The second round of the 2017/18 U18 Academy League takes place this weekend, with six games split evenly across the two conferences.
The Northern Conference consists of Sale Sharks, Leicester Tigers, Newcastle Falcons, Wasps, Northampton Saints, Worcester Warriors, and Yorkshire Carnegie, while the Southern Conference includes, Bath, Gloucester, Exeter Chiefs, London Irish, Harlequins, Saracens, and Bristol.
The top three in each conference then meet their equivalent from the other conference at finals day.
The action kicked off on Friday afternoon as last year’s losing finalists, Sale Sharks, began their campaign after a bye week in the opening round. They hosted a Leicester Tigers side that enjoyed a thrilling 31-31 draw against local rivals Northampton in the opening round.
Sale’s side included Sedbergh skipper Cameron Redpath at inside centre, who featured twice for the senior side over half term. Alongside him is the exciting Kieran Wilkinson of Kirkham Grammar School at fly half, while rising star and fellow Sedbergh man Bevan Rodd is at loosehead.
Tigers meanwhile once against selected from a huge range of schools, Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College feature most heavily, and are represented across the back row, where Henri Lavin will captain the side from number 8.
The game ended 16-6 to Tigers, with replacement hooker Finlay Gibson scoring the only try of the game. The away side led 6-3 at the break but Redpath leveled things for Sale shortly after, however Gibson’s try handed back the advantage to Tigers, with Sam Costelow of Oakham adding the conversion and a penalty for the ten point winning margin.
Newcastle Falcons will then pick up the mantle on Saturday as they look to bounce back from defeat to Yorkshire Carnegie last time out. They face a tricky task though, welcoming a Wasps side that defeated Worcester Warriors by a thumping 55-12 scoreline last round.
It looks an exciting Newcastle side though, particularly in the backline, where they have some top talents in the likes of Cameron Kelemeti and Morgan Passman, the Gosforth Academy flier.
Wasps meanwhile keep things pretty similar to last time out. Once again they are skippered by their dynamic hooker, Alfie Barbeary, while Mortimer is vice captain from the scrum half slot.
Worcester Warriors look to avenge that heavy defeat to Wasps with a trip to face Northampton Saints at Goldington Road on Saturday. Saints’ side once again looks exciting, with England U18 winger Ollie Sleightholme again selected and an exciting centre partnership of Sam Cappeart of Haileybury and Connor Tupai at inside centre. Samson Ma’asi starts at hooker.
Worcester meanwhile rely heavily on Worcester 6th form College, who provide 8 of the starting XV. There are plenty of players from surrounding schools to though, including Max Baggs of the unbeaten Cheltenham College and Warwick’s, Oliver Thorneywork and Tom Fawcett.
The Southern Conference fixtures all take place on Saturday. The action kicks off at 13.00 with Harlequins and Saracens. Harlequins enjoyed a strong 43-29 win over London Irish in the opening round, while Saracens lost in a thriller at home to Gloucester, 34-31.
Harlequins, as is their usual format in this league, have not announced their starting fifteen, rather the group from which it will be selected, which includes some exciting names, among them Hampton’s Louis Lynagh, Brighton College’s Jon Searle, and Sunni Jardine, who helped to steer Dulwich College to Champions Trophy success. Saracens are yet to announce their side.
Following that London derby is a South West derby between Bath and Saracens’ vanquishers, Gloucester. Bath will be keen to turn things around after a rather comfortable win for Bristol against them last time out.
Bath are led by Canford outside centre Will Butt, his schoolmate Luke Mehson is on the wing. Millfield’s Oli Hobson moves from full back to fly half in the absence of Beechen Cliff’s Tom De Glanville. Gloucester select another exciting looking team, Reece Dunn again provides senior experience from full back, while JJ Tonks is one to keep an eye on in the back row.
The final game in the South on Saturday sees Exeter Chiefs host London Irish. It is Exeter’s first foray into the league this year after an opening round bye, while for London Irish it is a chance to bounce back from that loss to Harlequins.
Exeter are led by Blundell’s School’s Sam Maunder, younger brother of Exeter’s Chiefs’ Jack, who represented the England senior side in the summer. His schoolmate Barrie Karea, who was man of the match in the thrilling Champions Trophy final defeat to Dulwich College, is on the bench. London Irish’s side includes plenty of exciting talent as always, not least Wellington College’s Will Sinfield is at fly half, while his school skipper Fin Rossiter is at openside.
As always, if you have any videos, photos, or reports from the weekend’s U18 Premiership rugby, please feel free to send them in via Twitter (@FifteenRugbyXV), Facebook (www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby), Instagram (@fifteenrugbyxv), or through email (email@example.com).
