On Monday afternoon an Under-18 side, featuring several under age group players, pushed a strong Bristol Academy side all the way, eventually succumbing by a four tries to three, 28-17 score line. The scores came from forwards Danny Hobbs and Jack Allcock - both of whom have signed full-time contracts with the Saints for 2012/13 - as well as 17-year-old wing Josh Skelcey. Another soon to be Senior Tom Collins also kicked a conversion.
Yesterday evening an Under-17 squad featuring no less than 16 Under-16s headed to Saracens, where the hosts edged a competitive encounter by a score of 30-20. There was a 15-point haul for fly half Sam Olver who kicked two penalties plus the conversion of both Simon Uzokwe's try and one of his own.
The results were just a third and fourth defeat of an otherwise outstanding season for the youngsters, during which victories have includes the visit of international sides from England Under-18s, Canada and England Schools.
"It's been a great effort by all of the Academy lads throughout the season," Academy manager Alan Dickens commented. "The dedication they have shown not only in the games they have played, but also in training has been magnificent and credit must also go to the parents who have got their lads up here to Northampton."
The youngsters have averaged almost five tries a game across all age groups and Dickens believes the way in which they are challenged has helped to bring out the best in their performances, with many also receiving international recognition.
"We've tried to take the boys out of their comfort zones as much as possible and by playing up an age group many have shown they are more than capable of rising to the challenge. With so many JSA players having signed full-term deals with the club, not to mention the five lads who went away with England Under-18s to the FIRA tournament, hopefully it shows that the extra work we have put in this year has paid off.
"Next season will be a similar story and there are plenty more names to look out for as well as those heading into the Senior Academy."
SAINTS ACADEMY STATS 2011/12