Wasps hooker Alfie Barbeary was already looking ahead to next season’s Premiership Rugby Under-18s Academy Finals day after his side finished fourth at Allianz Park.
Wasps lost 21-19 in the third/fourth place game to Saracens, with Barbeary scoring two tries in the narrow defeat.
Sam Spink also scored for Wasps, but a try from Jamie Hoyes and two from Kapeli Pifeleti, crucially with Manu Vunipola’s conversions tipped the balance in Saracens’ favour.
Barbeary said: “As a team, I think we can go far, hopefully we’ll be back here next year and fighting for first and second place.
“It has been a good season. We’ve had some ups and downs and I’m proud of the boys for getting this far, it’s just a shame we couldn’t come away with a win.”
Barbeary flung himself over the line for the game’s first try, after the forward pack had driven from just outside the Saracens 22, as Wasps dominated for large periods of the first half.
But Saracens defended well and took the lead when Hoyes ran in to score, before extending it through Pifeleti.
— Wasps Academy (@Wasps_Academy) March 11, 2018
The Saracens hooker doubled his tally and put Sarries in a commanding 21-5 lead shortly after half-time, but Spink scored soon afterwards to make it 21-12.
Barbeary scored again 11 minutes from time, with Charlie Atkinson’s conversion moving Wasps to within two points, but they couldn’t find another score.
Barbeary said: “It was a really good game and we fought hard.
“I think it was a fairly even game throughout, it was just disappointing to come away with a loss, but the boys battled hard.
“I love getting a few tries and I’ve really enjoyed the season.”
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) March 11, 2018
The hooker also praised the tournament that allows academy players to compete against the best in their age group in a professional environment.
He said: “It’s really good that we can rate ourselves against the other teams and I really enjoyed it.
“It’s a great tournament and it was great to see all the lads here.”