London Welsh Amateurs 3

Old Merchant Taylor’s 46

DUANE Vermeulen was not the only inspirational South African turning a rugby game the way of his side in south-west London on Saturday.

While Vermeulen put in a fine performance to steer South Africa to a narrow victory over England at Twickenham, Old Merchant Taylor’s coach Francois Lombard’s words of wisdom guided his side to victory just down the road at London Welsh Amateurs.

OMTs were only leading 5-3 at half time, but following a team talk from Lombard at the interval, they ran in seven unanswered tries after the break to win 46-3.

“The first half was very much a forwards’ game, which was very much how London Welsh wanted it,” said OMT’s Gordon Brown.

“But Francois told the lads at half time to stop playing it their way and bring our game plan into action, which is bringing the backs into it, as that is how we like to play.”

Larry Knight, skipper Ryan de Rocha, Johnny Baxter, Richard McCabe, Trevor Bond and James Hilary, who also kicked three conversions, all crossed the tryline for OMTs.

But the undoubted star on the pitch was half-time substitute Nick Adey, who came off the bench to score two second half tries on his debut.

A Royal Marine who had signed for the club two months ago, but had not been available due to being on active service, finally made his bow and showed OMTs what they have been missing.

The result took OMTs up to second in Herts/Middx One, where they are a single point behind leaders Harrow, who they were promoted from Herts/Middx Two with last season.

However, Brown dismissed any suggestion that this is a sign of a weak division, and insists credit must instead go to his side and Harrow.

He added: “There are some very good teams in this division, but we have recruited well, trained hard and are totally focused. Having worked hard to get into this division, the boys were not about to give it up.

“But we are looking ahead to returning to the London Leagues too. We were up there about 10 years ago, and getting back there is a big part of the renaissance of the club.”

Some of those stars of OMT’s London League days, whose retirement led to the decline from which the club is now just recovering, pulled on their shirts again on Sunday as the club’s veterans side played an Old Merchant Taylor’s staff side for the first time in 15 years.

Some of the old boys flew in from as far and wide as Canada and France to take part in a narrow 29-20 defeat which was refereed by Rex de Rocha, father of the current club captain Ryan.