U18 Academy League Round 2 Fixtures/Results:
Sale Sharks 6-16 Leicester Tigers – Manchester Metropolitan University
Newcastle Falcons v Wasps – Kingston Park, 15.00
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors – Goldington Road, 13.00
Bath v Gloucester – Melksham RFC, 13.30
Exeter Chiefs v London Irish – Sandy Park, 14.00
Harlequins v Saracens – Surrey Sports Park, 13.00
Round 1 Results:
Leicester Tigers 31-31 Northampton Saints
Worcester Warriors 12-55 Wasps
Yorkshire Carnegie 33-19 Newcastle Falcons
Bristol 32-14 Bath
London Irish 29-43 Harlequins
Saracens 31-34 Gloucester
15 Tom Curtis, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Conor Doherty, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Raffi Quirke, 10 Kieran Wilkinson, 9 Tom Walsh, 1 Bevan Rodd, 2 Ewan Ashman, 3 Cal Ford, 4 Rouban Birch, 5 Jack Hill, 6 Ciaran Booth, 7 Charlie Papworth, 8 Sam Dugdale.
Replacements: 16 Liam Davies, 17 Alex Brooks, 18 James Harper, 19 Connor James, 20 Sam Higginson, 21 Gus Warr, 22 James Rooney, 23 Evan Powell.
15 Freddie Steward (Norwich), 14 Zack Godfrey (Stamford), 13 Will Poland (Bishop Vesey’s GS), 12 Ronnie Du Randt (Denstone College), 11 Luke Phoenix (Langley), 10 Sam Costelow (Oakham), 9 Will Yarnell (Loughborough GS), 1 Keston Lines (Wyggeston & QE College), 2 Jamie Harding (Denstone College), 3 James Whitcombe (Woodhouse Grove), 4 George Martin (Brooksby Melton College), 5 Cameron Jordan (Oakham), 6 Xander Purcell (Wyggeston & QE College), 7 Taylor Gough (Wyggeston & QE College), 8 Henri Lavin (Wyggeston & QE College, captain).
Replacements: 16 Finlay Gibson (Brooksby Melton College), 17 Alex Maxwell (Brooksby Melton College), 18 Joe Latham (Wyggeston & QE College), 19 Ollie Ashworth (Langley), 20 Sam Eveleigh (Leicester GS), 21 Jack Van Poortvliet (Oakham), 22 Jonny Law (Rugby), 23 Andre Dunn (Langley).
15 Josh Hodge, 14 Morgan Passman, 13 Nathan Henderson, 12 Cameron Kelemeti, 11 Harry Jackson, 10 Callum Pascoe, 9 Andrew Miller, 1 Will Elliott, 2 Joe Lashley, 3 Oscar Caudle, 4 Ethan Clarke, 5 Will Montgomery, 6 Tom Marshall, 7 Harry Hill, 8 Rob Farrar.
Replacements: 16 Phil Brantingham, 17 Ash Sinton, 18 Freddy Lockwood, 19 Will Petiffer, 20 Eddy Anderson, 21 Jack Peter, 22 Theo Manihera, 23 Chidera Obonna.
15 Bacon, 14 Atta, 13 Anderson, 12 Weatherall, 11 O’Sullivan, 10 Pietersen, 9 Mortimer (vc), 1 Pleasants, 2 Barbeary (c), 3 Roche, 4 Tunney, 5 Kelley, 6 Curran, 7 Stoker, 8 Tunney.
Replacements: 16 Nearchou, 17 Mbaud, 18 West, 19 Vickers, 20 Jakobsen, 21 Chillcott, 22 Atkinson, 23 Phillips.
15 Jake Johnson, 14 Josh Gillespie, 13 Sam Cappaert, 12 Connor Tupai, 11 Ollie Sleightholme, 10 Tyler Mills, 9 Fin Creighton, 1 Fraser Thompson, 2 Samson Ma’asi, 3 Jack Hughes, 4 Marshall Sykes, 5 Freddie Betteridge, 6 Ryan Hussey, 7 Connor Finch, 8 Tom Addison.
Replacements: 16 Ed McDowell, 17 Elliot Chilvers, 18 Mitchell Brown, 19 Kayde Sylvester, 20 Emmanuel Iyogun, 21 Sam Connor, 22 Lewis Evans, 23 Josh Lack.
