Match Report: Gloucester Rugby U18 11 London Irish U18 35
London Irish are the Premiership Rugby Under 18 Academy competition champions after beating Gloucester Rugby 35-11 at Allianz Park.
Irish secured the title thanks to scores from Matt Kouris, Matt Williams, Harry Norton, Ollie Hasslle-Collins and a penalty try.
It was the showpiece event of the Premiership Rugby Under 18 Academy Finals Day after Wasps, Leicester Tigers, Exeter Chiefs and Worcester Warriors had also been in action in play-off matches earlier in the afternoon.
The final match of the day saw the Northern and Southern Conference winners go head-to-head, with both having finished the regular season unbeaten.
It was Gloucester who took the lead when Irish were penalised for hands in the ruck and Daniel Openshaw slotted between the post.
But Irish went ahead soon after when hooker Matt Kouris burrowed over and Tom Parton added the extras.
Gloucester were close to grabbing their first try of the afternoon after a few phases of play but in the end had to settle for three more points from Openshaw to make it a one point game.
There had already been some excellent rugby during the course of the day in the earlier games and Irish continued that trend when Tom Parton showed great hands to release Williams and his body movement saw him run past his man and under the posts, with Parton’s conversion making it 14-6.
Irish could have extended their advantage when Gloucester were penalised for offside but Parton’s long-range effort was just wayward.
The Irish backline showed flashes of real class in the first half but were unable to capitalise as they had to settle for 14-6 at the interval.
Irish took a giant step towards victory just minutes into the second half when Will Attfield won the foot race to a kick chase. He was brought down yards from the try line but it was due to a trip by Callum Allen and the referee sent the Gloucester lock to the sin bin and awarded a penalty-try, which Parton duly converted.
Parton missed a penalty kick at goal midway through the half but it counted for little as Irish held on for the win and added a couple of late tries to add gloss to the victory.
Replacement Harry Norton powered over following several phases of play and penalties and then with the referee having already signalled for a high tackle, Ollie Hasslle-Collins broke the line to run in under the posts.
Gloucester did score the try their endeavoured deserved late in the game as a nice move was finished off by Mason Tonks in the corner.
Gloucester Rugby: Openshaw; Tudor, Tonks, Seabrook, Robinson; Penny (Forbes,39) Randall (Chapman, 34); Emery (Bowen, 65), Walker (Haly, 46), Seville, Allen (Bennion, 46), Craig, Silvester (Hinkley, 46), Mullis, Morris.
Unused Replacements: Fowke
London Irish: Attfield; Cokanasiga, Williams (Malin-Hiscock 68), Sampson, Hasslle-Collins; Parton (Evans, 55), Brand (Grant-Adamson, 58); Leat (Winning, 54), Kouris (Torpey, 63), Hay (Boyce, 45), Butler (Southon, 65), Basham, Cooke, Ingall, Curti-Harris (Norton, 58).
Penalties: Openshaw 2
Tries: Kouris, Williams, penalty try, Norton, Hassle-Collins
Conversions: Parton 3, Attfield 2