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Academy Fall Short In Opening Fixture

Published on 18th December 2012 by Will Carpenter

London Irish 44-38 Bristol Academy U18s


Academy Head Coach Mike Hall was keen to seek the positives after watching Bristol Academy U18s go down 44-38 to London Irish in the opening RFU Under 18 league fixture at Sunbury Park on Saturday.

Bristol scored six tries - including a hat-trick from centre Lucas Slowik and further scores from Nick Carpenter, Jake Polledri and Alex Colborne - but it wasn’t enough as the Exiles, who led for the majority of the game, held on to secure victory.

Hall’s side trailed 11-5 at half-time, with Slowik crossing for the first of an impressive trio of tries early on. Nick Carpenter rounded off a superb move to give Bristol a 12-11 advantage soon after the interval, but Irish responded with three tries of their own in a rampant ten-minute spell to lead 30-19 with twenty minutes to play.

Bristol stayed in touch with efforts from Slowik and Polledri, but the hosts pulled further ahead with a brace of tries to take a commanding 44-26 lead.


Despite the defeat, Hall was pleased with his side’s attacking approach but admitted that the defence needed to improve.

“We were really pleased with the way in which the boys played,” he said. “They played the way we asked them to; moved the ball round and showed good intent to attack.

“It’s always disappointing to score six tries and lose a game and our defence needs some work. We need to be harder to break down and score against.”

With five games still to play in this brand new RFU competition, Hall is expecting his side to build on this performance and come out stronger against Harlequins on Friday.

He added: “We looked a bit nervous to begin with, for some of these guys it was the first time they have pulled on the Bristol shirt, but they soon relaxed and played with freedom. There are a lot of positives to take from this game and hopefully we can build on this next week.”

The under 18’s face Harlequins next Friday 21st at Surrey Sports Park, Guildford. Kick-off is 1.30pm.