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Hopley happy with Dublin week

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Senior Academy coach Mark Hopley says that the Saints Under-18s headed home with plenty of positives after their week in Dublin.

The club’s Junior Academy youngsters headed west to play their counterparts from Leinster Schools and Leinster Clubs over the past few days, with plenty of training, analysis and team building included for good measure along with the games themselves.

The matches themselves were both successes, with the Under-18s coming from a 10-0 half-time deficit to beat Leinster Schools 13-10 thanks to a last-minute penalty, and then outscoring Leinster Clubs three tries to one en route to a 15-10 win.

“Overall we’ve been very pleased with the week,” Hopley said. “The lads have gelled as a group and the week away has been very good for bonding and coming together as a team.

“We might have won on Monday but we let ourselves down with some of the basics. But we did our analysis, spent time on the training pitch and played much better in the win over Leinster Clubs, which was pleasing.”

The squad which headed to Dublin included several players who are going into their first year of the Junior Saints Academy as Under-17s, and Hopley added that he was happy by how they have integrated with the older individuals.

“We start introducing younger lads into the Under-18s early in the year, but it is this summer training and playing programme which is important in their development,” he said. “Getting the win over Wasps at Stowe and these two wins in Dublin is a good indication as to how far they’ve come and the progress they have made.

“There’s still a lot of work to do, though, and we’re looking forward to next week’s game against Newport-Gwent Dragons.”

The Under-18s have their first run-out at Franklin’s Gardens next Wednesday afternoon (August 24th) when they play Newport-Gwent Dragons. Kick off is at 2:00pm and all are welcome.