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SAINTS U18 26 LEINSTER CLUBS U19 24 Diggin delighted with positive attitude

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Saints were missing the half-dozen Junior Academy youngsters who represented the club at the Singha Premiership Rugby Sevens Series in Coventry, but they got off to a bright start with wing Adrian Sanday dotting down in the opening few minutes.


Better was to come later on, fly half Gregor Haldane snaffling an interception to put his team 11 points to the good at the break. But Leinster had showed in patches in the first half that they were in town to play, and they got their reward in the opening attack of the second period with a well-worked try.


The visitors’ pack mauled their way for try number two, with a third coming just past the hour mark. Saints were rocking and facing a 10-point deficit, but they kept on playing their tempo game and got back in the contest when centre Fraser Strachan crashed over by the uprights.


Ewan Starling added the extras, and when the hosts took advantage of some wide open space on the left with a quickly tapped penalty Sam Buckley was worked over in the corner.


This put Saints back in front by two, but all it brought was a resurgent effort from Leinster, and the hosts were somewhat fortunate when the Dubliners blew a golden opportunity by taking out the last defender with obstruction.


Still they came, and when Harry Warn took the ball over his own line it set up a grandstand finish with a Leinster scrum five metres out. But the Dubliners bored in, Saints had the penalty and the win.


“The lads dug in well, and what really pleased Mark Hopley and myself was the way we speeded the tempo up in the last 15 minutes,” Diggin commented. “That’s a period when teams can try to slow it down, but we speeded it up, and it paid dividends. We did the basics well in the last 20 minutes.


“The good thing about having a big, young squad is that there’s a lot of competition for places, and we’ve got three or four players in each position. It’s a good headache to have as coaches, and the guys who came in to play Leinster today took their opportunity.”


Diggin also reflected on a positive night at the Premiership Sevens, adding: “It was fantastic, a mixed blend of youth. The youngest was 17, the eldest was 21, and Mark and I worked out that our average age was 17.8 years old.


“They did some great stuff against some world class players, including a British Lion at one point. It was a fantastic experience at the Ricoh, which is a good place to play, and we learned quite a lot about the lads. They held their hands up.”


TEAM

15 Joe GREEN

14 Adrian SANDAY

13 Jamel HAMILTON

12 Fraser STRACHAN

11 Adam SHAW

10 Gregor HALDANE

9 Ben RICHARDSON

1 Devante ONOJAIFE

2 Rob MARMION

3 Ehren PAINTER

4 Ben KELLAND

5 Jack WEST

6 Ethan HUGHES

7 Ollie KIGALLON

8 Sam EASTON


16 Josh WACOKECOKE

17 Sam BUCKLEY

18 Henry MAWHOOD

19 Matt WARING

20 Henry LARKIN

21 Harry WARN

22 Ewan STARLING

23 Emmet MCDONNELL


SAINTS SCORERS

TRIES Sanday, Haldane, Strachan, Buckley

CONS Haldane (2), Starling