Saracens were forced to cling on against Wasps to hold out for victory in the third/fourth place game at Premiership Rugby Under-18s Academy Finals day, according to flanker Dylan Taylor.
Wasps went ahead through hooker Alfie Barbeary, but Saracens went into a 21-5 lead shortly after half-time following two tries from Kapeli Pifeleti and one from Jamie Hoyes.
When Wasps responded with a Sam Spink score and another try from Barbeary, Saracens had to work hard to keep them at bay and secure third place.
Taylor said: “It was a really tough game, they pushed us incredibly hard and we were forced to work hard everywhere.
“At the breakdown they really pushed us and they had the intent to run from all over the pitch so they stretched us a lot.
“It felt like we were behind a lot and it was great to see the boys cling on and bring it back when we needed to.
“We were really pushing them back and making good tackles at times, but they have the quality to keep pushing through the contact and have some big, big ball runners.
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) March 11, 2018
“It was really good heart from the boys to keep us going.”
Wasps started the stronger of the two side, enjoying prolonged periods in the Saracens half and Barbeary throwing himself over the line for the game’s opening try.
Saracens looked excellent once they got going, as first centre Hoyes and then hooker Pifeleti crossed to make it 14-5 at half-time.
Pifeleti’s second try and Manu Vunipola’s third successful conversion looked to have secured the win but Wasps fought back with tries from Spink and Barbeary.
But Saracens held on and Taylor was delighted to finish third.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) March 11, 2018
He said: “It has been a great season, I’m very grateful to Saracens and everyone else for making it so far.
“It’s a massive opportunity to see what being a professional rugby player is like, but we’re also lucky to be a part of this competition.
“It’s such a good opportunity to play at such a high level at this age.
“There is so much talent in this competition and I feel so privileged to have played in it.”