Rapidly becoming accustomed to battling tough weather conditions, a spirited performance from the youngsters in strong winds left them unbeaten and top of the Premiership Rugby Academies League Northern Conference table.
“We’re always happy winning,” Mark Hopley told SaintsTV. “Like all games, we’ll look at it and realise that we missed quite a lot of opportunities and that there’s quite a lot that we need to continue working on.
“We’re about developing players and we want to make sure that we get better with every game. I thought that the first three fixtures we achieved that but today we weren't quite at our best. All credit to Newcastle, they were very physical and gave us a good test up front. We’ll watch the game back and realise how many times we gave the ball back to Newcastle. We need to learn a lot of lessons from that and we know we weren't good enough today.
“We had a strong wind in the first half and we kept putting Newcastle under a lot of pressure. However, we kept getting on their 22 and giving them easy outs through penalties and letting them exit and clear their lines.
“We had the advantage of the wind in the first half and so to go into half time with only a 5-3 lead, we realised that we hadn't capitalised when we should have done. Saying that, going into the second half, playing into the wind we obviously had to play a little more and we were probably a fraction better in the second half.”
It was the Saints youngsters who picked up the first points of the game, with flanker, Tim Cardall, driving over the line to pick up 5 points for the side. The windy conditions took their toll on the game as Harry Mallinder’s kick strayed just wide of the posts.
With 25 minutes on the clock, Newcastle were awarded a penalty, which Burn managed to slot between the posts. Just three minutes later, the Saints were given the chance to respond by being awarded a penalty themselves but with the wind catching the ball, Mallinder’s efforts strayed just wide again.
With Will Allman being sent to the sin bin for going in at the side just a couple of minutes before half-time, it was inevitable that a combination of 14 men and playing against the wind would put them at a disadvantage.
However, this only appeared to spur the youngster’s performance on as with 44 minutes on the clock, an impressive team effort from the young Saints allowed Will Allman to cross the whitewash. With the wind on his side, Mallinder was able to add another two points to the scoreline, leaving the score at 12-3.
Although the Saints weren’t able to take advantage of Newcastle going down to 14 men towards the end of the second half, when Lewis foxy was binned for a dangerous tackle, a spirited performance from the youngsters led to them taking their fourth win in four games and they stay top of the Premiership Rugby Under 18 Northern Conference League.
10 mins SAINTS Try Cardall 5-0
24 mins NEWCASTLE Pen Burn 5-3
HALF TIME SAINTS 5 NEWCASTLE 3
45 mins SAINTS Try 10-3
46 mins SAINTS Con Mallinder 12-3
FULL TIME SAINTS 12 NEWCASTLE 3
Saints U18s George Furbank, Tosin Segun, Rory Hutchinson, Harry Mallinder(c), Rotimi Segun; Gregor Haldane, Tom Emery; Luke Palmer, Rob Marmion, Luc Jeannot, Alex Moon, John Hawkins, Tim Cardall, Will Allman, George Cox
Newcastle U18s Callum Burn, Garry Izomor, Ben Stevenson, Lloyd Purser, Dan Marshall; Sam Leeming, Ruaridh Dawson; Callum Chick, Angus Fulton, Jamie Blamire, Elliott Beattie, Alex Hayton, Aidan Coulthard, Joe Craggs, Jonathan Teague
Replacements: Jack Beckwith, Adam Mohammed, Lewis Roxby, Harry Graham, Ryan Foreman