Under 18s edged by Bath in 16-try thriller
Date: 18 Feb 2019
Wasps U18 48-52 Bath Rugby U18
By Jack Davies
Wasps Under 18s came up just short in a thrilling battle for the 3rd/4th place play-off in the Premiership Rugby Under 18 Academy League, as Bath Rugby Under 18s edged them 52-48 at Allianz Park on Sunday.
Wasps started superbly, scoring two tries in the opening five minutes after taking advantage of a Bath yellow card, with Alfie Barbeary and Tom Bacon going over.
However, a yellow card of their own allowed Bath back into the game with their first try of the match from Orlando Bailey.
Bradley Law and Max Ojomoh went over for Bath before Wasps hit back through Mario Pichardie and captain James Tunney.
Bath soon levelled through George Worboys but Wasps led by 19 points at the interval after Ricky Ma'asi White crashed over and Pichardie and Barbeary both bagging their second tries of the contest.
Bath stepped up a gear in the second-half, quickly scoring three tries as they moved into a two-point lead to set up a tense final 15 minutes – with Worboys diving over for his second and John Stewart and Nat Arnold also crossing the chalk.
Gabriel Hamer-Webb gave Bath a bit of breathing space before Wasps skipper Tunney barrelled over with a minute to go and just four points in it.
And despite Wasps camped in the Bath 22 in the final play of the game, Bath held on for the win.
However, the result won’t take the gloss off an excellent season where Wasps U18s achieved fourth place and became one of the highest-scoring sides in the competition.
Wasps U18s dominated the opening exchanges as Barbeary crashed over from close range before Bacon finished off a fine attacking move to give the youngsters an early lead.
Bath responded well to going behind as Bailey converted his own try to get them on the scoreboard.
The sides then exchanged tries throughout the half in a fast-flowing attacking display from both teams. Law and Ojomoh got themselves on the scoresheet for Bath before tries from Pichardie and Tunney regained the lead for Wasps.
Although a try from Worboys made it 24-24, Wasps finished the first-half the stronger of the sides with another three tries as they looked to take control. The tries saw both Barbeary and Pichardie complete braces and a superb score from Ma'asi White completed a phenomenal half of rugby.
The Bath youngsters came back in stunning fashion, scoring three tries of their own, with a second of the match for full back Worboys and scores from replacements John Stewart and Nat Arnold set up a nervous finale for both sides.
Bath then further extended their lead through winger Gabriel Hamer-Webb with an excellent line-break.
Wasps had not given up the fight and came back with a second try of the match from the impressive Tunney.
With a minute left Wasps were awarded a penalty five metres out, however, some resolute Bath defence forced a turnover and saw them take victory in an unbelievable, 100-point game.
Some fantastic performances from Wasps this season saw them achieve fourth position in the Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League campaign, in which the whole squad can be proud of.
Wasps U18 | 15 Tom Bacon, 14 Simone Panella, 13 Toby Baldwin, 12 Rekeiti Ma'asi White, 11 Jude Williams, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Henry Mortimer; 1 Zac Nearchou, 2 Alfie Barbeary, 3 Jordan Cordice, 4 Anjo Ademuwagun, 5 Mario Pichardie Garcia, 6 Alfred Mawdsley, 7 Daniel Eckersley, 8 James Tunney (c)
Replacements | 16 Alex Pleasants, 17 James Coombs, 18 Alex Sabin, 19 Nic Jakobson, 20 Greg Fisilau, 21 Ollie Monye, 22 Evan Mitchell, 23 Tane Dunn
02m | Barbeary try 5-0
04m | Bacon try 10-0
08m | Bailey try 10-5
08m | Bailey con 10-7
10m | Law try 10-12
12m | Pichardie try 15-12
13m | Atkinson con 17-12
14m | Ojomoh try 17-17
14m | Bailey con 17-19
17m | Tunney try 22-19
18m | Atkinson con 24-19
22m | Worboys try 24-24
24m | Ma'asi White try 29-24
25m | Atkinson con 31-24
29m | Barbeary try 36-24
34m | Pichardie try 41-24
35m | Atkinson con 43-24
46m | Stewart try 43-29
46m | Bailey con 43-31
52m | Worboys try 43-36
53m | Bailey con 43-38
54m | Arnold try 43-43
55m | Bailey con 43-45
62m | Hamer-Webb try 43-50
63m | Bailey con 43-52
69m | Tunney try 48-52
Wasps Under 18 Academy League Fixture List
16/12/2018 2:00pm KO