‘Pretty special’ Premiership Rugby title still sinking in for humble Ralph
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Pre-season may have been going on for some time now but Harpenden’s Ralph Adams-Hale was happy to take one more look back to how last season ended.
The 22-year-old was selected as one of the substitutes as Saracens took on Exeter Chiefs in the Twickenham showpiece, the culmination of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season.
And the arrival onto the field for the former Roundwood Park School man coincided with a stunning comeback for the Men in Black as they went on to clinch an incredible 37-34 victory.
"It was pretty special to be fair," said Adams-Hale, delving into a big bag of understatement.
"It's quite difficult to appreciate almost, even now, a few months down the line that I got to take part in such a big occasion and help us win a title.
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"Just to be part of everything there, it hasn't sunk in yet.
"After the game I was looking around and thinking I was at Twickenham with 80,000 people watching me play Exeter.
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"I came on for 15 minutes so it was one of those where you've just got to give everything you've got immediately and try to bring as much energy as possible to help the team.
"You could almost feel as I came on that the momentum was changing so I just wanted to solidify that."
He seemed generally surprised and proud at the reaction from friends and people in the town.
He said: "I'm still quite close with Matt Hunter who was my rugby coach for most of the time I was at Roundwood and he sent me a lot of messages and was super-excited for what I'd achieved
"I was getting loads of messages afterwards from people from school about how amazing it was I'd done that.
"It was nice to know that they've still got my back in a way."
But after winning his first medal in the professional game, the prop-forward says he has started to truly understand the winning mentality that envelops the whole club, something he had only seen at a distance previously.
"It's almost like you get that taste and that amazing feeling from winning that you don't want to just have that one memory, you want to chase that feeling again and find it," he admitted, both eyes now firmly turned back to the new season stretching out ahead of him.
"And you know the only way to do that is to crack on and get going, get working hard again."