Aviva A League: Exeter Braves land A League title


Exeter Braves yesterday won the Aviva A League, beating Northampton Wanderers 55-25 at Sandy Park.


In front of a home crowd, the young Chiefs side were in sensational form, scoring nine tries to their opponents four, and scoring an unanswered 31 points in the second half after an early Tom Collins try for Saints immediately after the break.


Exeter put out a reasonably experienced side, with the likes of Tom Johnson, Haydn Thomas, and Kai Hortmann all in the starting line up. However their bench was much more youthful, with the likes of Exeter University duo Jack Owlett, formerly of Millfield, and Pete Laverick, ex-Prior Park, both sitting in wait alongside recent England U20 internationals such as Sam Skinner, Sam Simmonds, and Stuart Townsend.


That more experienced edge in the starting XV, particularly in the pack made a real difference though as Exeter were able to use their power and experience to keep Northampton at bay.


Saints, by contrast, were very youthful, with Academy pair Sam Olver and Rory Hutchinson in the centres, and their fellow recent U20 internationals Lewis Ludlam and Jordan Onojaife in the pack, along with the likes of Howard Packman, James Fish, Alex Moon, George Furbank, and Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi on the bench.


First half score from Michele Campagnaro, Elvis Taione, Bretty Sturgess, and Kait Horstmann gave the home side an advantage at the break over Northampton, who had scored through Jamie Elliott, Rory Hutchinson, and Reece Marshall.


Saints looked like they might be ready to really take the game on as the second half kicked off though, with Tom Collins scoring almost immediately after the restart. However Exeter just accelerated away, with Tom Hendrickson, Ben White, Bryan McGuigan, and Sam Simmonds all scoring, while Horstmann added his second of the game.


Victory showed once more what a superb Academy Exeter are producing, with the likes of Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Hill, and Henry Slade all recently coming through. Those young stars are surely likely to be joined soon on a regular basis by some of the younger members of this A League winning side.


The question now for the club is; can the senior side do the job in the Aviva Premiership?


Aviva A League Final Result: Exeter Braves 55-25 Northampton Wanderers




Exeter Braves:

15 Chrysander Botha

14 Max Bodilly

13 Michele Campagnaro

12 Tom Hendrickson

11 Matt Jess

10 Will Hooley

9 Haydn Thomas

1 Brett Sturgess

2 Elvis Taione

3 Alex Brown

4 Ollie Atkins

5 Lewis Stevenson

6 Tom Johnson

7 Ben White

8 Kai Horstmann.

Replacements: 16 Shaun Malton 17 Jake Woolmore 18 Jack Owlett 19 Sam Skinner 20 Sam Simmonds 21 Stu Townsend 22 Pete Laverick 23 Byron McGuigan.


Northampton Wanderers:

15 James Wilson

14 Jamie Elliott

13 Rory Hutchinson

12 Sam Olver

11 Tom Collins

10 JJ Hanrahan

9 Tom Kessell

1 Matt Beesley

2 Reece Marshall

3 Gareth Denman

4 Michael Paterson

5 Jordan Onojaife

6 Ben Nutley

7 Lewis Ludlam

8 Sion Bennett

Replacements: 16 James Fish 17 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi 18 Adam Parkins 19 Alex Moon 20 Matti Williams 21 Tim Duschene 22 George Furbank 23 Howard Packman.

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