It was a positive start for Leeds Rhinos’ England Talent Pathway Under-15s, who played their first match against Bradford Bulls Under-15s ETP at Oulton Raiders last night.
The England Talent Pathway, which is free for Under-15s and Under-16s players to join, allows players from local community clubs, who may not have been offered a club scholarship, a second chance to get picked up.
Over 70 players took part in last night’s game, which was split into four 25 minute quarters so both sides could field two squads.
Leeds’ first Under-15s team started the game brightly, scoring two tries. Full back Marcus Quarequare took advantage of Bradford dropping a high kick to score the opening try of the game and minutes later, Joe Butterworth crashed between the posts to double the Rhinos’ lead. The Rhinos added a third try on 17 minutes when Jack Wilson beat his opposite number round the outside to dot the ball over the try line before the Bulls got one score back at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter, which saw the second teams rotate onto the field, was dominated by the visitors as they scored three tries to take the lead four tries to three. Leeds’ Butterworth got Leeds back on level terms at the start of the third quarter though as the forward took an offload from Alfie Lavery to score his second try of the game.
Bradford refused to give in as Henry Welsh’s try at the end of the third quarter put the Bulls back ahead and despite tries from Harvey Ward and Brady Cooper, who were both part of Leeds’ second team, Bradford walked away with the win with three extra tries before the final whistle.
Watch the reaction from head coach Ian Hardman and try scorer Joe Butterworth here: