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U18 Academy Finals: Bath Rugby 12 Leicester Tigers 41

16 Feb 2015
U18 Academy Finals: Bath Rugby 12 Leicester Tigers 41

An imperious performance from Leicester Tigers ensured they claimed third spot at the Premiership Rugby/RFU U18 Academy Finals Day, as they beat Bath Rugby 41-12.

First-half scores from Charlie Thacker, Owen Hills, and a Paolo Odogwu double gave the Tigers a huge advantage at the interval, before Will Sutton and Zak Poole rounded off a superb victory.

Sutton also chipped in with the boot with 16 points in total, but Bath did add two consolation scores late in the game through Dan Frost and Sam Rees.

The U18 Finals Day is a showcase of the best under-18s in the country, where the next generation of Aviva Premiership Rugby and England players look to put their hands up for professional contracts in the future.

The event gives these players the chance to represent their club at a Premiership Rugby stadium, with several almost certain to progress into their first-teams over the next 18-months.

Thacker got the Tigers off to an explosive start, shaking off an early knock to make a clean line-break in the eighth minute and finish superbly, although Sutton failed to add the extras.

Thacker thought he had another score two minutes later as he touched down under the posts, but Leicester were pulled back for a forward pass.

The Tigers continued to control the possession with Bath unable to clear their lines at all, and it was only desperate defending that held Leicester up on the line.

But their dominance told on 18 minutes when prop Hills was able to touch down at the back of a perfectly executed catch and drive, Sutton this time curling his kick through to make it 12-0.

Sutton added another three points five minutes later from right in front of the posts after a Bath infringement at the breakdown, before two tries in four minutes from Odogwu really put Leicester in the ascendency before the break.

The winger first scored in the right corner after Thacker was held up a metre short under the posts, before intercepting Owen Waters’ pass in the midfield and running home from his own half, thanks to some good line pressure from the Tigers.

With the score at 27-0 Bath had all the work to do in the second-half, but it began much the same way after Poole stole a lineout and replacement Jake Duffield then fed Sutton to go over, before the full-back converted his own kick.

Poole himself got in on the action on 45 minutes, finishing strongly in the left corner despite Rees’ desperate last ditch tackle, but Bath finally got on the scoreboard when hooker Dan Frost drove over the line with 50 minutes played.

Rees added another try five minutes later, but it was too little, too late for Bath as Leicester enjoyed the celebrations at the final whistle.

Leicester Tigers: Will Sutton, Sam Yawayawa, Jordan Olowofela, Charlie Thacker, Paolo Odogwu (Levi Davis 53), George Worth (Jake Duffield 36), Ben White (Harry Simmons 50); Owen Hills (Jamie Jack 53), Luis Evitt (Aubrey Grimes 58), Dan Hogan, Charlie Harvey (Joe Green 58), Alex Galletly, Zak Poole, Will Evans (Toby Hutchinson 62), Stone Priestley-Nangle  
Bath Rugby: Oli Graham (Henry Martin 45), Sam Rees, Dom Mackenzie (Kieran Kelly 42), Owen Waters, Darren Atkins, Adam Hastings, Parimal Shrestha (Tom Dabell 42); Will Vaughan, Dan Frost, Callum Carter, Bailey Ransom (Charlie Smith 26), Matt Solway, Josh Bayliss, Sid Blackmore (James Vecchio 15), Charlie Morris-Mean (Gabriel Oghre 45)
Not used: Sam Starks, Benji John
Leicester Tigers
Tries: Thacker, Hills, Odogwu (2), Sutton, Poole
Conversions: Sutton (4)
Penalties: Sutton
Bath Rugby
Tries: Frost, Rees
Conversions: Waters

Referee: Jamie Leahy

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