Academy Manager Craig Lilley believes Bath Rugby Under-18s will learn ‘the impact of individual errors’ after going down 39-12 at Saracens Under-18s.
The junior Blue Black and Whites took an early lead at Harpenden RFC. Fly-half Raff Weston’s brilliant 50:22 gave the visitors the perfect platform to form a driving maul which proved so effective in Round 1 against Bristol Bears. Max Pearce proved the beneficiary – the hooker diving over on three minutes.
Sarries were level a short period later as Charlie Reynolds-West scored in similar circumstances and the hosts took the lead when Bath lost momentum after pressurising in the midfield. A slow chase from a box kick allowed Saracens to counter through the middle and quick thinking from a penalty sent Micaal McFarlane into the corner.
At 10-5, Bath had their opportunities to get back into the match but a dropped box kick on the stroke of half-time allowed Jacob Ray to run on to a hacked kick to score.
Bath’s discipline allowed Saracens to punt to the corner and score from another driving maul. This time replacement hooker Alex Witchell was credited with the try.
McFarlane got his second of the day courtesy of a lucky ricochet which allowed the home side to gain possession deep in away territory and Tobias Elliott made it 32-5, spotting space in behind and executing a chip and gather to dot down.
Bath remained in the fight and played some smart rugby themselves. Their pressure in attack resulted in a line-out opportunity from close range and Kacey Pike was helped over by his pack.
But Saracens ended the contest with the final say through Barnaby Merritt.
“The scoreline doesn’t truly reflect the entire match,” Lilley said.
“There were lots of really good stuff from the boys and I am proud of their efforts.
"Saracens are a good team and it’s a hard place to go. We didn’t build scoreboard pressure and the bounce of the ball on occasions fell their way and they were clinical.
“At this level, the learnings the group can take are the impact of individual errors and ensuring discipline is kept to stop teams making entries into the 22. It is the next level up where errors can hurt you and I’m confident the players can take a lot of the game.”
Bath Rugby U18 side that faced Saracens U18
15 Byron Lloyd-Gilmour (Marlborough College), 14 McKenzi Rawlings (Beechen Cliff School), 13 Will Parry © (Sherborne School), 12 Rory Crum (Beechen Cliff School), 11 Max Ashton (Beechen Cliff School), 10 Raff Weston (Beechen Cliff School), 9 Ieuan Davies (Millfield School); 1 Tom Hill (Wells Cathedral School), 2 Max Pearce (Millfield School), 3 Billy Sela (Beechen Cliff School), 4 Eddie Erskine (Millfield School), 5 Will Jeanes © (Beechen Cliff School), 6 George Timmins (Millfield School), 7 Archie McKibben (Millfield School), 8 Kacey Pike (Beechen Cliff School)
16 Tommy McLean (Beechen Cliff School), 17 Eric Nixon-Castillo (Millfield School), 18 Ellis Baker (Millfield School), 19 Jack Haythornthwaite (Beechen Cliff School), 20 Harvey Matthews (Beechen Cliff School), 21 Sam Curwen (Millfield School), 22 Harry Carson (Millfield School), 23 Charlie Boarder (Downside School)