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Tunney gutted with Wasps’ narrow Under-18 Academy Finals Day defeat

Tunney gutted with Wasps’ narrow Under-18 Academy Finals Day defeat

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Double try scorer James Tunney was disappointed that his Wasps side could not hold on in their third-place play-off on Premiership Rugby Under-18 Academy League Finals Day, despite leading at half-time.

The No.8 was part of a sparkling first-half performance that saw Wasps lead 43-24 but eventually succumbed 52-48 to a resurgent Bath Rugby.

Wasps had been up by 19 points at half-time but were shut out for the majority of the second half as Bath began to dominate play.

The promising prospect, who was named by Wasps in the Premiership Rugby Cup earlier this year, said: “We took our foot off the gas when we just needed to be a bit more ruthless.

“It’s just disappointing we couldn’t see it through after that first half.”

Wasps scored seven tries before the break, including one for captain Tunney, but were shut out in the second period until a late consolation from the No.8.

Despite the loss, the captain acknowledged the quality of play on show and the unity of his own squad.

He added: “Bath came to play. There was some great offloading, some great support, but obviously it’s disappointing to come away with a loss after having such a great season.

“Over the last six of seven weeks we’ve really tightened up as a group, we’ve almost become like a family.”

Andrea Masi, the Wasps coach, echoed his player, saying: “It was an incredible game and the quality today was just outstanding, despite the result.

“The first half was just outstanding for us, but in the second half we had a drop in energy and that’s what cost us.”

Masi, who played international rugby for Italy, lauded his squad’s development since they came together last summer.

The coach was pleased with how some of the players had developed, earning themselves professional contracts.

“The improvement in this group has just been incredible and I’m so proud of the squad,” he added.

“It’s the second time we’re here and it’s just fantastic to see all the wonderful teams here.

“Seeing players like James signing a professional contract next year is something I’m extremely proud of.”

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