Harlequins have signed five of the stars of the school 1st XV playfields of the last two years, all of whom will become full time members of the clubâ€™s Academy ahead of the 2014/15.
The five stars are Whitgift duo of back row forward Henry Cheeseman and lock Stan South, Southâ€™s second row partner Kieran Treadwell from John Fisher, Cranleigh hooker Charlie Piper, and Wellington College front rower, Seb Adeniran-Olule.
Cheeseman, South, Readwell, and Adeniran-Olule have all represented England U18s this season, with Piper playing for the U17 side, and all will be looking to follow in the footsteps of the like of James Chisholm who captained the England U18s last year whilst at Brighton College before signing professional terms with Harlequins, for whom he has appeared in the first team on a number of occasions, and representing England U20s.
Incredibly, Adeniran-Olule has already sampled the England U20s having been called into their wider squad during the Six Nations campaign. It is yet another feather in the cap of the outstanding production line of talent that is Wellington College, and there is another feather to be added to that cap as it was announced that their 1st XV captain, Brett Herron, will be joining the Bath Academy for the new season.
Herron is an England U18 international but a serious knee injury has seriously hampered his 2013/14 season, ruling him out of all of Wellingtonâ€™s 1st XV games. It is a measure of his quality that a side of Bathâ€™s standing still saw fit to snap him up amidst strong competition. Herron will be joined at Bath by Sherborne’s outstanding young scrum half, Will Homer, who played for England U18s against Wales this season.Â
Of course, for all of these players the Academy is just the beginning, it is all about striving for some 1st XV action. Two of the new Harlequins recruits have already sampled first team action though, Henry Cheeseman and Kieran Treadwell have already made their Harlequins debuts, they faced the Cardiff Blues in the LV= Cup back in January.
The worry for Quins might be the possibility of losing Cheeseman to 7s duty at some point. The young back row has shown himself to be equally adept in the backline and is one of the stars of the school sevens circuit, and indeed for Harlequins back in August at the World Club 7s.
Commenting on the signings, Harlequins’ Academy Manager Tony Diprose said:
“I am delighted that the five boys are joining us full-time next season and with potentially a couple more to join them.â€
â€œWe deliberately only brought in James Chisholm to the Academy last season as we knew we had an extremely talented group this year. They have all progressed extremely well through the EPDG system and we are looking forward to continuing their development and help them follow in the footsteps of former Harlequins Academy graduates and now England internationals Chris Robshaw, Mike Brown and Joe Marler.”
The future certainly continues to look bright for Harlequins and these five talented schoolboy players, as it does for Bath and the excellent Brett Herron and Will Homer.