The U18 Academy League moves into round four this weekend, the midpoint of the U18 Academy League season.
There are just three rounds of action left following the completion of this weekend’s games, after which the top three sides from each conference will meet their counterparts at the U18 Academy League Finals on Sunday 16th February.
Northern Conference (All tables, team news, and fixtures/results at foot of page)
The Northern Conference action kicks off at 12.30pm on Saturday as Yorkshire Carnegie host Leicester Tigers at Yarnbury RFC. It is a huge game for Yorkshire Carnegie, whose first teams issues are well reported and who are yet to win in their opening two games in this competition. In Leicester Tigers they host the back to back champions, who have won all three of their games so far in the 2019/20 U18 Academy League, the only side to have done so. The Tigers side is full of huge names from schools rugby, including Rugby School’s England number 8 Ben Muncaster, and they are skippered by second row Bobby Singer. Oakham’s England flanker Kit Smith is on the bench, look out for the impact that he could make along with fellow England international Archie Vanes of Brooksby Melton College, who is also on the bench. Leicester Grammar School and England prop Jack Rowntree starts, as does Denstone College’s England flyer Ollie Smith, while they are without England pair Emeka Ilione and Robin Hardwick. Carnegie have plenty of quality themselves though, not least Woodhouse Grove pair Willem Johnson and Ned Hawker.
Sitting level on points in third and fourth in the conference are Worcester Warriors and Northampton Saints, and at 2pm on Saturday Saints will be hosting Worcester in a key game. Northampton have named England U18 fly half and Schools Cup semi finalist with Northampton School for Boys, Ethan Grayson, at inside centre, younger brother of first team star James, with Matt Arden at fly half. They have also opted for youth, including a number of U17s and one U16 player. Worcester, meanwhile, have named a side bursting with exciting young talent, led by Bromsgrove’s Seb Atkinson at inside centre with Warwick skipper Jack Forsythe at number 8, just two star names among many, including Forsythe’s Warwick teammate Fin Smith. The England U18 player starts at fly half.
Rounding off the Northern Conference action will be sixth placed Newcastle Falcons against second place Sale Sharks, kicking off at 2pm on Sunday at Kingston Park. Newcastle name England U18 stars Drew Thompson and Matthew Ward in their side, the Gosforth Academy start in the second row and on the left wing respectively, fellow U18 international Phil Brantingham is absent as he is playing a senior game for the Newcastle Falcons A side. Elsewhere there are some stars of the school season in the side, including Sedbergh fly half Louie Johnson. Sale Sharks went early with their selection and have once again named a terrific side. Four players recently called into the Scotland U18 setup are selected in the 23, Kirkham Grammar School’s Corey Bowker and Ollie Leatherbarrow are selected at tighthead and number 8 respectively, with Sedbergh’s Cameron Melville on the right wing and Murray Redpath covering the scrum half from the bench. Plenty of their Kirkham and Sedbergh schoolmates are in the squad too, among them Elliot Gourlay, Fraser Jones, and John Bailey, and England international Ethan Caine, who is joined by fellow England U18 international Ewan Murphy of Lymm High School and Myerscough College’s Joe Bedlow.
Southern Conference (All tables, team news, and fixtures/results at foot of page)
London Irish v Bath kicks off the Southern Conference action on Saturday, with Hazelwood the venue for the 1pm kick off. London Irish are currently top of the conference with Bath in third just three points behind, each with the same record of played three, won two, lost one. London Irish are captained by hooker Joe Vajner, with England and Millfield star Will Joseph at outside centre. Look out too for St Paul’s Catholic College’s Joe Keohane at tighthead. Wellington College have sizeable representation, with Lucas Brooke and Marcus Rhodes in the back row, Monty Bradbury at fly half, and Ireland U18 Clubs & Schools squad member Alessandro Heaney on the bench, while young Hampton pair Jesper Hartikainen and Rupert Reddish are on the bench. Bath include Millfield’s England U18 international Ewan Richards in their second row, with fellow international and Beechen Cliff star John Stewart at hooker. His schoolmate Orlando Bailey skippers the side from fly half, but they will be without fellow England U18 squad member Ethan Station this weekend.
