Oaklands rugby stars make Twickenham final
Oaklands seal date with Hartpury College in final
RUGBY UNION: THE Oaklands College 1st XV Rugby squad booked their place in the RFU AASE League Grand Final at Twickenham after a thrilling and hard fought Semi Final victory at London Irish on Wednesday evening.
The 13-10 win means the team, which has close links with Saracens, face fellow finalists Hartpury College, who have a similar relationship with Gloucester RFC, in the Twickenham showpiece on April 27.
The team progressed to the semi final after finishing second overall in the RFU AASE League Northern Conference, and faced a very strong and physical Irish side, riding high on confidence after finishing top of their league, losing only one game all season.
The Oaklands team are part of the college rugby programme which sees the boys train regularly in conjunction with Saracens coaches and study A-Levels or BTECs, just like any other year 12 or 13 student.
The Advance Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) programme also sees some of these student athletes study and train in more depth and have excellent access to professional resources to develop their game.
Starting strongly, the Oaklands side controlled the field position and possession for large parts of the opening half, forcing the Irish side into mistakes, and eventually conceding a penalty 40 metres out which full back Elliot Clements-Hill converted.
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Powerful breaks from Nick Auterac and Alex Smith clearly showed the attacking intent from the away team, and after clean lineout ball from Tom Jubb, Smith’s midfield line break was continued by the James Ayrton, and Clements-Hill was on hand to out-pace the London Irish defence to score in the corner.
Clements-Hill then converted his own try, before adding another penalty early in the second half to take a 13-3 lead going into the final quarter.
Despite a late Irish resurgence, the Oaklands team were able to hold out to secure a place in the AASE Grand Final - the first time it has been held at Twickenham.