Players from Argentinian side San Martin and Tynedale Raiders after the game. Photo: WWW.ANDYTPHOTOS.COM
A TOURING rugby team from Argentina were treated to a tough Tynedale welcome.
While there was nothing riding on the outcome of the ‘friendly’ game in terms of points, the match-up between Club Atletico Ferrorcarril General San Martin and Tynedale Raiders was played at a high intensity throughout, complete with scuffles and ferocious tackles aplenty.
Ultimately, the game was played in good spirits by both sets of players who used the fixture for differing reasons.
For San Martin, it was the perfect start to their pre-season programme ahead of their season starting in April as they included a stop off in Jedburgh as part of their European playing tour, organised by Corbridge-based company Sky High Sports.
It also provided Tynedale first team head coach Scott Lawson with the chance to have a look at many Raiders’ players on the fringe of the first XV and a couple of Newcastle Falcons Academy prospects, with Falcons supremo Dean Richards in attendance too.
It was the visitors who impressed most though, and they looked likely to run away with it as their superior power, athleticism and drive saw them to three converted tries in the opening half.
Tynedale improved significantly after the break and had a consolation try from Falcons’ Kenyan back row Josh Chisanga, which was superbly converted out wide by Raiders new boy Nick Cook. The score came either side of further tries for San Martin, blistering runs down the wings taking the final score to 31-7.
Head coach Juan Mauro said: “It was a very intense match for us as our first match of the pre-season, and we wanted to see how the boys performed. We are very happy we fulfilled the objectives we wanted to.”
Captain, scrum half Miguel Schifino, said: “It was a very interesting experience. It was a hard match and both teams played very well, and we are very happy to be here. It was good to play against a team so physical as they were to see where we are mentally. We have been working hard on the physical and skill side, but you don’t get to work on the mental issues until you play a good game like this.”
The Tynedale side, made up of mainly Raiders players but also including a handful of first teamers, were grateful for an opportunity to come up against opponents of such a high standard.
The Raiders have been dominant against teams in both the Northern Second Team League and the Northumberland Candy League, so the game with San Martin was a great test.
Lawson said: “San Martin were very strong as a touring team, and it was a great night for our lads to experience a higher level of rugby.
“Their lads were taking it a bit more serious as they prepare for their season, but our boys stuck in and, in the end, enjoyed it. It was played in good spirits, and it’s good to do something a bit different.”