The second game in the Southern Conference sees Harlequins host Exeter Chiefs in a live streamed game (see below) at Rosslyn Park FC, kicking off at 2.30pm. Harlequins are without Cranleigh and England number 8 Will Trenholm, but his school and international teammate Oscar Beard does start at outside centre. Fellow England U18 international Fin Baxter, who captained England in the summer and Wellington College throughout their brilliant campaign this season, is at tighthead. Baxter is joined by a number of his schoolmates, including Cassius Cleaves on the left wing, and Ted Johnson at number 8. Hampton’s Jamie Benson will steer the ship from fly half. Exeter Chiefs are yet to name their side.
Sunday sees the final game of the conference for Round 4 take pace as Saracens host Bristol Bears at Allianz Park in a 1pm kick off. Saracens are currently in second place, just two points behind London Irish, with Bristol lie in fifth having won one and lost one of their two games. Saracens have selected England U18 star Sam Bryan, the Felsted man is at scrum half and will link with fellow England U18 and Berkhamsted number 8 Toby Knight. Sutton Valence’s Brandon Jackson is also part of the England U18 set up and will start at outside centre. Bristol Bears meanwhile are captained by blindside Jamie Collier, who packs down behind SGS Filton College’s England second row, Charlie Rice. In the backline Rice’s school and International teammate, Deago Bailey, will be a real threat on the right wing.
With just three rounds left after this ahead of finals day, it is a key time as those towards the top look to create a bit of separation between them and the chasing pack. More important though, it is simply another fantastic chance to see the stars of the future strutting their stuff on the big stage.
Please do get in touch with your stories, photos, videos, reports, and opinions from the week’s U18 Academy League rugby! You can get in touch via any of the below methods:
U18 Academy League Round 4 Fixtures – Saturday/Sunday 11th/12th January:
Yorkshire Carnegie v Leicester Tigers – Sat 11th Jan, 12.30pm, Yarnbury RFC
Northampton Saints v Worcester – Sat 11th Jan, 2pm, Franklin’s Gardens
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks – Sun 12th Jan, 2pm, Kingston Park
London Irish v Bath – Sat 11th Jan, 1pm, Hazelwood
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs – Sat 11th Jan, 2.30pm, Rosslyn Park FC
Saracens v Bristol Bears – Sun 12th Jan, 1pm, Allianz Park
U18 Academy League Tables:
15 Willem Johnson, 14 Amrit Sharma, 13 Obi Ene, 12 Joe Mounsey, 11 Finlay Stewart, 10 Olly Fisher, 9 Tom Parkin, 1 Ned Hawker, 2 David Moores, 3 Oscar Stott, 4 Harry Gilson-Fox, 5 Olly Tomalin, 6 Toby Boyce, 7 Ben Copley, 8 George Bennett-Teare.
Replacements: 16 Zsolt Patacky-Snell, 17 Billy Addy, 18 Ed Hasdell, 19 Felix Lorimer, 20 Kobby Fofie, 21 Will Metcalfe, 22 Will Barratt, 23 Benedict Quinn.
15 Ollie Smith, 14 Josh Lugsden, 13 Cormac Calnan, 12 Matt Potts, 11 Jake Sterland, 10 Jack Vernum, 9 Harrison Casey, 1 Seb Smith, 2 Joe Plunkett, 3 Jack Rowntree, 4 Bobby Singer (c), 5 Phil Tandoh, 6 Jordan Tebbatt, 7 Noah Leo, 8 Ben Muncaster.
Replacements: 16 Archie Vanes, 17 Lynx Noumey, 18 Tim Hoyt, 19 Jay Ecclesfield, 20 Kit Smith, 21 Sam Edwards, 22 Henry Joule, 23 Danny Meredith.
15 Egan Brosnan, 14 Louis Martin, 13 Tom Litchfield, 12 Ethan Grayson, 11 Dani Long-Martinez, 10 Matt Arden, 9 Jake Garside, 1 Josh Cilia, 2 Callum Burns, 3 Jake Bridges, 4 Tom Charter, 5 Emeka Atuanya, 6 Tom Heslop, 7 James Chalk, 8 Geordie Irvine.
