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AASE League: AASE season to kick off with challengers looking to make early headway

4th September 2018
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The 2018 AASE League kicks off this week with five fixtures on Wednesday and one on Tuesday night.

 

Hartpury College are looking to defend their title after making up for losing out on the title for the first time in its history in 2016 with a stunning 66-14 defeat of Gosforth Academy in last year’s final.

 

The defending champions begin with a bye though this year in the Southern Conference, as do Moulton College in the Northern Conference.

 

As last year, there are fourteen teams in the competition, seven in the north and seven in the south. Each side plays the other sides in the conference once prior to half term before the leagues then split, still staying north/south, with the top end sides playing each other once again and the bottom end sides doing the same.

 

Following those games the teams then meet for a final round of games that are play offs against their counterparts in the opposite conference. So seventh in the north play seventh in the south for 13th/14th place and so on, right up to the top side in each conference meeting at Allianz Park for the AASE League final.

 

Each side is affiliated to a professional club, and thirteen of the fourteen sides are as they were last year. The only exception are newcomers Stourport High School, who replace Worcester 6th form College and are now aligned with the Worcester Warriors Academy. The only one of the fourteen RFU Academies not represented with an AASE side is Harlequins, Exeter Chiefs meanwhile have two, Exeter College and Truro College.

 

Northern Conference

 

Stourport’s first AASE game will be at home against the side that finished fourth overall last year, Oaklands College, the Saracens affiliates. It will likely be a tough outing against one of the stronger sides in AASE’s history, but a home game will be a great way to kick off.

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Last year’s runners up, Gosforth Academy, kick off their season away from home. The Newcastle Falcons feeders are away to Sale Sharks affiliates Myerscough College, where they will look to continue playing the exciting offloading brand of rugby that has been their trademark over the last couple of years. Myerscough will be tough though, the Sale Academy is one of the best around.

 

Finally in the North last season’s newcomers Brooksby Melton College, linked to Leicester Tigers, will host Bishop Burton College. The Yorkshire Carnegie affiliates finished in twelfth place last year, while Brooksby Melton finished ahead in eighth, so they will be hoping that they can start off with a bang this year.

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Southern Conference

 

Third placed in 2017, Exeter College begin their season at home to their Exeter Chiefs partners, Truro College. They do so a day early too, kicking off on Tuesday night to end an exciting day that will have seen some of the lower sides from each setup play each other too.

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Wednesday sees Beechen Cliff, 9th last year, take on SGS Filton College, who finished eleventh. It is yet another Bath v Bristol clash in this opening week of the season, which has seen the sides meet in the Gallagher Premiership, Premiership Shield, and now with their respective affiliates in the AASE League. It currently stands at 2-0 Bristol, will they make it the hat-trick or can Bath pull one back?

 

The final game of the opening round sees a clash between 5th and 7th last year as St Paul’s Catholic College take on Henley College. St Paul’s, the London Irish AASE side, have had a brilliant couple of years and will be looking for more of the same but Wasps partners Henley had some really strong moments last year and will be hoping to build on those this time around.

 

All in all, it should be an intriguing opening to the AASE season!

 

AASE Round 1 Fixtures (predictions in bold):

 

North

Brooksby Melton College v Bishop Burton College

Myerscough College v Gosforth Academy

Stourport High School v Oaklands College

Moulton College – Bye

 

South

Beechen Cliff v SGS Filton College

Exeter College v Truro College (Tuesday)

St Paul’s Catholic College v Henley College

Hartpury College – Bye

 

Further Fixtures:

 

Round 2

 

North

Bishop Burton College v Myerscough College

Gosforth Academy v Stourport High School

Moulton College v Brooksby Melton College

Oaklands College – Bye

 

South

Hartpury College v St Paul’s Catholic College

Henley College v Exeter College

Truro College v Beechen Cliff

SGS Filton College – Bye

 

Round 3

 

North

Myerscough College v Moulton College

Oaklands College v Gosforth Academy

Stourport High School v Bishop Burton College

Brooksby Melton College – Bye

 

South

Beechen Cliff v Henley College

Exeter College v Hartpury College

SGS Filton College v Truro College

St Paul’s Catholic College – Bye

 

Round 4

 

North

Bishop Burton College v Oaklands College

Brooksby Melton College v Myerscough College

Moulton College v Stourport High School

Gosforth Academy – Bye

 

South

Hartpury College v Beechen Cliff

Henley College v SGS Filton College

St Paul’s Catholic College v Exeter College

Truro College – Bye

 

Round 5

 

North

Gosforth Academy v Bishop Burton College

Oaklands College v Moulton College

Stourport High School v Brooksby Melton College

Myerscough College – Bye

 

South

Beechen Cliff v St Paul’s Catholic College

SGS Filton College v Hartpury College

Truro College v Henley College

Exeter College – Bye

 

Round 6

 

North

Brooksby Melton College v Oaklands College

Moulton College v Gosforth Academy

Myerscough College v Stourport High School

Bishop Burton College – Bye

 

South

Exeter College v Beechen Cliff

Hartpury College v Truro College

St Paul’s Catholic College v SGS Filton College

Henley College – Bye

 

Round 7

 

North

Bishop Burton College v Moulton College

Gosforth Academy v Brooksby Melton College

Oaklands College v Myerscough College

Stourport High School – Bye

 

South

Henley College v Hartpury College

SGS Filton College v Exeter College

Truro College v St Paul’s Catholic College

Beechen Cliff – Bye