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TIGERS U18 12 SAINTS U18 0 Derby day frustration for young Saints

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Whatever the level of rugby, it's always a feisty affair when the Saints play Leicester, and so it proved when the Under-18s visited Oval Park.

Both teams spent time with 14 men, although it was the Tigers that were able to take advantage and condemn the Saints to their first regular season defeat since 2014. Ferocious defence from the home side, combined with handling errors from the Saints, combined to frustrate the men in lime green.

Just like last week against Saracens, the Saints were asked to come from behind early on as Leicester scored with just eight minutes on the clock. This week, however, the deficit would not be reversed as the Saints failed to register a point.

Their job was made even more difficult by the awarding of a yellow card to prop Devante Onojaife, and, although the Tigers could not penetrate the Saints' line for the rest of the half, the pressure was definitely on. Even the half-time break could not stall Leicester's momentum, and their second score came shortly after the Saints returned to full strength.

Although the visitors rallied and attempted to run the ball around the Tigers, the cover defence was good and Saints simply found no way through.

"It's a disappointing defeat,” scrum-half Alex Mitchell told SaintsTV. “We struggled to start the game, and never really got into it. They had a very strong pack and we just made a few too many mistakes that have ended up costing us.

"In the second half we got back into it, but our handling errors stopped us getting on the scoresheet. Fair play to Leicester, they're a real team and they all put a good performance in for each other. We had a decent second half where we showed how we can play rugby when we found our shape and actually looked quite dangerous, especially out wide. We have a talented team here so hopefully we can get a result against Worcester."

It’s not all doom and gloom for the youngsters, however. Last year they bounced back from a narrow defeat to Leicester to storm into the Academies League final, something they’ll be hoping to repeat when their season resumes in the New Year. Worcester will be the visitors to Franklin's Gardens on Saturday, January 2nd.

TIMELINE
8min LEICESTER Try White Con Hardwick 7-0
25min SAINTS Yellow Onojaife 7-0
HALF-TIME TIGERS 12 SAINTS 0
40min LEICESTER Try Davis 12-0
43min LEICESTER Yellow Tuilagi 12-0
FULL-TIME TIGERS 12 SAINTS 0

SAINTS U18 Grayson; Shaw, Dingwall, McKibbin (capt), Hamilton; Haldane, Mitchell; D Onojaife, Marmion, Painter, Gregory, Kelland, Carter, Watson, Easton

Wacokecoke, Buckley, Charalambous, Branson, Brown, Richardson, Strachan, Sanday