The U18 Academy League begins this weekend with three fixtures, with the rest of the round taking place next week.
The League is made up of two conferences of seven, north and south, with the twelve Aviva Premiership sides all represented as well as Bristol and Yorkshire Carnegie from the Greene King IPA Championship.
Each side will play the others in their conference once ahead of the U18 Academy League finals, which will see the top three from the North face their counterparts in the South.
Last year Harlequins were the champions, beating Sale Sharks 20-8 in the final, with the likes of Marcus Smith, Jake Hennessey, and Cadan Murley starring. Exeter Chiefs picked up third place, winning a thrilling 3rd place play of against Wasps 29-28, while Worcester Warriors won the 5th place play off at their own stadium, beating Saracens 36-26.
It is Saracens that kick off the U18 Academy League this year, they host Gloucester at Allianz Park of Friday night (7pm kick off) in the only Southern Conference game of the weekend.
Both have picked exciting sides, Saracens include one of the stars of Dulwich College’s Champions Trophy success, Max Bliss, at full back along with three players each from New Hall, Tonbridge, and Felsted.
Gloucester meanwhile rely heavily on that Hartpury College side that won their eighth AASE title in such style last week. Among the side are Jack Stanton, who skippers the side and is an A League fixture, and Reece Dunn at full back who has already represented the 1st XV in the Anglo-Welsh Cup this season.
Saturday sees two games, both in the Northern Conference. Worcester Warriors v Wasps kicks us off at 1pm at Sixways.
Worcester’s AASE side, Worcester 6th form College are the main providers for their side with seven players in the 23, but the likes of Bromsgrove, Warwick, and King’s Worcester are all major providers. Warwick’s Oli Thorneywork and Tam Fawcett being a pair to keep an eye on in the back from.
Wasps are captained by Alfie Barbeary, a star in the hooker position who last year broke the try scoring record for Bloxham School. A staggering achievement for a young hooker. He will lead from the front, with Mortimer at scrum half his vice captain, and Henley College’s Bacon at full back, one of six Henley College players in the starting fifteen.
The 2pm kick off sees Yorkshire Carnegie host Newcastle Falcons at West Park Leeds. Yorkshire Carnegie are led by Pocklington loosehead Ben Carlile, while Joe Green will act as vice captain from scrum half. He is one of four Woodhouse Grove players in the starting fifteen, along with another three on the bench.
Newcastle Falcons have turned to their Gosforth Academy AASE side that reached the final of the AASE League, with 9 of that squad in their 23. One to keep an eye on in particular is Morgan Passman on the right wing, a real threat with the ball in hand.
The first round of games is completed of the 20th, 21st, and 22nd December, with Bristol host Bath and Harlequins travelling to London Irish in the South, while in the North Leicester Tigers will entertain Northampton Saints.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
U18 Academy League Round 1 Fixtures:
Saracens v Gloucester – 7pm, Allianz Park
Worcester Warriors v Wasps – 1pm, Sixways
Yorkshire Carnegie v Newcastle Falcons – 2pm, West Park
15 Max Bliss (Dulwich College), 14 David Jimoh-Ibrahim (New Hall), 13 Ade Lipede (Whitgift), 12 Josh Hallet (New Hall), 11 Jake Morris (Bishop Stortford College), 10 Josh Barton (Berkhamsted), 9 Matteo Petrozzi (Tonbridge), 1Samuel Crean (Harrow), 2 Theodore Dan (Alleyn’s), 3 Harry Sturge (Felsted), 4 Jonathon Kpoku (Oaklands College), 5 Cameron Boon (Bishop Stortford College), 6 Ethan Benson (Hayes), 7 Dylan Taylor (Tonbridge), 8 Alfie Scopes (Judd).
Replacements: 16 Kapeli Pifeleti (Haileybury), 17 Tom Harris (Tonbridge), 18 Edward Thompson (Eltham College), 19 Oliver Stonham (Felsted), 20 Kyle Douglas (Haileybury), 21 Connor Dudley (Hitchin Boys), 22 Oliver Bluck (New Hall), 23 Thomas Hitchcock (Felsted).
15 Reece Dunn, 14 Alex Morgan, 13 James Davies, 12 Jake Reeves, 11 Tom Stanton (c), 10 Isaac Marsh, 9 Steve Varney, 1 Shay O’Malley, 2 Bertie Stretch, 3 Jack Bartlett, 4 Archie Tarbuck, 5 Joe Howard, 6 JJ Tonks, 7 Bailey Watts, 8 Cameron Terry.
