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Rugby: Powell praises young Saracens

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 February 2018

Saracens fans grab a bite to eat and read the programme before the start of play (pic Mark Kerton/PA)

Saracens fans grab a bite to eat and read the programme before the start of play (pic Mark Kerton/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Saracens Academy coach Adam Powell was full of praise for his young side’s effort after their 43-20 defeat at Exeter in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

The visitors were forced to play with three guests in their matchday 23 at Sandy Park and saw Tom Whiteley, Max Malins, Tom Lindsay and Rotimi Segun score tries in the loss.

The 2015 winners ended their campaign with only one win in pool three, but Powell said: “All the guys did really well, we only met on Thursday for them to help us out and it gave them a chance to impress.

“It’s been a tough competition for us and a huge learning curve for some of our youngsters.

“We would have liked to have done better and qualified but it’s about improving and we dug in well against a strong Exeter side.

“We lost our first two games in the competition by one score because we lacked a bit of nous and ultimately that proved costly.”

Exeter skills coach Ricky Pellow said his staff were kept abreast of Newcastle’s progress as they pipped the Falcons to a home semi-final.

The Chiefs had to score three more tries than Newcastle on Saturday to finish ahead of them and avoid a long trip to Kingston Park and they succeeded in doing so, courtesy of a try from replacement hooker Paul Davis in the 76th minute.

Ollie Devoto and Tom O’Flaherty both scored two tries for Chiefs, with Davis, Joe Simmonds and Jack Maunder picking up one apiece. Simmonds added four conversions.

Newcastle, meanwhile, scored four tries in their 31-19 bonus-point win against Gloucester at Kingston Park.

Pellow said: “We were being fed through what was happening so we knew where we were, but it kept changing.

“We weren’t 100 per cent sure that the information was correct so it wasn’t confirmed until we got back into the dressing room.

“I’m over the moon for after last week’s defeat at Worcester, I thought our chance had gone so I’m delighted to have a home semi-final.

“I’m very proud of the squad and their performance today as Saracens pushed us all the way to show what a strong squad they have.”

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