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Wasps impress at National Academy Sevens

London Wasps hosted the second Under 19 National Academy Sevens tournament on Saturday 15th May at Twyford Avenue

Christian Wade gave Wasps a cutting edge in the backs

Christian Wade gave Wasps a cutting edge in the backs

Teams from across England and Wales took part in the event, which is supported by the RFU.

Good weather allowed the players to demonstrate high performance levels and some high quality Sevens were on display. The Wasps team involved the following players – Sam Jones, Alex Fan, Chris Elder, Charlie Gordon, Elliot Daly, Jack Wallace, Christian Wade, Jamie Townsend, Elliot Brown, Stephen Hihetah and Heath Stevens. Several had played during the week and their heavy schedules became significant as the day progressed.

Pooled with Leicester and Cardiff, with Leicester not having lost a Sevens match at this level for three seasons, Wasps were clearly in the strongest group. In the first match against Leicester, Wasps started slowly and trailed 21-7 at half time. The team then found their form, however, scoring four converted tries with no reply. This was an outstanding performance that threw the tournament wide open. Another impressive win over Cardiff secured top place in the Pool, which was followed by a tough but comfortable win over Kent County.

Wasps Academy Sevens captain Jack Wallace

Wasps Academy Sevens captain Jack Wallace

By this stage the squad were beginning to show signs of tiredness. In the semi final playoff against London Irish, despite looking all set to maintain their winning run with, Irish fought back from a first half deficit to win. This placed London Wasps against Leicester again, in a 3rd vs 4th playoff, and Leicester gained their revenge by winning 26-24 with the final conversion of the game. Once again, despite finishing on the wrong side of the score line, the team performed very well in this final match. The players showed great commitment and dug deep in what was a very physically demanding afternoon.

On reflection, I think it’s fair to say we had the hardest draw and, with the other playing commitments taking there toll, we performed and competed to a very high level. Chris Elder, Alex Fan and Sam Jones in the forwards worked hard and effectively while Elliot Daly, Charlie Gordon and Christian Wade provided a dangerous cutting edge to the back line. The team was well led by Jack Wallace, who provided an immense defensive presence and strong leadership. Great credit must also go to Elliot Brown, Jamie Townsend, Stephen Hihetah and Heath Stevens, who all stepped up to the challenge during the day.

With nine of the squad still eligible next season, this year’s experience should bode well for 2011.

By London Wasps Academy Manager Rob Smith

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