Replacements: 16 Alex Hunt, 17 Morgan Nelson, 18 Ollie Adkins, 19 Jack Clement, 20 Dec Fissenden, 21 Brad Morgan, 22 George Barton, 23 Josh Pimlott.
15 Jake Leonard (Worcester Sixth Form College), 14 Charlie Gamble (Worcester Sixth Form College), 13 Alex Bartley (Solihull), 12 Paul Wells (Worcester Sixth Form College), 11 Dan Ward (Cheltenham College), 10 Louis Jackson (KES Stratford), 9 Tom Williams (Bromsgrove), 1 Lewis Holsey (Solihull), 2 Jamie White (Worcester Sixth Form College), 3 Max Baggs (Cheltenham College), 4 Owien Harriott-Davis (King’s Worcester), 5 Tom Berry (RGS Worcester), 6 George Bates (King’s Worcester), 7 Oli Thorneywork (Warwick), 8 Tom Fawcett (Warwick).
Replacements: 16 Aaron Layton (Worcester Sixth Form College), 17 Tom Furnival (Worcester Sixth Form College), 18 Lewis Ballinger (Worcester Sixth Form College), 19 Morgan French (Bromsgrove), 20 Ben Turner (Bromsgrove), 21 Tom Matthews (RGS Worcester), 22 Josh Phipps (Hartpury College), 23 Callum Bobath (KES Stratford).
15 Bacon (The Henley College), 14 Atta (Stowe), 13 O’Sullivan (The Henley College), 12 Weatherall (Dr Chanlors), 11 Hamilton (The Henley College), 10 Pietersen (Magdalen College), 9 Mortimer (Warwick) (vc), 1 Harris (The Henley College), 2 Barbeary (c) (Bloxham), 3 Cordice (The Henley College), 4 Kelley (Warwick), 5 Ademuwagun (Harrow), 6 Pill (The Henley College), 7 Stoker (King Henry’s), 8 Mawdsley (Radley College).
Replacements: 16 Nearchou, 17 Pleasants, 18 Roche, 19 Sayer, 20 Jakobsen, 21 Chilcott, 22 Robinson, 23 Phillips.
Travelling Reserve: Atkinson
15 Joe Carpenter (Woodhouse Grove), 14 Joe Gatus (QEGS Wakefield), 13 Andre Robson (Durham), 12 Kieran Wilyman (Woodhouse Grove), 11 Jack Bodman (Hill House), 10 Dan Lancaster (Bishop Burton College), 9 Joe Green (vc) (Woodhouse Grove), 1 Ben Carlile (c) (Pocklington), 2 Adam Brown (St Peter’s, York), 3 Blly Nicholls (Benton Park), 4 Tor Borrowdale (Tapton), 5 Matt Burke (Woodhouse Grove), 6 Archie Smeaton (Hymers College), 7 Edan Kelly (QEGS Wakefield), 8 Ted Wainwright (Ripon GS).
Replacements: 16 Ryan Gibson (Woodhouse Grove), 17 Conner Hancock (Bishop Burton College), 18 Will Robinson (Woodhouse Grove), 19 Adam Hopkinson (Silcaotes), 20 Chris Jackson (Woodhouse Grove), 21 Kai Ramratten (Mount St Mary’s), 22 Tom Stephenson (QEGS Wakefield), 23 Jack Kennell (Queen Ethelburga’s).
Matchday Reserves: Harry Williams (Bishop Burton College), Kian Stewart (Rishworth).
15 Josh Hodge, 14 Morgan Passman, 13 Nathan Henderson, 12 Jack Peter, 11 Harry Jackson, 10 Callum Pascoe, 9 Andrew Miller, 1 Alistair Blackett, 2 Joe Lashley, 3 Oscar Caudle, 4 Ethan Clarke, 5 Will Montgomery, 6 Rob Farrar, 7 Harry Hill, 8 Tom Marshall.
Replacements: 16 Phil Brantingham, 17 Will Elliott, 18 Freddy Lockwood, 19 Eddy Anderson, 20 Mason Lethwaite, 21 Matthew Price, 22 Will Roberts, 23 Johnny Critchton.