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Charlie Reed of Northampton Saints
Adam Gumbs
Charlie Reed of Northampton Saints
Adam Gumbs
Academy

Reed: Saints Under-18s want to continue making memories together

Northampton Saints Academy coach Charlie Reed encouraged his Under-18s side to go out and make memories to last a lifetime this weekend, as the boys in Black, Green and Gold take to the hallowed turf of cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

Saints will face Newcastle Falcons on Saturday (kick-off: 4.15pm) in the final round of the Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League season (with Finals Day to follow later this month), as part of a Double Header of fixtures with Loughborough Lightning also locking horns with Leicester Tigers in a Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby Derby clash (kick-off: 2pm).

Reed’s side currently sit second in the Northern Conference table, having won four of their five games, but a win this weekend would guarantee they top the group and secure a shot at the trophy for a third-straight year.

Last time out, Northampton triumphed 43-41 in a thrilling clash away at Midlands Central, and Reed hopes the never-say-die spirit of his young side can come to the fore once again.

“It was a special win,” Reed said. “I was really pleased for the lads that they can come away with that memory. The boys sometimes look more comfortable when they are chasing a game, which we have found over the course of the last few weeks. 

“It just goes to show how competitive they are and their desire to get better and compete for the entirety of the game. We saw that at Sale when we came back to make it level with five minutes to go, some really good glimpses at Midlands West, and we got over the line against Midlands Central at the end. Also, a special mention to Tom Addison for slotting the penalty at the end of the game.”

Saints began their season with a resounding 75-7 win at home to East Midlands rivals Leicester Tigers, and then backed that performance up a week later as they were victorious 40-21 against Yorkshire Rugby Academy.

Round three saw Saints defeated narrowly away to Sale, but they bounced back in rounds four and five, picking up wins away to Midlands West and Midlands Central. 

Now, going into the final round this Saturday, Reed hopes to continue enjoying those special moments with the squad.

He said: “We have spoken about creating memories, and for the boys, regardless of the result, the memory of going out on the first team pitch played on by players they have watched growing up, is a superb way to have their final league game.

“It will be a fantastic day, with Loughborough Lightning playing at the Gardens as well, and we want to replicate certain glimpses of our games over the last few weeks – if we put all that together, we will see what the scoreline says at the final whistle. 

“I think it will be a great occasion and we want to fill it with enjoyment rather than pressure.”

Charlie Reed, Northampton Saints Academy coach

“Look at the highlights that have been put out over the course of the last few weeks, look at the scorelines that have been put up over the entire Academy league campaign – it is such an entertaining brand of rugby to watch.

“The boys want to represent Northampton Saints as best as they can. Through doing that, you will watch young lads work as hard as they can for the entirety of the game, which is what anyone would want when they watch a game of rugby.”

If Saints were to win and top their group, they would play in the Academy League Final, and earn a chance to claim the title. But despite there being some silverware to play for, Reed and the Academy coaching staff are looking only at producing a performance, rather than a winning scoreline.

He added: “I know that means a lot to the boys (winning), but for me as a coach, I think the performance and the way we are developing over the course of the last few weeks will be a great insight as to whether we will achieve that or not. 

“Whatever performance we can put out on the pitch, if it’s things we have spoken about or the way we want to play the game, I’m confident that we can get ourselves into that spot. 

“With any Academy League game – especially an exceptional side like Newcastle – it is going to be hard-fought. But to create a really good memory for me as a coach, will be seeing the lads represent Northampton Saints at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens. For the players they will want to be on the right side of the result and create an even better memory next weekend on Finals Day.”

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