Nottingham Rugby Academy v Ealing Trailfinders Academy (a) won 51-3
An early start for the bus trip to Nottingham for the final fixture of the U20/23 season, the squad was drawn from the Championship Development and U18 groups but having played and trained together on several occasions there were familiar faces and a great sense of anticipation in the air.
This would be the first time we have played our fellow Championship Academy, the corresponding fixture at Vallis Way fell foul of the weather, so we could only concern ourselves with our game and the accurate execution of it.
The game started with Nottingham enjoying plenty of possession and Ealing defending well, making tackles but an early penalty allowed Nottingham to take the lead.
Gaining possession from the restart allowed our first period of meaningful attack, we showed great pace and energy with good work after the tackle producing quick ball for U’Chong and Killeen to probe the Nottingham defence, despite some good final tackling by our opponents Killeen spotted the gap and went through to open the young Trailfinders account.
Brimming with confidence and playing with ambition and tempo first flanker Giuseppe Salustri, then Killeen again crossed the whitewash before Development Squad winger Kwaku Asante combined well with full back Chris Fagan for 2 more tries before the half time whistle.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first with the Academy enjoying long periods of possession and territory bringing further scores from Academy U18 Emerging Players Louis Walker and Marcus Lowe along with Development and ex Academy winger Damaro Woodruffe.
Skipper Matt Killeen finished off the scoring with a clever chip over and side step off the full back to cap an impressive individual performance with a well-deserved hat trick.
Thanks to our hosts who were crippled by unavailability for a great day out and a fine example of what we have achieved with the close collaboration between the Championship, Championship Development and Academy Squads for the U20/23 programme this season. Superb wins against the Army, Navy and Combined Services U23 as well as Championship rivals London Scottish and Nottingham have provided a great benchmark and learning environment for our young players.
Ealing Trailfinders Academy
Fagan, Walker, Buller, Day, Asante, Killeen (c), U’Chong, Lowe, Alton, Salustri, Avis, Wake, Hitchcock, Blackhurst, Burman
Luk, Steadman, Shehabi, Harris, Woodruffe, Conor
Tries – Killeen 3, Asante 2, Lowe, Salustri, Walker, Woodruffe
Cons – Killeen 2, Luk