15 Noah Heward (Solihull), 14 Charlie Gamble (Worcester Sixth Form College), 13 Rob Lester (Worcester Sixth Form College), 12 Paul Wells (Worcester Sixth Form College), 11 Ollie Gould (Worcester Sixth Form College), 10 Louis Jackson (KES Stratford), 9 Jake Leonard (Worcester Sixth Form College), 1 Tom Furnival (Worcester Sixth Form College), 2 Jamie White (Worcester Sixth Form College), 3 Max Baggs (Cheltenham College), 4 Tom Fawcett (Warwick), 5 Aaron Lawes (KES Five Ways), 6 Oli Thorneywork (Warwick), 7 Will Higgins (Idsall), 8 Morgan Monks (Worcester Sixth Form College).
Replacements: 16 Aaron Layton (Worcester Sixth Form College), 17 Lewis Holsey (Solihull), 18 Lewis Ballinger (Worcester Sixth Form College), 19 Tom Berry (RGS Worcester), 20 Ben Turner (Bromsgrove), 21 Tom Williams (Bromsgrove), 22 Josh Phipps (Hartpury College), 23 Lewis Maddox (Bromsgrove).
15 Ethan Hutt (Beechen Cliff), 14 Luke Mehson (Canford), 13 Will Butt (c) (Canford), 12 Max Ojomoh (KES, Bath), 11 Oran McNulty (Millfield), 10 Oli Hobman (Millfield), 9 Will Cook (Malborough College), 1 George Bamsey (Beechen Cliff), 2 Rory Murchison (Kingswood), 3 Jack Bertinet (KES, Bath), 4 Chris Moore (Beechen Cliff), 5 Tom Jeanes (Beechen Cliff), 6 Ayden Chenoweth (Beechen Cliff), 7 Henry Povoa (Millfield), 8 Nahum Merrigan (Beechen Cliff).
Replacements: 16 Jack Burnett (Millfield), 17 William Bailey (Sherborne), 18 Archie Griffin (Marlborough College), 19 Will Hendy (Beechen Cliff), 20 Lawrence Wort (KES, Bath), 21 Ben Mead (Beechen Cliff), 22 Miles Gilbert (Beechen Cliff), 23 Orlando Bailey (Thomas Hardye).
15 Reece Dunn, 14 Alex Morgan, 13 Jack Reeves, 12 Isaac Marsh, 11 Jake Morris, 10 George Barton, 9 Ewan Fenley, 1 Shay O’Malley, 2 Bertie Stretch, 3 Ollie Adkins, 4 Archie Tarbuck, 5 Joe Howard, 6 JJ Tonks, 7 Jack Clement, 8 Cam Terry.
Replacements: 16 Morgan Nelson, 17 Alex Hunt, 18 Jack Bartlett, 19 Jonny Holliday, 20 Bailey Watts, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 Louis Rees-Zammit, 23 Tom Stanton.
15 James Tucker, 14 Archie Hill, 13 Luke Flack, 12 Robbie Weeks, 11 Kian Atkinson, 10 Olly Toomey, 9 Sam Maunder (c), 1 Danny Southworth, 2 Will Ridout, 3 Alfie Petch, 4 Cory Teague, 5 Jake Clemson, 6 Flynn Edworthy, 7 Richard Capstick, 8 Rus Tuima.
Replacements: 16 Harvey Dunn, 17 Oliver Andrews, 18 Henry Trudgill, 19 Lewis Pearson, 20 Bryn Lee-Jago, 21 James Tait, 22 Barrie Karea, 23 Ollie Gibbon.
15 Jack Jesty, 14 Dan Stoller, 13 Ciaran McGann, 12 Reuben Knight, 11 Ben Harris, 10 Will Sinfield, 9 Sam Clough, 1 Luke Green, 2 Ben Atkins, 3 Jamie Henson, 4 Chunya Munga, 5 Lee Moore, 6 Ben Donnell, 7 Fin Rossiter, 8 Josh Smart.
Replacements: 16 Edward Cockman, 17 Ben Raho, 18 Jack Belcher, 19 Gwilym Bradley, 20 Toby Smith, 21 Gruffyd Williams, 22 Phillip Cokanasiga, 23 Ted Drayson.
S Riley (St George’s, Weybridge), J Morris (Whitgift), A Salomon (Whitgift), J Salomon (Whitgift), K Sassone (Sevenoaks), P Green (Seaford), H Tizard (Cranleigh), G Hammond (Whitgift), H Dugmore (Whitgift), S Davies (Cranleigh), J Glover (Harrow), D Cuthbert (City of London Freemans), J Kenningham (Reeds).
C Englefield (St Paul’s Catholic College), S Jardine (Dulwich College), L Smith (Brighton College), T Allen (Epsom College), J Potter (St John’s, Leatherhead), J Bourton (Hurstpierpoint College), L Anyanwu (Christ’s Hospital), H Barlow (Cranleigh), J Searle (Brighton), L Lynagh (Hampton).
Saracens – TBA