Nzegbulam scores four tries as Haringey Rhinos juniors beat Hackney Bulls
Louis Nzegbulam scored four second-half tries as Haringey Rhinos’ Under-16s came from behind to earn their first win of the season against Hackney Bulls.
The Rhinos found themselves 12-0 down in the first period and were still trailing at the interval – but Nzegbulam then touched down, followed by debutant Leshawn Barrett and Josh Clark, before Nzegbulam helped himself to three more tries as Haringey triumphed 46-17.
Coach Dan Quinn said: “I’m very proud of our turnaround and cohesion. Our work at training is paying off, especially in the set pieces.”
Adrenaline got the better of Haringey at the start as they conceded six penalties in the first 15 minutes, and Hackney capitalised with disciplined play and good recycling of the ball to take an early 12-0 lead.
But, after such a loose start, the Rhinos pushed back and, through constant support play, hammered at the Bulls’ defence until a chink in the fringe defence appeared, allowing Felipe Miragliotta De Lima to dive over the line.
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The hosts scored again shortly over the restart, with Ethan Hall crossing the whitewash – but with both tries being uncoverted, Haringey were 12-10 behind at half-time.
They had to play uphill in the second half, but the Rhinos found the structure required to hold back Hackney’s advances, and they ran in a series of tries, with Nzegbulam, Barrett and Clark all going over – largely thanks to the tenacity of Kian Ansah, Ben Hardie and Callum Harriot at the breakdown.
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Haringey were now enjoying themselves – none more so than the powerful Nzegbulam – and strong runs from De Lima and captain Walid Benkaci helped him to add another three tries to his tally for the day, with Ja’Vahn Charles slotting home a conversion with the last play of the game.
At the other end, key tackles from Harvey Lane, Elijah Grelet and Hashiru Tejan-Thomas meant Hackney only managed a single consolation try in reply.
n Haringey’s Under-12s had a busy weekend, with a Saracens festival on the Saturday being followed by an away fixture against local rivals Kilburn.
After an unbeaten start to the season, the Saracens festival proved a stern test for the Rhinos, who were unable to progress from their group after meeting stiff competition from established sides such as Chess Valley, Hitchin and the visitors from Suffolk, Colt RFC.
They did, however, demonstrate their improvement around the breakdown and the maul, with Leo Hagan-Greaves one of the stand-out performers in attack and defence.
Strong running from Henry Brett and Alex Elliot also helped to give Haringey a strong platform, but they found their opponents’ defences tough to crack.
They got back to winning ways on Sunday, though, securing a comfotable victory against Kilburn as they ran in 15 tries to two.
Hagan-Greaves and Elliot both touched down twice, while surging runs from Brett and Lucas Maher allowed others to find space and cross the whitewash, leaving Haringey full of confidence.