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Worcester Warriors sign off U18 Academy Competition in style

Mark Hewitt hopes to see his Worcester Warriors side challenging for bigger prizes after their emphatic 44-19 victory against Exeter Chiefs in the fifth-versus-sixth play-off at the Premiership Rugby Under 18 Academy Finals Day.

The Worcester Academy manager was delighted with the style of their victory on Allianz Park’s artificial surface and believes his attacking side had suffered on heavy pitches throughout the season.  

Warriors threatened with ball-in-hand throughout and exciting playmaker Will Butler seemed to relish the lightening Allianz Park pitch, as they ran in eight tries to Exeter’s three.

"We are really pleased; and disappointed that we’re not out there competing for the top one, but this is the first time all year we’ve played on a surface which suits how we play," he explained.

"Today was a chance for us to really go and express the way we want to play.

"It was a real team performance; the foundations were laid from the front. But people like Will Butler at 12 were exceptional.

"Tom Dodd at eight carried really well for us and then the front row in general, Nick Rigby, Joe Morris when he came on, James Page, Bec Cutting, I thought they were outstanding– I’m really pleased."

Worcester’s lightening start and Dodd’s try was followed by an equally swift Exeter response through Sam Daly, but four more first-half tries put pay to Exeter’s challenge.

The second-half provided more of the same, with Warriors’ all-court game yielding three more scores.

Warriors’ success, according to Hewitt, is the result of many years of hard work in identification, strength and conditioning, and high-quality coaching.

"We’ve got a good group of young kids and we’ve worked really hard over the last few years to go and identify a group of players," former Royal Marine Hewitt said.

"We’ve been with this group now for three years and we’ve invested a lot of time, with a lot of good coaching – the likes of Ceri Jones and Gordon Ross really giving them some first class coaching.

"We have invested a lot of time in their strength and conditioning programmes and to be quite honest we are reaping the benefits now."

That success is bearing fruit for both Worcester and England as Hewitt’s players are making their mark in international colours.

"We have good representation at all the international age grades – U17, U18 and U20 -and we’re really pleased with the way we’re progressing," he added.

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