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Premiership & Championship sides name plenty of young talent ahead of season kick off

The Aviva Premiership kicks off this evening with Northampton Saints v Gloucester, before moving on to the now traditional opening weekend double header at Twickenham on Saturday.

As with last year, Rhiannon Chandler-Day will be bringing you here take on one live match each week, plus a unique review of the weekend’s activity once all is done, while this year Angus Savage will be bringing you news of all things Aviva A League, which this year were are expecting to be stuffed full of school leavers from the past couple of years.

Friday

The Aviva Premiership teams announced today for the weekend’s fixtures also feature a fair smattering of young talent though, for instance tonight back to back Junior World Championship winner, Ross Moriarty, will start on the bench for Gloucester as they begin life under new Director of Rugby David Humphreys, and Attack Coach Nick Walshe, who coached the U20s to those JWC titles.

Northampton Saints have not included some of their more well known youngsters for the opening fixture, but you can be sure that Tom Stephenson will feature soon, while the likes of Howard Packman and Sam Olver may not have to wait too long for Premiership action.

Saturday

The earliest kick off on Saturday sees Bath make the trip to the AJ Bell stadium to play Sale Sharks.

The Sharks have also admirably promoted youth, with former Manchester Grammar School hooker Cameron Neild on the bench as a replacement hooker, a great achievement given the huge amount of physical development required to play in the front row at that level. Neild has been out of school for just a year so serves as great inspiration.

Bath too have named a young side, with the likes of George Ford and Anthony Watson primed to star once again. Watson, incredibly it seems, is still just 20 and will be hoping that this can be his real breakthrough season into the England starting XV.

The Double Header begins with Saracens v Wasps, and both have gone in with relatively experienced sides. Interestingly Saracens have opted for Charlie Hodgson over Owen Farrell for the season opener, perhaps a nod to the likely firm surface and therefore faster more running based game.

Wasps’ new look squad boasts a backline that looks as exciting as any and a forward pack that looks far more formidable than in recent seasons. It ought to be interesting to see how the captaincy sits with Wellington College old boy James Haskell, could it be the making of him as the World Cup approaches?

Following the conclusion of that game, London Irish v Harlequins will kick off. Many raised a few eyebrows when Quins let Tom Guest depart for London Irish, for whom he starts tomorrow, but Quins know that in the likes of Jack Clifford and James Chisholm they have some special back row men on the way through.

Speaking of which, Clifford starts on the bench for Harlequins tomorrow and the 2013 JWC winning captain will hope to make a big impression at Twickenham.

Between the two double header games Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons will kick off up at Welford Road. Both sides have opted for relatively experienced sides, but perhaps the most exciting thing for fans of English rugby will be the sight of Tom Croft in the back row. With the World Cup a year away, his fitness and form could be vital.

The prospect of Alessana Tuilagi coming off the bench for Newcastle to play against his brother Manu is also rather mouthwatering. You would not want to get in the way of that collision.

Sunday

The weekend’s Aviva Premiership action is rounded off on Sunday by London Welsh v Exeter Chiefs. London Welsh include possibly the most incredible signing in Premiership history (in fact, it would be great to hear who you think is the biggest shock signing in Premiership history, leave a comment below or tweet @FifteenRugbyXV), New Zealand’s World Cup winning scrum half, Piri Weepu.

He is one of over twenty players brought in by London Welsh so their performance is likely to be as unpredictable as a Stuart Hogg kick return, but there is certainly plenty off excitement.

So too at Exeter. They have lost a lot of top players but have recruited well in parts, particularly the signing of Thomas Waldrom in the back row. Expectation is that they may struggle this year but that with some of the most talented youngsters in the country sitting in their academy system, it is only a matter of time before Exeter really begin to bubble.

Two of those have already graduated. 2013 JWC winners Sam Hill and Henry Slade partner each other in the centres and there will be plenty of others coming through over the course of the season.

Championship

As ever there is plenty of good young talent getting some game time in the Championship this weekend. Last year’s Woodhouse Grove star Jack Maplesden starts at scrum half for Doncaster, while JWC winning prop Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi is involved for Moseley.

Louis Grimoldby is in action for Nottingham, while Bedford boast Leicester Tigers’ Harry Wells and Oaklands College’s JWC winner Nathan Earle, on dual contract with Saracens.

