Howard Packman scored for the Under-18s against Leeds © Getty Images
Academy News LEEDS U18 26 SAINTS U18 30 Hopley praises maturity after comeback win
Academy coach Mark Hopley was full of praise for the way the Saints Under-18s kept their cool to record a memorable win against Leeds.
At half-time the travelling youngsters had given themselves a mountain to climb, conceding 20 unanswered points to a physical Leeds outfit.
But in the second half the Saints turned things around in some style, both in scoring five tries of their own and also in restricting Leeds to just six more points.
England Under-18 lock Josh Peters led the way with two tries, with Howard Packman, Owen Griffiths and Rotimi Segun also crossing the whitewash. Harry Mallinder's touchline conversion took his team into the lead, with a late penalty sealing the win.
But what pleased Hopley the most was how the players responded to the first half setbacks to turn things around.
"It was a tough day for some of the lads - the Ipswich players left home at 6 this morning!" he commented. "We were slightly frustrated in the first half, but Leeds were a good side who were very physical and took their chances in the first half.
"The game showed a lot about our lads' maturity. At half-time we were very calm, the team knew the answers and wanted to perform. To come back from 20 points down is a sign of a good team that is learning. The lads will take some valuable lessons from that.
"The whole bench added to the effort and energy in the second half, which inspired the other lads along."
The Saints Under-18s have another long trip next Saturday to Newcastle before returning home to host Sale on Saturday, January 18th.