Bath Rugby captain Ewan Richards praised his team’s resilience as they battled back from 19 points down to beat Wasps in a 100-point thriller on Premiership Rugby Under-18s Academy Finals Day.
The 16-year-old lock led the West Country outfit as they bounced back from a 43-24 half-time deficit to win 52-48 at Allianz Park.
And Richards, a Millfield School student, said it was amazing to take part in the drama of a 16-try contest, as Bath confirmed a third-place finish in the competition.
He said: “We have a great team and I think we showed what we are. We dug in and kept fighting until the end and put in a great performance.
“It’s the first time in four or five years Bath have got a team here [to Finals Day], so to play in front of our families is amazing but 100 points in the game made it hard. The main thing is to finish with a big win like that.”
Bath full-back George Worboys scored a try in each half, with further first-half scores from Orlando Bailey, Bradley Law and Max Ojomoh but they trailed after Wasps registered seven tries in the opening 35 minutes.
But the West Country side surged back into the contest after the break with John Stewart, Nat Arnold and Gabe Hamer-Webb touching down, as well another for Worboys.
Fly-half Bailey proved the difference between the two sides as his six conversions outdid his opposite number Charlie Atkinson, who could only kick four.
Wasps ran in eight tries on the day including doubles for hooker Alfie Barbeary, No.8 James Tunney and lock Mario Pichardie.
And Richards gave credit to Wasps for the way they flew out of the blocks at Allianz Park.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 17, 2019
He added: “In the first ten minutes Wasps put us under a lot of pressure. We struggled with our intensity but in the second half we pulled through and got the win.
“We have progressed massively since the start of the season. We have improved everything about our game and have come together like a family.”
Bath Under-18s academy coach Ryan Davis admitted the game was quite the spectacle for the fans.
He said: “If you had said to me earlier it would be a 100-point game, I would have thought ‘wow’.
“Regardless of the result it was nice to watch. Both teams were offloading and quite physical – Wasps really took it to us in the first 15 minutes.”
Davis said the progress he had seen in his players during the season had been significant.
Some will stay in the squad for next season with some heading on to professional contracts, while others go off to university or working life.
“To bring them here after becoming a team over the year is pretty special,” he said.
“You create memories and it’s nice for them to come away with a win.
“This year we have focused on the support the boys get and the constant contact. To bring them all in and spend as much time as possible together helps build our team ethos and culture.”