip although I`m guessing this was because they had tickets for Twickenham the next day rather than participating in the after match boat race.
The game kicked off and it was evident straight away Rho were a useful outfit with their Number 9 particularly skilful. Penalties were exchanged before Cobham scored the first try by Morgan Davies. Rho were however were winning plenty of ball by committing men to the rucks (Conor O`Shea take note) and their powerful No 8 was making good yardage and generally caused us problems all day.
However, this Cobham team has never lost to a touring team or indeed on tour and a second try by Will Stephens gave us a useful 13 - 3 half time lead. At this point we welcomed a late supporter/substitute Tom Eelman fresh from playing for London & South . Almost as soon as he arrived he was pressed into service due to an injury.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first with Rho securing plenty of ball and laying siege to the Cobham line. However, this is when a team full of Props is beneficial and stoic defence kept them at bay before a break out led by Tom Eelman resulted in a Cobham try. Rho responded well and deservedly went over for two tries of their own although Cobham hit back keeping the score looking healthy.
As the game went into the last quarter Cobham scored a flurry of tries from Captain Yates, Prop turned winger Ryan Aujula, Chris Bryant, Eelman again and hitman Frankie Terpolilli giving a rather flattering final score of 47 - 13. This didn`t really do Rho justice since they were a competitive outfit who played the game in terrific spirit.
And so we retired to the ground floor snug bar for an enjoyable if not cramped afternoon watching Ireland versus France with our guests and providing them with excellent hospitality It was a pleasure hosting Rho and they no doubt enjoyed events at Twickenham the next day. Cobham U18`s head of to Rome this Easter for their own next instalment of the Italian Job.