Feb 16, 2015
Saracens U18s crowned Academy Champions
Nick Ramsey's last-gasp try handed Saracens the Under-18s crown at the Premiership Rugby/RFU U18 Academy Finals Day, as they edged out defending champions Northampton Saints 23-19 in an exhilarating final.
There was never more than one score in it at Allianz Park, and the sides went in level at half-time after tries for George Furbank and Ben Richardson were cancelled out by Ethan Wadleton and the boot of the excellent Max Malins. After replacement James Grayson looked to have kicked Saints to glory, two late tries from Billy Walker and Ramsey stole the show for Sarries.
With two minutes left on the clock, substitute three quarter Ramsey broke the hearts of the Saints U18s with a fine winger’s finish in the right hand corner to hand Saracens their third title of the season after the Storm’s A-League triumph and the Saracens Women’s Premiership title win.
In an entertaining first half it was Saracens U18s who would break the deadlock, when the impressive Sarries openside Ethan Wadleton scythed through a gap to score after just seven minutes of play. Fly Half Max Malins added the extras.
The Saints U18s hit back immediately when full back George Furbank finished off a fine blindside move in the corner just sixty seconds after Sarries had crossed to score. Haldane couldn’t add the extras as Saracens U18s led 7-5 after fifteen minutes.
Saracens stretched their lead with a Malins penalty, before Northampton U18s hit back with a Ben Richardson try - the Saints scrum half dummying over to score. Again, Haldane failed to add the extras.
As the half wore on, the influential Malins slotted another three pointer, with Saints U18s replacement James Grayson responding to level things up at 13-13 going into the break.
Saracens U18s ill-discipline and poor handling would be an unwelcomed theme during the opening exchanges of the second half, and it came as no surprise when it was the Saints who edged in front when James Grayson slotted over a 51st minute penalty.
With rampaging loosehead Ralph Adams-Hale having to leave the field before half-time with what looked a serious injury (get well soon, young man) Sarries U18s go-forward suffered as a consequence.
On the back foot, Saracens u18s errors compounded their lack of momentum as they struggled to leave their half of the field on numerous occasions. The Saints added another three points through the trustee boot of the Grayson but Saracens would respond.
Just 5 metres from the Saints U18s line the north Londoner’s elected to go for the catch and drive. With 12 players in the maul, Sarries would barge their way over with prop Billy Walker the eventual try scorer. Agonisingly for Sarries, Malins couldn’t add the extras as the game went into the final stages with just one point in it.
The Saints looked to be seeing out the game in the final stages, but a knock on in their 22 gave Saracens one last chance. After multiple phases the ball found its way to substitute Nick Ramsey on the right wing. The fleet footed Ramsey had it all to do, with the Saints cover defence hunting his every step, but he somehow managed to squeeze the ball down to send the Saracens players and staff into raptures to win the 2015 Academy Final for Saracens in thrilling fashion.
Northampton Saints: George Furbank, Adam Shaw, Jamel Hamilton (Tosin Segun 67), Freddie McKibbin, Rotimi Segun, Gregor Haldane (James Grayson 27), Ben Richardson (Rob Smith 67); Ryan Eveleigh (Jake Byrne 61), James Fish (Rob Marmion 67), Luc Jeannot (Ehren Painter 61), Alex Moon (Toby Trinder 60), John Hawkins, Tim Cardall, Will Allman, George Cox (Matt Watson 67).
Tries: Furbank, Richardson
Penalties: Grayson (3)
Saracens: Will Kaye, Alex Gilham (Nick Ramsey 51), Dominic Morris, Fili Savou, Euan Dickinson Earl (Jack Longhurst 60), Max Malins, Alex Patton (James Lennon 51); Ralph Adams Hale (Seb Brownhill 36, Matthew Brooks 63), Harrison King (Aston Lester 44), Billy Walker, Danny Cutmore, Nick Isiekwe, Jacob Moody (Alex Everett 36), Ethan Wadleton, Ben Earl (Joe Hughes 63)
Tries: Wadleton, Walker, Ramsey
Penalties: Malins (2)
Referee: Matthew O'Grady