The U18 Academy League passed the halfway mark this weekend with the fourth round of games as the fourteen sides chase places at Finals Day on Sunday 16th February.
The top three sides from each conference will face their counterpart from the other conference at finals day, with the winner of the top of the table clash being crowned the 2019/20 U18 Academy League champions.
Leicester Tigers have won the last two titles, and they are in prime position for another as they made it four wins from four on Saturday with a 28-17 victory at Yorkshire Carnegie. The victory keeps them as the only side in either conference with an unbeaten record and currently sees them seven points clear at the top of the Northern Conference, though Worcester Warriors do have a game in hand with which to narrow the gap somewhat.
Worcester themselves were also in the winners circle on Saturday as they secured an impressive 36-19 victory away to Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens, the victory moving them into second whilst holding that game in hand, and leaving Northampton, who have played in all four rounds, in fifth place, a point ahead of Wasps and five clear of Yorkshire Carnegie, whose sole point was a try-scoring bonus in defeat to Saints.
The Northern Conference finished up on Sunday with a clash at Kingston Park between Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks, two sides that in recent times have seen their players selected for the England U18 and U20 sides in droves. A cracking contest broke out, with both sides having their chances to take the game, but it was Newcastle that sealed it 29-22, moving them into third place in the table, level with Sale themselves in fourth, but having played a game fewer than their defeated opponents.
London Irish continue to be the pace-setters in the Southern Conference after their 29-17 victory over Bath saw them keep their two points lead at the top over Saracens. The young Exiles have won three of their four games, like Saracens, but have also collected an impressive five bonus points in the process. Bath, meanwhile, are in fourth, just a point off Harlequins in the final Finals Day place.
Harlequins themselves were in action in a live streamed game at Rosslyn Park FC as they played host to bottom of the table Exeter Chiefs. The young Quins put in a strong shift for a 21-12 victory over the South West side, including a blistering score from Wellington College winger Cassius Cleaves. The victory leaves them in third, five points behind Saracens but with a game in hand.
Saracens were not in action until Sunday, when the hosted Bristol Bears, so at kick off they were level with Harlequins and seven points behind London Irish. They put in a storming effort though, sealing a 29-12 victory against a determined Bristol Bears side to move within two points of top spot. Bristol meanwhile remain in sixth, five points clear of Exeter and level with Gloucester.
This weekend sees the league move into Round 5 and in the Northern Conference it is a chance for the chasing pack to close in on Leicester Tigers, who have a bye. Northampton Saints host Wasps and Sale Sharks welcome Yorkshire Carnegie, but in terms of challenging the top, the 2nd v 3rd clash of Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons at 2pm on Sunday at Sixways looks key.
Over in the Southern Conference Bath are hosting Harlequins and Bristol Bears welcome top of the table London Irish. Perhaps the key will be Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs though, where a Chiefs victory would see the bottom of the table become very congested, while victory for Gloucester would keep them right in the mix for a Finals Day spot.
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U18 Academy League Round 4 Results:
Yorkshire Carnegie 17-28 Leicester Tigers
Northampton Saints 19-36 Worcester
Newcastle Falcons 29-22 Sale Sharks
London Irish 29-17 Bath
Harlequins 21-12 Exeter Chiefs
Saracens 29-12 Bristol Bears
U18 Academy League Tables:
Images via Robert Smith
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.
15 Frankie Nowell, 14 Kian Gentry, 13 Archie Hill, 12 Charlie McCaig, 11 Billy Orchard, 10 Jack Carden, 9 Tom Cairns, 1 Ethan Pearce-Cowley, 2 Harry Hocking, 3 Harry Wilkinson, 4 Milo Hallam, 5 Christ Tshiunza, 6 Joe Elsworth, 7 Jake Bond, 8 Ben Grubb.
Replacements: 16 Oli Jeffery, 17 Nathan Karea, 18 Bailey Williams, 19 Sam Leworthy, 20 Jermaine Ellis-Brookes, 21 Josh Pilkington, 22 William Becconsall, 23 Jason Capaldi.
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