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Youngs Wasps impress at Harrow Festival

Young Wasps stars were in action on Sunday at the Southern Academies U15 12-a-side Fesitival at Harrow School

The festival, now in its second year, is designed to highlight the leading U15 age band players across the country, with a selected squad of 35 invited to a High Performance Camp in August. The selected group of players are not only taken from the Harrow Festival, though, but also the Northern Academies festival staged at Leeds.

The tournament involved squads from Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Gloucester, London Irish, Harlequins, Saracens and London Wasps. The Wasps squad, selected from the School of Rugby groups across our designated region of Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Middlesex, performed well – improving on last years performance by securing three wins, two draws and just one defeat. The games are 15 minutes in duration with no half time and no conversations or penalty kick attempts allowed. The ball is in play twice as long as in a normal game and with only a 15 minute break in between each game the tournament is physically very demanding. Six games are played in all, with every team playing all but one of the other teams – in Wasps case, we played everyone but Bath.

The day started with a draw against Gloucester, with Wasps very much on top but unable to convert several chances. This was followed by a comfortable win over Harlequins and then the best game of the day against Saracens, with Wasps scoring a late try by George Saunders to secure a draw. Next up was Exeter which should have been a safe win after 5 minutes with several scoring chances going astray. However, Exeter scored first and Wasps had to chase the game. With only minutes left, Chris Carlisle broke the defence and scored and very good solo effort. This was followed by the individual highlight of the day when prop Beno Obano charged up the left wing, bounced off tacklers and reached full length to touch down and secure the win.

By this time the intensity and demands of the festival were starting to hit home, with injuries to Dan Williams, Mark Makram and Charles Woollard adding to players cramping up. The players had to dig deep but in game 5 it took its toll, with a loss against Bristol, even though we again had most of the play and several opportunities to score.

In the final game, a very tired group of players took to the field against a well fancied London Irish team. After soaking up early pressure, Zac Maiden lifted the team with a solo effort followed closely by brilliant effort from Tom Howe. Wasps dominated the game from this point and played the best rugby of the day, showing the potential they had shown in the two preparation sessions and running out winners by 5 tries to nil.

To end the day in this fashion was an excellent endorsement of the quality and determination of the squad. Well done to all the squad and we look forward to having several players selected to attend the High Performance Camp with the England coaches in August.

London Wasps squad

1. Leo Buizza
2. Alex Lundberg
3. Tom Kynge
4. Mark Makram
5. Peter Moore
6. Owyn Thatcher
7. Peter Henshall
8. Max Murison
9. Josh Poole
10. Zachery Maiden(Ezenagu)
11. Luke Morrison
12. Robert Baragwanath
13. Charles Woollard
14. Oliver Wilson
15. George Saunders
16. Ian Rowe
17. Tom Howe
18. Archie Faulks
19. James Connelly
20. Beno Obano
21. Daniel Williams
22. Chris Carlisle

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