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Final week of the U18 Premiership is here, but the big showdown is postponed

The final round of the Under 18 Premiership is this weekend, and it was all set to be a cracker.

Unfortunately, due to waterlogged pitches, the main event of the weekend, Northampton Saints v Gloucester, has been cancelled.

The two were set to do battle for top spot in the Northern Conference, with the winner topping the North and setting up a final against the champions of the South, Exeter Chiefs, at Allianz park on the National Academy league Finals day on Monday the 17th February.

However despite the disappointment in that game not being able to go ahead there is still plenty to be excited about, with a couple of matches being played in front of packed crowds at their 1st XV stadiums.

Sale and Leeds get the weekend underway at 5pm this evening at the Salford City stadium, ahead of the Sale v Gloucester Aviva Premiership game earlier in the evening. Neither side has much more than pride to play for, with both securely out of the top three but also securely safe from finishing bottom. However this is the Academy league, so while in terms of League position there might be little to play for, in terms of a future career in the game there is everything to play for.

Leicester can put real pressure on Northampton and Gloucester when the reschedule their game if they can gain a bonus point victory over Newcastle Falcons tomorrow lunchtime.

On the surface of it, that should be very possible too, as Newcastle currently sit bottom of the division, with only losing bonus points to their name. Should Tigers get the bonus point they will sit at the top of the division, meaning that if Saints and Gloucester draw, assuming that they rearrange, then Tigers will be the Northern Champions.

Moving South, Exeter Chiefs have a chance to further assert their dominance on the rest of the Southern Division when they host London Irish at 1pm on Saturday. If they win that game then they will finish the league season unbeaten, something that only Gloucester are currently also able to claim.

One game that is absolutely guaranteed to go ahead is Bath v London Wasps. It will be played on Filton College’s 4G pitch meaning that it will be unaffected by the weather – as good an argument for the installation of artificial surfaces as anyone can possibly need.

Bath currently sit securely is mid table and that will remain the case regardless of results this weekend, give or take a position. However London Wasps are bottom of the division and will be utterly determined to ensure that that will not be the case by the close of play. Bath have motivation of their own though, with their 1st XV flying so high, the youngsters will be keen to prove themselves and demonstrate to the 1st team bosses that they have all the talent that they need on hand and ready to go next season.

The weekend is rounded off by a cracking clash between Harlequins and Saracens. The game will be played at the Twickenham Stoop at the culmination of the Harlequins v London Wasps Aviva Premiership game, and as such should retain an excellent and passionate home crowd. Quins have the added motivation of hoping to finish second in the league and setting up a tie against the runner up in the North at Allianz Park on the 17th.

The headline act of the weekend’s U18 Aviva Premiership might have been lost, but that is not to say that there are no further intriguing sub plots, and with a couple of games being played in front of Premiership crowds, it should be a finale to remember.

The National Academy League Finals Day is on Monday, February 17th, at Allianz Park.

Who do you think has been the best side in the U18 Premiership this season? Let us know via the comment box below, or via @FifteenRugbyXV

Fixtures:

Friday 17.00 Sale 5-26 Leeds

Saturday 12.00 Leicester v Newcastle

Saturday 12.00 Northampton v Gloucester – CANCELLED

Saturday 13.00 Exeter v London Irish

Saturday 14.00 Bath v Wasps

Sunday 15.30 Harlequins v Saracens

Tables:

U18 Premiership Northern Conference

Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

BP

Points

1

Northampton Saints

5

4

0

1

6

22

2

Gloucester

5

5

0

0

1

21

3

Leicester Tigers

5

4

0

1

4

20

4

Leeds Carnegie

6

3

0

3

3

15

5

Sale Sharks

6

1

1

4

1

7

6

Worcester Warriors

6

1

1

4

0

6

7

Newcastle Falcons

5

0

0

4

3

3

U18 Premiership Southern Conference

Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

BP

Points

1

Exeter Chiefs

5

5

0

0

4

24

2

Harlequins

5

4

0

1

3

19

3

London Irish

5

2

1

2

4

14

4

Bath

5

2

1

2

3

13

5

Saracens

5

2

0

3

3

11

6

Bristol

6

1

0

5

4

8

7

London Wasps

5

1

0

4

2

6

Team News:

Sale Sharks TBA

Leeds Carnegie:

1. Toko Tedoradze
2. Harry Wales
3. Charlie Capps
4. Guy Borrowdale
5. Raffen Cherrington
6. Lewis Boyce (c)
7. Jordan Poole
8. Tom Burridge
9. Jimmy McDaniels
10. Tom Bullough
11. Nick Rawsthorne
12. Max Wright
13. Cam Leadley
14. Taylor Prell
15. Sam Allan.

Replacements: 16. Nathan Smith
17. Henrick Ek
18. Sam Gaudie
19. Jack McPhillips
20. Tom Bullough
21. Dan Tai
22. Ben Magee.

Leicester Tigers TBA

Newcastle Falcons TBA

Exeter Chiefs TBA

London Irish TBA

Bath TBA

London Wasps TBA

Harlequins:

15) Sam Aspland-Robinson (Wellington College), 
14) Gabriel Ibitoye (Trinity), 
13) Joe Marchant (Peter Symonds College, captain), 
12) George Taylor (Whitgift), 
11) Fergus Wood (Ardingley College), 
10) George Jones (Whitgift), 
9) Niall Saunders (Epsom College); 
1) Mofe Wilkey (Trinity), 
2) Seb Adeniran-Olule (Wellington College), 
3) Joshua Ibuanopke (Dulwich College), 
4) Stanley South (Whitgift), 
5) Kieran Treadwell (John Fisher), 
6) Archie White (Epsom College), 
7) Victor Keunan (Stonyhurst), 
8) Henry Cheeseman (Whitgift).

Replacements: 16) Ed Forshaw (Wellington College), 
17) Ben Gasson (Cranleigh), 
18) Will Lockhart-Smith (KCS Wimbledon), 
19) Josh Novell (St.Bede’s, Hailsham), 
20) Dino Lamb-Cona (Angmering), 
21) Zach Santos (Hampton), 
22) Ben Sackey (Emanuel), 
23) Sam Morley (Whitgift).

Saracens TBA

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