Leicester Tigers had to settle for a 31-31 draw with Northampton Saints in a thrilling opener to the U18 Academy League at Loughborough University
Saints took the lead through scrum-half Fin Creighton’s try of the game before Tigers second row Cameron Jordan went over. Sam Costelow landed the conversion to give Tigers the lead for the first time, and added a penalty to extend the advantage to 10-5.
Saints levelled the scores with a well-worked try for centre Sam Cappaert. Creighton kicked the conversion of the game.
Northampton wing Josh Gillespie then went over to give Saints a 17-10 half-time lead.
Tigers reacted strongly in the second half and were rewarded when winged Will Poland crossed with Costelow adding the points to level the scores again.
The game swung back towards Northampton as Creighton went over for his hat-trick but, three minutes later, Tigers scrum half Will Yarnell responded back with a try of his own. The conversion from Costelow levelled the score at 24-24.
Tigers took the lead for the second time in the game thanks to captain Henri Larvin’s quick-thinking to jump on a loose ball as it fell over the tryline. Replacement Jonny Law added the extras to give Tigers a 31-24 lead.
But Saints came back again and second row Freddie Betteridge burst through to score with Creighton’s conversion levelling the scores with 15 minutes to go.
Both teams searched for the win as the game became stretched in the closing stages, but neither could break the deadlock.
Next up for Tigers is an away trip to Sale Sharks on January 5 for a Round 2 fixture.
Leicester Tigers Academy XV
15 Freddie Steward (Norwich School)
14 Zack Godfrey (Stamford School)
13 Andre Dunn (Langley School)
12 Sam Wager (Wyggeston & QE College)
11 Will Poland (Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School)
10 Sam Costelow (Oakham School)
9 Will Yarnell (Loughborough Grammar School)
1 Keston Lines (Wyggeston & QE College)
2 Jamie Harding (Denstone College)
3 James Whitcombe (Woodhouse Grove School)
4 George Martin (Brooksby Melton College)
5 Cameron Jordan (Oakham School)
6 Henri Lavin (Wyggeston & QE College) - CAPTAIN
7 Taylor Gough (Wyggeston & QE College)
8 Thom Smith (Langley School)
16 Shaun Allsopp (Stamford School)
17 Alex Maxwell (Brooksby Melton College)
18 Joe Latham (Wyggeston & QE College)
19 Xander Purcell (Wyggeston & QE College)
20 Sam Eveleigh (Leicester Grammar School)
21 Jonny Law (Rugby School)
22 Ronnie Du Randt (Denstone College)
23 Luke Phoenix (Langley School)
Northampton: 15 Jake Johnson, 14 Josh Gillespie, 13 Sam Cappaert, 12 Ollie Sleightholme, 10 Tyler Mills, 9 Fin Creighton, 1 Fraser Thompson, 2 Samson Ma’asi, 3 Mitchell Brown, 4 Marshall Sykes, 5 Freddie Betteridge, 6 Tom Addison, 7 Joe Wallace, 8 Ryan Hussey Replacements: 16, Arun Mehta, 17 Elliot Chilvers, 18 Ed McDowell, 19 Kayde Sylvester, 20 Emmanuel Iyogun, 21 Sam Connor, 22 Lewie Evans, 23 Josh Lack