Replacements: 16 Finn McCartney, 17 Aston Gradwick-Light, 18 Olly Frostick, 19 Tom Lockett, 20 Lochlan Brown, 21 Brad Crane, 22 Josh Bull, 23 Jed Jenkins.
15 Fin Morgan, 14 Alex Evans, 13 Harry Spencer, 12 Seb Atkinson (c), 11 Tobi Wilson, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Tom Miles, 1 Ben Murphy, 2 Joe Richardson, 3 Ben Rowley, 4 Imosei Ogwemoh, 5 Adam Lane, 6 Ewan Guy, 7 Fin Thomas, 8 Jack Forsythe.
Replacements: 16 Jon Lilley, 17 Mitch Reeves, 18 Charlie Hagen, 19 Jack Lewis, 20 Ollie Wynn, 21 Flynn Vries, 22 Isaac Wilding.
15 Jamie Diamond, 14 Evan Lawther, 13 Thomas Moore, 12 Ewan Greenlaw, 11 Matty Ward, 10 Louie Johnson, 9 James Blackett, 1 Mark Dormer, 2 Toby Peach, 3 Drew Thompson, 4 Adam Scott, 5 Louis Peacock, 6 Ben Robson, 7 Guy Pepper, 8 Owen Vassallo.
Replacements: 16 Owen Chaplain, 17 Ollie Fletcher, 18 Matty Siddle, 19 Henry Schmid, 20 Rhys Tait, 21 Ben Douglas, 22 Tom Robinson, 23 Michael Graham.
15 Elliot Gourlay, 14 Cameron Melville, 13 Roma Zheng, 12 Joe Bedlow, 11 Fraser Jones, 10 Patrick Bishop, 9 Nye Thomas, 1 Tumy Onasanya, 2 Ethan Caine, 3 Corey Bowker, 4 Nonso Agina, 5 Ewan Murphy, 6 Alastair Merrill, 7 John Bailey, 8 Ollie Leatherbarrow.
Replacements: 16 Daniel Cooper, 17 Harris Fishwick, 18 Louis Fletcher, 19 Max Jackson, 20 Alfie Clark, 21 Murray Redpath, 22 Sam Carleton, 23 Archie Kellett.
15 Ben Fitzgerald, 14 Finlay Brown, 13 Will Joseph, 12 Niall McGann, 11 Henry Arundell, 10 Monty Bradbury, 9 Rory Morgan, 1 Mikey Summerfield, 2 Joe Vajner (c), 3 Joe Keohane, 4 Josh Taylor, 5 Sam Harding, 6 Lucas Brooke, 7 George Davis, 8 Marcus Rhodes.
Replacements: 16 Rupert Reddish, 17 Alessandro Heaney, 18 Ethan Pawadyira, 19 Edwin Zaimovic, 20 Michael Mason, 21 Dan Ormond, 22 Alex Young, 23 Jesper Hartikainen.
15 Ethan Morgan, 14 Nat Arnold, 13 Bradley Law, 12 Ethan Hawtin, 11 Felix Connolly, 10 Orlando Bailey (c), 9 Tom Carr-Smith, 1 Archie Stanley, 2 John Stewart, 3 Archie Alexander, 4 Henry Blake, 5 Ewan Richards, 6 Tom Cowan, 7 Tom Ahl, 8 Frankie Read.
Replacements: 16 Tom Williams, 17 Blaize Sumbler, 18 Christian Freeman, 19 Josh Dingley, 20 Theo Irving, 21 Freddie Charles, 22 Will Fitz-Gerald, 23 Kofi Barton-Byfield.
15 Slevin, 14 Ojo, 13 Beard, 12 Bradley, 11 Cleaves, 10 Benson, 9 Bailey, 1 Hobson, 2 Staples, 3 Baxter, 4 Powell, 5 Corbett, 6 Croy, 7 Alikhan, 8 Johnson.
