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U18s: Parkin thrilled with breakthrough performance against Yorkshire

Academy coach Will Parkin could not hide his delight after Northampton Saints U18s notched up 50 points on the road to beat Yorkshire Carnegie last weekend.

Saints made the long journey to Keighley RFC after being edged out by Leicester Tigers in their opening Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League encounter.

But the boys in Black, Green and Gold showed no sign of fatigue from the trip and burst out the traps, wrapping up a try bonus before the break.

Several more scores in the second half took the final result to 50-28 and saw Northampton jump to third place in the Northern Conference of the competition, but for Parkin the most pleasing aspect was the skill his side showed to cross the whitewash with regularity.

“The boys were really good against Yorkshire,” he said. “The big thing that we took from the Leicester game was that we needed to look after the ball better, and we knew that doing a few little things more effectively would make a big difference.

“It’s really encouraging we were able to put this kind of performance together in only our second match of five.”

Will Parkin, Academy Coach

“We made a point at the start of the year that we wanted to be the most skilful academy and the lads have really bought into that, so when we have the ball, we look really dangerous – and it came together well against Yorkshire.

“It’s obviously great to score 50 points and amongst that were some great tries, both from set piece and as a result of high skillset under pressure. The lads’ ability to move the ball was really pleasing, and it’s really encouraging we were able to put this kind of performance together in only our second match of five.

“The players showed great maturity as well; it was a very long journey for some of them – five hours there and back – so to prepare physically and mentally with that travel is a tough ask, but credit to all 23 boys as they did a great job.

“Thanks too to Yorkshire who took really good care of all our parents and players. They hosted us for some festive food, carols and things after the match which got everyone in the Christmas mood.”

Saints now face three consecutive home matches at Franklin’s Gardens in the coming weeks, with Sale Sharks, Worcester Warriors, and Wasps all set to visit in January.

Parkin added: “The lads really love puling on the Saints shirt, and we’re looking forward to running out at Franklin’s Gardens for the first time this season.

“Every game in this league is challenging, so we need to just take each game as it comes and use the same principles for every match.

“We want our boys to learn from their experiences and prove that they are the most skilful academy in the country playing against the other clubs’ sides.”