The Aviva Premiership â€˜A Leagueâ€™ is often overlooked but last night it was a pleasure to hear the reports coming in from across the country.
Dozens of the stars of last yearâ€™s school rugby season were scattered across the teams, showing both the strength of schoolboy rugby and the success of last seasonâ€™s Under 18 Premiership as a stepping-stone to full club success.
It was particularly pleasing to see ten of our â€˜2012/13 School All Starsâ€™ playing.
RGS Newcastleâ€™s flyer Tom Penny started on the wing for Newcastle against a Sale side who featured Kingâ€™s Macclesfieldâ€™s former second/back row Jonny Kenny.
Worcester included both George De Cothi and Andew Boyce, Boyce incidentally will soon be representing England 7s, however they were powerless to prevent Gloucester from steaming away to a 34-3 victory.
Bath included four All Stars in their 36-16 defeat of Wasps, Millfieldâ€™s Tom Ellis, and Bryanston trio Charlie Ewels, Tom Woolstencroft and Rory Jennings. Max Clark, Max Northcote Green, Will Skuse and Marcus Beer made it a real night to remember for the famous schools of the West Country as Bath showed a clear determination to use their academy, which relies on schools such as Bryanston and Millfield heavily as it does not have a direct AASE affiliation.
Maro Itoje featured at blindside flanker for Saracens as they beat Exeter Chiefs 39-30 in a thriller, while James Chisholm was on the bench for Harlequins against London Irish.
Of course it was not just our All Stars that featured though, there were plenty of other stars from the school scene around.
Stuart Townsend, Nathan Earle, Hayden Stringer, Billy Burns, Jonny Hill, Lewis Ludlow and Howard Packman from the AASE Leagues all featured for the likes of Saracens, Gloucester and Northampton.
Worcester also included Sam Smith and Huw Taylor of Old Swinford Hospital, while Northampton had two of our favourite players from last season, Harry Betts and Sam Olver, in their squads.
Tom Howe and Louis Clayton Molloy both featured for Wasps, while John Fisher had two players involved for Harlequins, Dom McGeekie and Keiran Treadwell.
There were plenty more of last years stars in action too, just proving how exciting the A League could be this year for those who took an interest in school rugby last year, our personal favourite moment was seeing Bryanstonâ€™s star centre of 2012/13, Max Clark, lining up alongside Gavin Henson for Bath â€“ demonstrating just how fast progress can be from school to star!
Aviva Premiership A League Results & Squads:
Newcastle 26-18 Sale
Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Sean Brown, 13 Tane Tuâ€™ipulotu, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Tom Penny, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Warren Fury, 1 Gary Strain, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Scott Wilson, 4 Will Witty, 5 Sean Tomes, 6 Harrison Collins, 7 Mark Wilson, 8 Chris York (c).
Replacements: David Nelson, 17 James Hallam, 18 Trevor Davison, 19 Josh Hedley, 20 Ollie Hodgson, 21 Chris Pilgrim, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Chris Harris
Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Charlie Ingall, 13 Mike Haley, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Tom Brady, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Nathan Fowles, 1 Aston Croall, 2 Cameron Neild, 3 George Hymes, 4 Tom Holmes, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 6 Mark Easter, 7 Andy Hughes, 8 Josh Beaumont
Replacements: 16 James Flynn, 17 Joe Jones, 18 Matt Lowes, 19 Ben Gledhill, 20 Jonny Kenny, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Jon Oâ€™Donnell, 23 Tim Jeffers
Gloucester 34-3 Worcester
Gloucester: Martyn Thomas; Luke Hume, Tim Molenaar, Ryan Mills, Drew Cheshire; Jonny Bentley, Jimmy Cowan; James Gibbons, Nathan Taylor (Hartpury RFC), Tom Heard; Will James, Tom Hicks; Matt Cox, Lewis Ludlow, Gareth Evans Â Replacements: Jimmy Litchfield (Hartpury RFC), AN Other, Des Murrey (Hartpury RFC), Jonny Hill, George Mills (Cinderford), Reece Boughton, Billy Burns, Steph Reynolds
Worcester: 1 Ofa Fainga’anukuâ€¨2 Chris Brookerâ€¨3 Euan Murrayâ€¨4 Matt Spinkâ€¨5 Harry Cassonâ€¨6 Gerrie Marreâ€¨7 Andrew Boyceâ€¨8 Huw Taylorâ€¨9 Jonny Arrâ€¨10 Elliott Daviesâ€¨11 James Stephensonâ€¨12 Max Stellingâ€¨13 Dean Hammondâ€¨14 Tom Chapmanâ€¨15 Ben Howard
Replacements: 16 Scotty Wrightâ€¨17 Jack Cosgroveâ€¨18 Rob O’Donnellâ€¨19 Gareth Turnerâ€¨20 Sam Smithâ€¨21 James Youngâ€¨22 George De Cothiâ€¨23 Aquele Smith
Leicester 15-23 Northampton
Leicester: 15 Perry Humphreys 14 George Catchpole 13 Terrence Hepetema 12 Pasqualle Dunn 11 Henry Purdy 10 Sam Harrison 9 George Tresidder 1 Tom Bristow 2 George Chuter 3 Jerome Schuster 4 Tom Price 5 Sebastian de Chaves 6 Harry Wells 7 Jamie Gibson 8 Michael Noone
Replacements: 16 Jake Farnworthâ€¨17 Riccardo Brugnaraâ€¨18 Tiziano Pasqualiâ€¨19 Joe Cainâ€¨20 Lucas Guillaumeâ€¨21 George Princeâ€¨22 Peter Osbourneâ€¨23 David Williams
Northampton: 15 Vasily Artemyevâ€¨14 Tom Collinsâ€¨13 Paul Digginâ€¨12 Tom Stephensonâ€¨11 Howard Packmanâ€¨10 Sam Olver 9 Ryan Glynnâ€¨1 Ethan Wallerâ€¨2 Ross McMillanâ€¨3 Salesi Maâ€™afuâ€¨4 James Craigâ€¨5 Rob Verbakelâ€¨6 Sam Harryâ€¨7 Ben Nutleyâ€¨8 GJ Van Velze.
