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Representative Rugby

U18 Academy League: Final Round Preview – Finals Day places up for grabs

7th February 2019
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The final round of the U18 Academy League takes place this weekend, with the fight for those Top 3 places in each conference very much on.

 

The reason those Top 3 spots are so key is because the six sides finishing in those places will head to the U18 Academy League Finals Day at Allianz Park on Sunday 17th February. The top side in each conference will meet in the final, second from each will play off for third place, and third in each will play for fifth place overall.

 

Three games last weekend were postponed due to the weather, Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers in the Northern Conference and Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins in the Southern Conference. The two games from the northern conference have been declared draws, while a decision on the southern conference game is yet to be taken.

 

Northern Conference

 

The decision to call the postponed Worcester v Leicester game a draw sealed Leicester Tigers’ place at the top of the Northern Conference table. It was their last game and they cannot be caught, so they will head to Allianz Park to defend the crown they won last year. The only tinge of disappointment will be that it spoiled their perfect five match points from every game record, for Worcester the reverse is true, it means the table no longer reads that all of their games have resulted in defeat.

 

Sale v Newcastle being declared a draw makes the battle for the other two places at finals day very interesting. Newcastle are in second on 17 points with Wasps 3rd on 15, tied with Sale in 4th. To make things even more interesting, Wasps host Newcastle Falcons on Saturday afternoon, and with Sale travelling to Worcester the likely scenario is that the winner of that clash at Wasps and Sale will head to finals day, assuming Sale get points against Worcester. Broadstreet RFC at 1.30pm on Saturday is going to be the one to keep a real eye on.

 

The other game in the Northern Conference sees Northampton Saints host Yorkshire Carnegie at Franklin’s Gardens. Saints lost heavily to Wasps last week and will be eager to bounce back, while Carnegie had a bye week.

 

Southern Conference

 

The southern conference is tightly packed, and remains a little up in the air whilst a decision is made over the postponed Exeter v Harlequins game. Though realistically it will surely have to be declared a draw given that there are only eight days between these games and finals day.

 

Nonetheless, whatever happens there are four sides all with a chance of making finals day and in theory the final itself. Currently Bath and Gloucester are in the top two spots, level on twenty points, with Quins in third on 17 (though with that game in hand – a draw in that would put them on 19), and London Irish in fourth on 16 points.

 

The key game then is likely Bath v London Irish at 1pm on Saturday. The winner there will make finals day no matter what, and if it is Bath they will have a strong chance of topping the table entirely. London Irish could top it, but it would require 0 match points from Bath and a bad day at the office for Gloucester.

 

Gloucester will be hoping not to have a bad day as they travel to Exeter who have won just once all season. However, having suffered their first defeat of the season to London Irish last week, Gloucester will have to be on their game if they are to claim back to back spots in the U18 Academy League final.

 

The final game in the Southern Conference is a bit of a dead rubber in terms of chasing the top 3 but for Bristol Bears and Saracens it will be a big one. Bristol are looking for their first victory of the season, while Saracens will look adrift of the pack should they lose but as though they were right on the edge of a top 3 place with a win.

 

Harlequins do not play this weekend so their place in the Top 3 will be dependent on what happens elsewhere, though the decision over their postponed game against Exeter will also have an impact.

 

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U18 Academy League Round 7 Fixtures:

 

Northern Conference

Northampton Saints v Yorkshire Carnegie – Saturday, 1pm, Franklin’s Gardens

Wasps v Newcastle Falcons – Saturday, 1.30pm, Broadstreet RFC

Worcester Warriors v Sale Sharks – Saturday, 1pm, Sixways

 

Southern Conference

Bath v London Irish – Saturday, 1pm, Hilperton

Bristol Bears v Saracens – Saturday, 2pm, Clifton College

Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester – Saturday, 12pm, Flowerpot Playing Fields

 

Tables:

 

Northern Conference
Pos Team P W D L BPs Points
1 Leicester Tigers 6 5 1 0 5 27
2 Newcastle Falcons 5 3 1 2 3 17
3 Wasps 5 3 0 1 3 15
4 Sale Sharks 5 2 2 1 3 15
5 Yorkshire Carnegie 5 1 1 3 1 7
6 Northampton Saints 5 1 0 4 2 6
7 Worcester Warriors 5 0 1 4 2 4

 

Southern Conference
Pos Team P W D L BPs Points
1 Bath 5 4 0 1 4 20
2 Gloucester 5 4 0 1 4 20
3 Harlequins 5 3 0 2 5 17
4 London Irish 5 3 0 2 4 16
5 Saracens 5 2 0 3 2 10
6 Exeter Chiefs 4 1 0 3 0 4
7 Bristol Bears 5 0 0 5 1 1

 

U18 Academy League Finals Day – Sunday 17th February, Allianz Park

  

Round 6 Results:

 

NC

Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons – Postponed (Draw taken)

Wasps 50-13 Northampton Saints

Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers – Postponed (Draw Taken)

 

SC

Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins – Postponed

London Irish 27-22 Gloucester

Saracens 21-29 Bath

 

Round 5 Results:

 

NC

Leicester Tigers 28-14 Yorkshire Carnegie

Newcastle Falcons 33-21 Worcester Warriors

Sale Sharks 48-22 Northampton Saints

 

SC

Exeter Chiefs 7-49 Saracens

Harlequins 8-16 Bath

London Irish 62-12 Bristol Bears

 

Round 4 Results:

 

NC

Leicester Tigers 27-24 Sale Sharks

Northampton Saints 10-41 Newcastle Falcons

Yorkshire Carnegie 5-50 Wasps

 

SC

Bath 77-17 Bristol Bears

Gloucester 27-26 Harlequins

Saracens 31-19 London Irish

 

Round 3 Results:

 

NC

Leicester Tigers 34-7 Wasps

Newcastle Falcons 22-14 Yorkshire Carnegie

Worcester Warriors 19-24 Northampton Saints

 

SC

Bristol Bears 17-21 Exeter Chiefs

Gloucester 23-22 Bath

Saracens 12-26 Harlequins

 

Round 2 Results:

 

NC

Northampton Saints 12-53 Leicester Tigers

Wasps 42-31 Worcester Warriors

Yorkshire Carnegie 19-19 Sale Sharks

 

SC

Bath 64-7 Exeter Chiefs

Bristol Bears 14-50 Gloucester

Harlequins 43-26 London Irish

 

Round 1 Results:

 

NC

Newcastle Falcons 14-66 Leicester Tigers

Sale Sharks 43-17 Wasps

Yorkshire Carnegie 31-12 Worcester Warriors

 

SC 

Gloucester 28-12 Saracens

Harlequins 48-0 Bristol Bears

London Irish 36-20 Exeter Chiefs