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U18s end campaign in defeat

The final game of the Under-18 Academy League ended in a heavy defeat for Wasps, against an Exeter side which made full use of its considerable size advantage, to run in eight tries.

The home side went ahead after just two minutes, following a catch and drive near the left corner. The forwards made several metres, before releasing the ball to the backs, and left winger Ned Warne came into the line, to exploit a gap in midfield and go over between the posts. Max Bodilly added the simple conversion.

Academy Assistant Manager Chris Lloyd's post-match reaction

Academy Assistant Manager Chris Lloyd's post-match reaction

Wasps’ first attack came when they ran the ball from deep, and Tom Howe came off his wing to make 50 metres before being stopped a few metres short of the line.

Wasps’ audacious efforts to attack from deep backfired on 16 minutes, when they tried to run the ball from a scrum near their line. They were stopped in their tracks and another scrum ensued, from which lock Marcus Garratt went over. Bodilly again added the extra points.

Wasps responded immediately, after Alex Lundberg pulled off a superb turnover near halfway. The ball was moved down the left and Sam Isaacs was stopped near the left corner. Play came back infield, Lundberg put in a powerful burst, and the ball went out to the right wing, where fullback Louis Clayton-Molloy went over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Exeter came right back, when Tom Holdsworth went over, after fellow centre Tom Hendrickson had smashed through some weak tackling, to make 30 metres, before being stopped on the line. Bodilly’s conversion hit the post.

Inside the last five minutes of the half, Exeter secured the bonus point, when they won a scrum against the head, under the Wasps posts. Scrum-half Stuart Townsend darted over on the blind side, and Bodilly’s conversion made the score 26-5.

Bodilly added a try of his own, when he supported a move down the right. He dummied and stepped inside, before racing over near the posts. He converted his own score.

Exeter were reduced to 14 men, when lock Charlie Hewitt was shown a yellow card for a tip tackle, two minutes before the break.

Wasps produced their best sustained attack of the half, taking the ball through a series of phases, before Dan Barnes went over in the corner. Unfortunately, the try was ruled out, with the officials deciding that he had lost control of the ball as he tried to ground it, before being knocked into touch.

The halftime score of 33-5 became 38-5 less than a minute after the restart, when Hendrickson charged down a kick, gathered and had a clear run-in to the line.

Bodilly could not convert, but then landed a long-range penalty, helped by a strong wind at his back.

Flanker Sam Simmons produced an impressive burst of speed to score Exeter’s 7th try, 8 minutes into the second half. Bodilly was again on target with a simple conversion.

Despite being under almost constant pressure, Wasps then dug in and defended heroically for the rest of the game. It wasn’t until the final play of the match that their line was crossed again, after a collision between two defenders led to the ball being spilt and replacement Luke Mingo was on hand to touch down in the right corner. The missed conversion meant the final score was 53-5.