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Wasps U18s get off to a flier

The London Wasps U18s side played out an exciting first outing of the season with their Cardiff Blues counterparts this week at Maidenhead RFC, winning the game 29-24

It was the first outing of the season for both sides who are preparing for their respective leagues this season, and the game was played on the immaculate surface at Maidenhead, where the London Wasps senior squad will play their A league games this season.

The crowd that turned out for the game were not left disappointed, with both sides showcasing real attacking intent and plenty of intensity for such an early stage of the season.

Cardiff got off to the better start with pressure immediately put on the Wasps defence close to their line, and it was the visitors who looked most threatening, with fullback Ellis Wyn Benham going on a mazy run to bring his side close to the opening score.

But it was Wasps, somewhat against the run of play, who grabbed the first score. Ben Wood made some good metres before inside centre Dan Barnes cut through the midfield very well on a strong running line to power his way over the try line.

Wasps were over for a second just minutes later when they profited from a loose Cardiff kick. Fullback Alex Harrison collected the ball and ran through a number of defenders on the way to a fine finish and a 10-0 lead.

Cardiff hit back with a penalty from James Whittingham but Wasps continued to take their chances very well when they scored a third try, after another good break from Harrisson, through Joel Harvey, who had come off the bench. The conversion gave Wasps a 17-3 lead.

The home side were showing good dominance up front and were coping well with the new scrum sequence calls while also showing good lineout ability, upsetting Cardiff’s throws on a number of occasions.

Cardiff came back strongly before the break with Hemi Barnes and Owen Young getting through some great work at the breakdown, and they were rewarded when prop Josh James crashed over from a good rolling maul to make it 17-10 at the break.

Cardiff continued their good form after the break with a try to level the game, with Barnes again showing good carrying ability in the early exchanges.

Wasps flanker Harry McCarthy helped his side step it up with a number of excellent turnovers and one 50 metre breakaway run which almost resulted in a try, but eventually Joel Harvey crossed the line after a nice pass from Wood at the end of a neat backline move, handing Wasps back the lead.

At 24-17 you could have forgiven both sides for tiring at the end of their first outing of the season but the crowd were treated to two more tries, one a fine try from Wasps’ Michael Dewar who was on the end of an excellent handling move, and one from Cardiff’s Harri Millard right before the death.

The Wasps team had their picture taken with departing Academy Manger Rob Smith after the game, while also there to congratulate them was former Wasps captain John Hart, who was acting forwards coach for the game and who will be involved in some Academy coaching this season.

London Wasps U18s: 15 Alex Harrison, 14 Shaquille Jack, 13 Connor Morrison, 12 Dan Barnes, 11 Connor Corrigan 10 Ben Wood, 9 Akria Takenaka, 1 Tom West, 2 Ian Brown, 3 George Edgson, 4 Will Morrison 5 Marcus Sirmon, 6 Jackson Burton, 7 Harry McCarthy, 8 Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas
Replacements: Shek Sherriff, George Saunders, Michael Dewar, Jordon Sirmon, Toby Atkinson Doyle, Patrick Culligan, Cameron Crawford, Joel Harvey
Cardiff Blues Under 18s : 1 Rob Lewis 2 Sam Evans 3 Josh James 4 Ben Murphy 5 Seb Davies 6 Matthew Marley (c) 7 Owen Young 8 Hemi Barnes 9 Mike Hale 10 James Whittingham 11 Harri Thomas 12 Lewis Morgan 13 Callum Morris 14 Josh Rodgers 15 Ellis Wyn Benham
Replacements: Bleddyn Griffiths, Aldi Coverdale, Kieron Assirratti, James Little, Aled Evans, Kirin Sepaphour, Chris Brace, Teri Morgan Gee, Rory Harries, Harri Millard, Jarred Evans

Images thanks to Stephen Atkinson

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