Under-18s battle to bonus-point win at Irish
Saracens Under-18s ended the calendar year with a 34-28 win at London Irish in their third match of the Academy League season.
Brandon Jackson and Samson Adejimi were both at the double for the youngsters in Black while Alex Cahill was perfect from the boot with four conversions and two penalties.
Sarries travelled to Hazelwood looking to bounce back from a below par performance at Bath the weekend before, but they suffered an early setback with Irish scoring via a well-organised drive from a line-out.
The visitors responded well resulting in Jackson crossing for a good score following sustained pressure on the hosts’ 22. The centre took the ball and cut inside to beat a number of green shirts and power over.
A similar Irish finish followed after ill-discipline in the Saracens defence, however Adejimi made amends for the away side with a bulldozing carry to the line through two Irish players.
Cahill’s two conversions had the Under-18s ahead at half-time 14-10 and a sensational finish just after time extended Sarries’ advantage.
“The most pleasing aspect of this game was the desire the boys showed to stay in the fight.”
From the kick-off, Adejimi caught the ball and ran 60 metres to run in a fantastic effort.
However, Irish raced into the lead with three quick tries and two Cahill penalties kept Saracens in distance.
Another individual score put Sarries back in front. Toby Knight caught the restart and made a good break before offloading to Jackson who from his own half beat covering Irish bodies with great pace to score a crucial try.
The Saracens defence held firm against some sustained pressure from Irish in the last five minutes to keep them out and win the game 34-28.
“The boys responded really well after a disappointing defeat to Bath the previous week,” Academy Manager Mike Hynard said.
“It was pleasing to expose the three U16 players (Olly Webb, Tobias Elliott and Nathan Michelow) to the academy competition.
“The most pleasing aspect of this game was the desire the boys showed to stay in the fight. There were times when London Irish had all the momentum and we could have thrown the towel in but we dug deep and worked hard for each other.
“We scored two tries from individual efforts that were eye catching with both Samson and Brandon showing great power and pace to score from long range. The other noticeable performer was Tom Mills who put in a real ‘Saracens’ performance, chasing kicks, competing well in the air and defending with great intent.
“The challenge now for this group of players is to get some consistency to our performances. We will work hard over the next two weeks to prepare as well as we can for the Bristol game on Sunday 12th January at Allianz Park, 13H00 kick off.”