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Reed ‘proud’ as young Saints win thriller away at Midlands Central

Northampton Saints Under-18s coach Charlie Reed was full of pride after his side defeated Midlands Central 43-41 on Saturday afternoon.

The men in Black, Green and Gold had the bonus-point wrapped up at half time thanks to a brace of tries from Kanoa Lilo, and one a piece from Edoardo Todaro and Rafe Witheat, which saw them go into the break at Aylesbury RFC 28-21 ahead.

The try-fest continued in the second period, with the home side scoring twice early on to go ahead by six points, before Saints hit back with two of their own. Firstly, through Edward Delaney, and then the try of the game, as Witheat picked up his second of the afternoon, running the length of the field to see Saints back ahead 34-40 with eight minutes to go.

The game continued to ebb and flow with Midlands Central re-gaining the lead with five minutes left on the clock when they registered their sixth try of a frenetic afternoon. But with less than two minutes left on the clock, Saints were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and replacement Tom Addison stepped up, and slotted the kick to seal a dramatic win.

“We spoke about starting fast, but probably didn’t get the start that we wanted and the boys were a little bit nervous.” Reed said. “We spoke about it being another great opportunity to get better, and maybe in that first ten minutes, it got on top of us a little bit. 

“In terms of our heart to come back when we were down and our spirit as a collective, I thought that was outstanding.”

Charlie Reed, Northampton Saints Under-18s Head Coach

“You can never knock these lads for effort, or knock them for the want to compete and that really showed, which is why we came away on the right end of that result.

“I’m very proud and also thrilled for the lads to be able to walk away with that memory of going away to a really strong Midlands Central side who put us under the pump on several occasions, and coming out on the right side.

“It’s a great thrill for the boys, and especially for Tom Addison who slotted the winning kick, so it’s great to see them all smile. What shows how good of a squad we are, is how many boys came to support that weren’t involved. 

“They all want to be here, and all want to get better and learn from the game. Some of the lads were on the wrong side of selection, but massive credit to see so many of them on the sideline.”

The Saints coach also explained that despite Witheat’s individual moment of brilliance being one of the afternoon’s talking points, he could claim some responsibility for the standout try.

“I gave Rafe my boots in the warm-up, and he had them on for the game, so I am going to claim his try!” he added.

“It’s also great to see Edoardo Todaro put back-to-back performances together for the first time in over a month with injury, which is just giving him confidence and allowing him to improve, which was clear to see today.”

Saints now have a break until they face Newcastle Falcons at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday 10 February as the second part of a double header, with the young Saints playing after Loughborough Lightning’s Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby match with Leicester Tigers (kick-off: 2pm). Tickets are available by clicking here.

SAINTS: 15 Edoardo Todaro, 14 Louis Burns, 13 Ben Agbenu, 12 Billy Pasco (c), 11 Rafe Witheat, 10 Louis Haley, 9 Jonny Weimann; 1 Tom Dye, 2 Kanoa Lilo, 3 Giorgi Turashvilli, 4 Tom Ross, 5 Ollie Hull, 6 Harry Price, 7 Kieran Perkins, 8 Alfie Hoyles
Replacements: 16 Edward Delaney, 17 Sonny Tonga'uiha, 19 Jack Lawrence, 20, Rhys Harries, 21 Ben Currie, 22 Tom Addison, 23 Henry Lumley

Midlands Central V Northampton Saints U18s

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