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Saracens claim U18 Premiership title with a dramatic finish v Northampton Saints

A late Nick Ramsey try was enough to earn Saracens a dramatic victory in the final of the U18 Premiership as they defeated defending champions Northampton Saints 23-19.

On their home patch at Allianz Park, a well supported Saracens came flying out of the traps to score through Ethan Waddleton, a try that was converted by the majestic Max Malins.

In truth though that was the last time that the game was truly one side or the others until the final whistle, as both sides enjoyed their moments of possession and dominance, but neither could pull away.

Saints soon hit back following that early setback, with fullback George Furbank finished well in the right hand corner, a corner that was to have a big say later on in the game.

Malins then slotted a penalty for Saracens to extend their advantage to 10-5, but now Northampton were in a period of strength, which scrum half Ben Richardson took advantage of to score a typical scrum halves try as he darted over to level the scores.

Malins was quickly back with a penalty though to nudge his side back in front but Saints were straight back on it, scoring a penalty through substitute fly half James Grayson, on for the injured Gregor Haldane.

That ended a compelling first half at 13-13, choosing a winner felt tough, Northampton Saints were reigning champions and full of confidence, Saracens, on their home patch, looked like they were comfortable too though.

With a quarter of an hour of the second half gone though, it felt like the story might be of Northampton knowing ‘how to win’, through two further Grayson penalties they had managed to edge their way ahead to a 19-13 lead, and Saracens looked like they were having to work overtime to stay in touch.

Work overtime they did though and through the finesse of Malins and the physicality of Ben Earls and his like, they began to step up their momentum.

First came a try through tighthead Billy Walker, which brought his side to within a point at 18-19. However with Malins’ touchline conversion bouncing back off the bar, it felt like a crucial miss. Even more so when Saints started to gain control of possession again, forcing Saracens to go in to overtime to secure the ball.

With time ticking though Saracens found themselves deep in Saints territory, battering against the green and yellow wall. The Saints discipline was immaculate but eventually something had to give, and in this case it was the numbers as Ramsey was released down the right hand side for the most dramatic of finishes to the game.

There were still two minutes left though, but Saracens defended them beautifully to see out the game, buoyed by the adrenalin of that superb and dramatic try.

It is a moment that will stay with them for a long time to come. For some it will be just the start of a long and illustrious Saracens career, for others it might be the last time they pull on the shirt, but for all it will be a moment to savour.

It capped a remarkable day, which saw Exeter pick up 5th place with a victory over Gloucester (see report – Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester) and Leicester Tigers claim third with a dominant victory over Bath (see report – Leicester Tigers v Bath). Once again though it was the quality of rugby all around that shone, and the opportunity to see all of these futures stars in action that excited.

For Saracens there should be plenty of those future stars in their ranks.

Full Time: Northampton Saints 19-23 Saracens

Photos of the game, and all the others, can be seen on our Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby

Scorers:

Northampton Saints – Tries, Furbank, Richardson; Pens, Grayson x 3

Saracens – Tries, Waddleton, Walker, Ramsey; Con, Malins; Pens, Malins x 2

Northampton Saints:

15. George Furbank  14. Adam Shaw  13. Jamel Hamilton  12. Freddie Mckibbin  11. Rotimi Segun  10. Gregor Haldane  9. Ben Richardson  1. Ryan Eveleigh  2. James Fish  3. Luc Jeannot  4. Alex Moon  5. John Hawkins (c)  6. Tim Cardall  7. Will Allman  8. George Cox.

Replacements: 16. Rob Marmion  17. Jake Byrne  18. Ehren Painter  19. Toby Trinder  20. Matt Watson  21. Rob Smith  22. James Grayson  23. Tosin Segun.

Saracens:

15 Will Kaye  14 Alex Gilham  13 Dominic Morris  12 Fili Savou  11 Euan Dickson-Earle  10 Max Malins  9 Alex Patton  1 Ralph Hale-Adams  2 Harrison King  3 Billy Walker  4 Danny Cutmore  5 Nick Isiekwe  6 Jacob Moody  7 Ethan Waddleton  8 Ben Earl.

Replacements: 16 Aston Lester  17 Matthew Brooks  18 Seb Brownhill  19 Joe Hughes  20 Alex Munday  21 James Lennon  22 Nick Ramsey  23 Jack Longhurst.

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