Replacements: 16 Wilding, 17 Ofori-Manteaw, 18 Timpson, 19 Preen, 20 Potter, 21 Tubler, 22 Jeavons.
Exeter Chiefs – TBA
15 Tobias Elliott, 14 Tom Mills, 13 Brandon Jackson, 12 Jasper Sorrell, 11 Wilson Ijeh, 10 Alex Cahill, 9 Sam Bryan, 1 Tristan Smith, 2 Samson Adejimi, 3 Christiaan Cavalli-Warby, 4 Alex Wardell, 5 Toby Ponsford, 6 Harvey Smith, 7 Nathan Bispham, 8 Toby Knight.
Replacements: 16 Charlie Galligan, 17 Alfie Goater, 18 Zack Hill, 19 Kaden Pearce Paul, 20 Obinna Nkwocha, 21 Charles Favell, 22 Marcus Marchant, 23 Francis Moore. Travelling reserves: Nathan Michelow, James Biss, Ollie Webb.
15 Chay Mullins, 14 Deago Bailey, 13 Harry Rowson, 12 Dylan Power, 11 Ollie Holiday, 10 Tom Wilstead, 9 Cal Smith, 1 Andrew Turner, 2 Jalen Curry, 3 Aaron Thompson, 4 George Taylor, 5 Charlie Rice, 6 Jamie Collier (c), 7 Mason Hughes, 8 Fergus Dick.
Replacements: 16 Tomas Gwilliam, 17 Tom Sims, 18 George Perry, 19 Spike Brain Jangen, 20 Soloman Taufua, 21 Angus Judkins, 22 Jack Lloyd, 23 Benjy Joseland.
U18 Academy League Results:
Leicester Tigers 25-12 Northampton Saints
Wasps 54-12 Yorkshire Carnegie
Sale Sharks 22-20 Worcester Warriors
Saracens 31-19 Exeter Chiefs
Bristol Bears 18-17 Bath
Gloucester 10-22 London Irish
Newcastle Falcons 42-24 Wasps
Yorkshire Carnegie 28-50 Northampton Saints
Sale Sharks 18-27 Leicester Tigers
Gloucester 36-25 Bristol Bears
London Irish 41-31 Harlequins
Bath 26-14 Saracens
Worcester Warriors 33-21 Wasps
Leicester Tigers 19-0 Newcastle Falcons
Northampton Saints 24-37 Sale Sharks
Harlequins 41-15 Gloucester
London Irish 28-34 Saracens
Exeter Chiefs 7-22 Bath
U18 Academy League Fixtures
Northampton Saints v Wasps – Sat 18th Jan, 1.30pm, Franklin’s Gardens
Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons – Sun 19th Jan, 2pm, Sixways
Sale Sharks v Yorkshire Carnegie – Sun 19th Jan, 2.30pm, Manchester Met Uni
Bath v Harlequins – Sat 18th Jan, TBA, TBA
Bristol Bears v London Irish – Sat 18th Jan, 11.30am, Shaftesbury Park
Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs – Sat 18th Jan, 1.30pm, Newlands Park
Yorkshire Carnegie v Newcastle Falcons – Sat 25th Jan, TBA, TBA
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors – Sat 25th Jan, 12pm, Oval Park
Wasps v Sale Sharks – Sat 25th Jan, 1pm, Ricoh Arena
Bristol Bears v Harlequins – Sat 25th Jan, 1pm, Combination Ground
Saracens v Gloucester – Sat 25th Jan, 1pm, Allianz Park
Exeter Chiefs v London Irish – Sat 25th Jan, 2pm, Truro College
Wasps v Leicester Tigers – Sat 8th Feb, 1pm, Aylesbury RFC
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints – Sat 8th Feb, 2pm, Kingston Park
Worcester Warriors v Yorkshire Carnegie – Sat 8th Feb, 2pm, Sixways
Harlequins v Saracens – Sat 8th Feb, 1.30pm, Surrey Sports Park
Bath v Gloucester – Sat 8th Feb, 2pm, Millfield School
Exeter Chiefs v Bristol Bears – Sat 8th Feb, 2pm, Truro College
Finals Day – Sunday 16th February