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Sam Dugdale proud of Sale Sharks U18 campaign despite Finals Day defeat

Sam Dugdale proud of Sale Sharks U18 campaign despite Finals Day defeat

Sale Sharks No.8 Sam Dugdale believes his side should still be proud of their season, despite their 34-29 defeat to Harlequins at the Premiership Rugby Under-18s Academy Finals Day.

The Sharks at one point led their fifth-place play-off at Allianz Park 29-10, with tries from Ewan Ashman, Bevan Todd, Tom Roebuck and Nathan Pope putting them in control.

But George Hammond’s score started a remarkable turnaround from Quins, who eventually scored 24 unanswered points to win the game, with Jack Kenningham grabbing the crucial try.

It meant a sixth-place finish for Sale, who were runners up at last year’s competition, when they were defeated by the same opponents at Sixways.

Dugdale said: “It was a very good feeling to be a part of Finals Day again after facing Harlequins last year.

“It’s obviously not the best way to end the season, but we’ve done our best and all the players have done well for us this year.

“We didn’t get off to the best of starts this season, but gradually it started clicking together and we just moved on from there, so we’ve done well to get all the way to Finals Day.”

Looking back at what was a thrilling game, Dugdale said: “We started off strong and then made a few poor decisions around the breakdown and got pinged a few times.

“We know that we’ve got a lot to work on, but we’ve definitely done quite a few good things out there as well.”

Sale are a club known for giving academy players a chance to step up into the first-team, with the likes of Sam Beaumont, Sam James and the Curry twins all catching the eye in recent years.

After impressing with the Sharks’ Under-18s, Dugdale is now hoping to progress further through the club’s system and make his own mark.

“You do see players progressing from academy at this club, so hopefully I can do that as well,” he added.

“It would mean a lot, as I’ve always played my rugby with Sale since Under-15 level and it would be great to get a run-out with the first team.

“I would like to go all the way with this club and be playing in the first-team week in week out.”

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