In front of a healthy crowd of spectators and director of rugby Jim Mallinder the Saints youngsters started brightly, pulling ahead 18-0 thanks to three tries. Props Danny Herriott and Danny Hobbs both crossed, as did Alex Wootton, but with all three scored in the corners the tricky conversions went wayward.
However Will Hooley landed a penalty and the margin this created proved crucial as England staged a second-half fightback. This yielded two converted tries and while the Saints spurned some opportunities they kept their cool in a nervy final few minutes to record the victory.
"It was good to have to teams that wanted to play rugby and I thought it was an open, entertaining game," said Academy manager Alan Dickens. "It was also good to see plenty of fans and first teamers come out to support the youngsters and see how they compare against some of the best in the country.