Academy Manager Craig Lilley believes Bath Rugby Under-18s will learn a lot from their late defeat against Harlequins.
The junior Blue, Black and Whites held a 21-10 lead going into the closing stages but three Quins tries in 10 minutes turned the result on its head to win 31-21.
Bath started the contest on the front foot and opened the scoring on 15 minutes. A strong catch and drive saw the visitors make 15 metres into the Quins half and centre Sam Harris hit a blistering line to canter underneath the posts.
Number 8 Jonathan Smith replied for Harlequins, going over after a classy run from Ludo Kolade and the missed conversion was all that separated the teams at the break.
The line-out has been functioning well for Bath this season and it allowed the away side to pile on the pressure. With advantage in hand, Byron Lloyd-Gilmour almost went over after swift hands but back for a penalty, Bath kept things tight and Ieuan Davies sent George Timmins tumbling home.
Quins’ response was immediate as Seb Driscoll benefitted from a fast-moving maul but another pick and go try for Bath - this time from Scott Kirk - made it 21-10 in the final quarter.
Unbeaten in their games so far, Harlequins showed why they are a hard side to beat and rallied in the final 10 minutes. Smith grabbed his second with Kolade and Sean Kerr completing the turnaround.
“I’m really proud of the way the lads played against an impressive Harlequins side,” Lilley said.
“We played some smart rugby throughout, were physical in defence and created excellent opportunities.
“To lose the game in the manner we did will be a great learning for the players. They have the opportunity to ask questions of themselves and can use the next two weeks to figure out the answers ahead of a West Country derby against Gloucester.”
BATH RUGBY U18 TEAM TO PLAY HARLEQUINS U18
15 James Redman (Beechen Cliff School | Walcot RFC)
14 Byron Lloyd-Gilmour (Marlborough College | Salisbury RFC)
13 Will Parry (Sherborne School | Henley Hawks RFC)
12 Sam Harris © (Millfield School | Hertford RFC)
11 Max Ashton (Beechen Cliff School | Chippenham RFC)
10 Raff Weston (Beechen Cliff School | Walcot RFC)
9 Ieuan Davies (Millfield School | Neath Athletic RFC)
1 Eric Nixon-Castillo (Millfield School)
2 Max Pearce (Millfield School | Chippenham RFC)
3 Billy Sela (Beechen Cliff School | Royal Wootton Bassett RFC)
4 Eddie Erskine (Millfield School | Dorchester RFC)
5 Max Jenkins (Millfield School | Reeds Weybridge RFC)
6 Jack Haythornthwaite (Beechen Cliff School | Chew Valley RFC)
7 George Timmins (Millfield School | Market Harborough RFC)
8 Arthur Green © (Sherborne School | Frome RFC)
16 Tommy McLean (Beechen Cliff School | Bath RFC)
17 Scott Kirk
18 Jaden Ephgrave (Beechen Cliff School | Chippenham RFC)
19 Abdul-Khalik Akenzua Al Kareen (Downside School | North Dorset RFC)
20 Harvey Matthews (Beechen Cliff School | Bath RFC)
21 Ollie Byrne (Beechen Cliff School | Wimborne RFC)
22 Rory Crum (Beechen Cliff School | Bournemouth RFC)
23 Kamoto Kamanga-Dyrbak (Millfield School | KCB Kenya)