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Wasps’ Matt Davies looking at the positives in defeat


Wasps Academy manager Matt Davies vowed his players would regroup and return stronger after their unforgettable loss to Leicester Tigers at the Premiership Rugby Under 18 Academy Finals Day.

Davies’ charges started the third-versus-fourth play-off match at Allianz Park brightly, taking an early lead through wing Ollie Brown’s try, and they went in to half-time only six points adrift at 13-7.

But Leicester ran riot in the second period and scored seven tries as they emerged 53-19 winners.

However, Davies insisted the experience of bitter disappointment on Monday could prove valuable in the future as his young players continue their rugby development.

“When you have 50-plus points put on you, there are never too many positives to take from it,” he explained.

“[But] the main positive as such is that it is an opportunity for the players to learn and a young player’s development isn’t all sweetness and light.

“There has got to be some speed bumps along the way and some things for them to get over and recover from.

“This is a very chastening experience. We failed to control, or at least work within, our game and unfortunately we were on the end of a bit of a hiding.

“I think it is something that will live long in the memory for the players. It is not a nice experience, but they will have been through it and hopefully it is our job as coaches and their job as a playing group to regroup, adapt and learn before their next challenge.”

The contest saw the sides that finished second in the Northern and Southern Conferences go head-to-head.

Wasps did score three tries through Brown and a brace by Jacob Turner but Leicester were exceptional in the second half.

Davies was magnanimous in defeat and was full of praise for the Tigers, admitting his team were second best on the day.

He added: “I thought that Leicester were outstanding today and did some really good things. When we were able to keep the ball in the first quarter of the game, we looked dangerous and we looked a threat.

“Ultimately, we put an awful lot of pressure on ourselves through some of our actions and decisions, which gave Leicester the energy they needed to get back into the game.

“I thought that one or two of our lads put really good shifts in.  I thought that Seun Coker was outstanding on a tough day and Sam Spink, who was playing at 12 as an under-16, put a really good shift in and I am excited to see where he goes.”

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