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall 17 Tom Warren 18 Adam Parkins 19 Alex Woolford 20 Harry Betts 21 Alex Day 22 Glenn Dickson 23 Josh Skelcey
Bath 36-16 Wasps
Bath: 15. Ludi Hopkinson 14. Marcus Beer 13. Max Clark 12. Gavin Henson 11. Tom Biggs 10. Tom Heathcote 9. Chris Cook 1. Charlie BeechÂ 2. Tom DunnÂ 3. Kane Palma-Newport 4. Will Spencer 5. Charlie Ewels 6. Tom Ellis 7. Will Skuse 8. Alafoti Fa’osiliva
Replacements: 16. Tom Woolstencroft 17. Adam JamiesonÂ Â 18. Greg PalmerÂ 19. Freddie ClarkeÂ Â Â 20. Max Northcote-Green 21. Rory JenningsÂ Â 22. Will HomerÂ Â 23. George Trick
Wasps: 15.Liam O’Neill , 14.Tom Howe , 13.Alex Harrison , 12.Tommy Bell , 11.Josh Bassett , 10.Joe Carlisle , 9.Jack Moates, 1.Billy Moss 2.Carlo Festuccia , 3.Taione Vea , 4.Esteban Lozada . 5.James Cannon , 6.Nathan Hughes , 7.Matt Everard (C) , 8. Rory Pitman
Replacements: 16.Kevin Davis, 17.Jamie Kilbane, 18.Harry Williams, 19.Ben West, 20.Gus Jones 21.Callum Grant 22.Gus Patterson 23.Louis Clayton-Molloy
Exeter 30-39 Saracens
Exeter: 15 Jack Arnott 14 Fetuâ€™u Vainikolo 13 Heath Stevens 12 Sam Hill 11 Sam Blanchet 10 Ceri Sweeney (capt) 9 Will Chudley 1 Craig Mitchell 2 Alex Spurdle 3 Alex Brown 4 Will Carrick-Smith 5 James Phillips 6 Justin Blanchet 7 Joel Conlon 8 Kai Horstmann
Replacements: 16 Jack Innard 17 Kieran Davies 18 Dan Pullinger 19 Rob Langley 20 Todd Lowry 21 Stu Townsend 22 Jamie Forrester 23 Alex Ross
Saracens: 1.Barington, 2.Saunders, 3.Johnston, 4.Botha, 5.Kruis, 6.Itoje, 7.Hankin, 8.Melck,Â 9. Spencer, 10. Mordt (c),Â 11. Earle, 12. Tavita,Â 13. Stanely, 14. Wilson, 15. Ransom.
Replacements: 16. Spurling, 17. Auterac, 18 Alo, 19. Chambers, 20. Stringer, 21. Baldwin, 22. Moses, 23. Kingsman
Harlequins 51-17 London Irish
Harlequins: 15. Charlie Walker 14. Harry Sloan 13. Matt Hopper 12. Tom Casson 11. Sam Smith 10. Ben Botica 9. Jordan Burns 1. Darryl Marfo 2. Dave Ward (C) 3. Kyle Sinckler 4. Dom McGeekie 5. Sam Twomey 6. Joe Trayfoot 7. Maurie Fa’asavalu 8. Jack Clifford
Replacements: 16. Harry Allen 17. Nick Mayhew 18. Paul Doran Jones 19. Kieran Treadwell 20. James Chisholm 21. Sam Stuart 22. Louis Grimoldby 23. Joe Marchant.
London Irish: 1. Jonny Harris; 2. Gerard Ellis; 3. Richard Palframan; 4. Charlie Davey; 5. Jebb Sinclair (Captain); 6. Scott Moore; 7. Ben Lonergan; 8. Sean O’Connell; 9. Tom Bliss; 10. Myles Dorian; 11. Georges Berthoneau; 12. Mitch Tamiau; 13. Ian Cross; 14. Alex Lewington; 15. Fergus Mulchrone
Replacements: 16. Scott Tolmie; 17. Tom Smallbone; 18. Ryan Wilkie; 19. Theo Vukasinovic ; 20. Max Berry; 21. Ed Hoadley; 22. Shane Geraghty; 23. Harry Lightfoot-Brown