Wednesday sees the eighth AASE League final take place at Saracens’ Allianz Park as the best of the North takes on the best of the South.
Southern Conference champions Hartpury College will meet Northern Conference champions Gosforth Academy at 16.15 following the conclusion of the Champions Trophy final between Blundell’s and Dulwich College beforehand.
The game will be on live TV for the first time, as well as being live streamed as in previous years. It will be available of Freesports TV (Sky channel 424, BT, Freview, Freesat, & TalkTalk channel 95), as well as on YouTube, Facebook Live, and England Rugby via the live stream.
The final follows Tuesday’s AASE Rankings play offs, which were split between Hornets RFC and Stourbridge RFC. The 3rd, 5th, and 7th place play offs all took place at Stourbridge, with the 9th, 11th, and 13th place play offs at Hornets. It turned out to be a glorious day for the South, whose teams won every single ranking play-off. You can see our roundup here: Southern Conference dominates AASE rankings play-offs.
Wednesday’s final looks set to be a truly brilliant clash, between two sides that are certainly playing the most effective rugby in the AASE league, hence they have reached the final, but also probably the most adventurous and exciting.
Hartpury College return to the final having missed out last year. The Gloucester affiliates had won every single edition of the competition until a defeat to Beechen Cliff last year allowed Exeter College to slip into the final, where they went on to become the only other side to win this prestigious title.
All year Hartpury have clearly been desperate to get back to the final and to reclaim the title that they held for so long, their wins over Exeter College in the league stage showing just how determined they were.
The side they come up against though, Gosforth Academy, are a real threat to that aim. They are in their second final in a row, and though they lost to Exeter last year, they will just be more determined to make their mark this time.
Their brand of rugby is a thrill to watch, offload targets that seem absurdly high are set before the game, yet time and time again Gosforth smash past those targets with their fast paced, highly skilled, and offload heavy brand of rugby.
Hartpury have that in their locker too though, so a few length of the field tries, especially on what will hopefully be a dry artificial surface, would be no surprise at all.
Hartpury had the easier ride of things though the season, a loss in the final would be their first defeat of the season. Gosforth, on the other hand, lost twice in the opening league table stage of the season and had to scrap hard to make sure that they made it into the second league phase, from which the sides finishing top made the final.
Once there though, they won three from three to top the league, their exciting brand of rugby is getting slicker and slicker as the season goes on.
All of which suggests that we are in for a superb final!
Hartpury College v Gosforth Academy – Allianz Park, 16.15 (Wednesday)
15 Jack Curtis, 14 Calum Barrett, 13 Jacob Morris, 12 Jack Reeves, 11 Louis Rees-Zammitt, 10 Joe Winfield, 9 Ewan Fenley, 1 Shay O’Malley, 2 Morgan Nelson, 3 Ethan Seville, 4 Olly Adkins, 5 Joe Howard, 6 Bailey Watts, 7 Bec Fissenden, 8 JJ Tonks.
Replacements: 16 Rowan Mullis, 17 Bertie Stretch, 18 Alex Hunt, 19 Sonny Facey, 20 Vine Everitt, 21 James Clancy, 22 Josh Phipps, 23 Isaac Marsh.
15 Will Roberts, 14 Seamus Hutton, 13 Nathan Henderson, 12 Morgan Passman, 11 Shaw Lorimer-Bell, 10 Callum Pascoe, 9 Josh Dixon, 1 Jacob Dunsdon, 2 Adam Hay, 3 Oscar Caudle, 4 James Barker, 5 Joe Lashley, 6 Tom Marshall, 7 Mason Lewthwaite, 8 Ethan Clarke.
Replacements: 16 Archie Barber, 17 Lewis Spark, 18 Ash Sinton, 19 Grant Steward, 20 Luke Giles, 21 Gabe Appleby-Rutter, 22 Lewis Williams, 23 Eliot Everton.
Prior to the AASE Final at Allianz Park, will be the Champions Trophy final, Blundell’s v Dulwich College. It will be broadcast live on TV, with the game being shown on live TV on Premier Sports, Sky Channel 428 (HD) or 462 (SD), as well as on live streams on YouTube, Facebook Live, and England Rugby.