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Tavner pleased with growth of Bath Rugby U18s

Bath assistant academy manager George Tavner praised his Under-18 side’s development after finishing fourth in the Premiership Rugby / RFU U18 Academy Finals.

Bath champions edged out Exeter Chiefs in the final round of league fixtures to finish as runners-up in the Southern Division.

And despite suffering a 41-12 defeat to Leicester Tigers in the third place play-off at Allianz Park, Tavner is pleased with the season as a whole.

“I think it’s a fair reflection of where we are as a group, second in the South League is a decent return,” he said.

“We’re still learning as an academy and there is a lot to look forward to – it was a good return for what has been a very positive season.

“Against Exeter we played really well and played some entertaining rugby, scoring three tries from our own half playing the rugby we want to see at Bath.”

At the end of season showpiece, the young Bath stars found themselves 27-0 at the interval after Leicester ran in four first half tries.

Tigers continued their dominance to build a commanding 41-0 lead but Tavner’s side continued to battle with Dan Frost and Sam Rees reducing the deficit.

“We lost to a better side, particularly physically we lost the contact battle which is disappointing but I’m proud of the effort,” added Tavner.

“We base our game on fast pace and a quick tempo and conditions were difficult but that is not taking anything away from Leicester.

“They played the conditions better than we did but the boys will learn from that.

“It was disappointing to be so many points down but they stuck together and the second half was a pretty close game.”

Inside centre Owen Waters started the day with 65 points for the season but could only add two more points to his tally, falling short of the 75 point record.

Tavner singled him out for praise and says there are several players that could follow Charlie Ewels into the first team squad over the coming months.

“I don’t think Owen knew much about the point’s record but he’s quite a humble character and just focuses on his game," he added.

“The boys that have really played well for the Under-18s this season with Owen at 12, he’s consistently been one of our better performers.

“Dan Frost the hooker has been outstanding in most games, also Darren Atkins is a real talent at full-back and Adam Hastings is someone I think has got a really good future ahead of him.”

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