Aviva Premiership Teams:

Friday:

Northampton Saints v Gloucester – 19.45 (BT Sport)

Northampton Saints

Pos

Gloucester

James Wilson

15

Rob Cook

Ken Pisi

14

Charlie Sharples

George Pisi

13

Henry Trinder

Luther Burrell

12

Billy Twelvetrees (c)

George North

11

Jonny May

Stephen Myler

10

James Hook

Lee Dickson

9

Greig Laidlaw

Alex Corbisiero

1

Dan Murphy

Dylan Hartley (c)

2

Richard Hibbard

Salesi Ma’afu

3

John Afoa

Courtney Lawes

4

Tom Savage

Christian Day

5

James Hudson

Callum Clark

6

Sione Kalamafonia

Tom Wood

7

Jacob Rowan

Samu Manoa

8

Ben Morgan

Replacements

Ross McMillan

16

Darren Dawidiuk

Alex Waller

17

Yann Thomas

Gareth Denman

18

Sila Puafisi

James Craig

19

Tom Palmer

Jon Fisher

20

Ross Moriarty

Kahn Fotuali’i

21

Dan Robson

Will Hooley

22

Mark Atkinson

Ben Foden

23

Steve McColl

Saturday:

Sale Sharks v Bath – 14.00

Sale Sharks

Pos

Bath

Luke McLean

15

Luke Arscott

Tom Brady

14

Semesa Rokodunguni

Will Addison

13

Jonathan Joseph

Mark Jennings

12

Kyle Eastmond

Mark Cueto

11

Anthony Watson

Danny Cipriani

10

George Ford

Chris Cusiter

9

Peter Stringer

Eifon Lewis-Roberts

1

Paul James

Marc Jones

2

Rob Webber

Vadim Cobilas

3

David Wilson

Nathan Hines

4

Stuart Hooper (c)

Michael Paterson

5

Dominic Day

Dan Braid (c)

6

Alafoti Fa’osiliva

David Seymour

7

Guy Mercer

Mark Easter

8

Leroy Houston

Replacements

Cameron Nield

16

Tom Dunn

Ross Harrison

17

Nick Auterac

Alberto di Marchi

18

Henry Thomas

Jonathan Mills

19

Dave Attwood

Magnus Lund

20

Carl Fearns

Will Cliff

21

Chris Cook

Joe Ford

22

Gavin Henson

Tom Arscott

23

Matt Banahan

Saracens v London Wasps – 14.00 (BT Sport)

Saracens

Pos

London Wasps

Alex Goode

15

Rob Miller

Chris Ashton

14

Christian Wade

Duncan Taylor

13

Elliot Daly

Brad Barritt

12

Chris Bell

David Strettle

11

Sailosi Tagicakibau

Charlie Hodgson

10

Andy Goode

Richard Wigglesworth

9

Joe Simpson

Richard Barrington

1

Matt Mullan

Jamie George

2

Carlo Festuccia

Kieran Longbottom

3

Lorenzo Cittadini

George Kruis

4

Joe Launchbury

Alistair Hargreaves (c)

5

James Gaskell

Kelly Brown

6

Ashley Johnson

Will Fraser

7

James Haskell (c)

Billy Vunipola

8

Nathan Hughes

Replacements

Scott Spurling

16

Tom Lindsay

Rhys Gill

17

John Yapp

Petrus Du Plessis

18

Phil Swainston

Jim Hamilton

19

Tom Palmer

Jackson Wray

20

Kearnan Myall

Ben Spencer

21

Charlie Davies

Owen Farrell

22

Ruaridh Jackson

Tim Streather

23

Andrea Masi

Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons – 15.00

Leicester Tigers

Pos

Newcastle Falcons

Niall Morris

15

Simon Hammersley

Blaine Scully

14

Sinoti Sinoti

Manu Tuilagi

13

Adam Powell

Seremaia Bai

12

Juan Pablo Socino

Vereniki Goneva

11

Noah Cato

Freddie Burns

10

Phil Godman

Ben Youngs (c)

9

Mike Blair

Logovi’I Mulipola

1

Rob Vickers

Leonardo Ghiraldini

2

George McGuigan

Fraser Balmain

3

Oliver Tomaszczyk

Sebastian De Chaves

4

Callum Green

Graham Kitchener

5

Josh Furno

Tom Croft

6

Richard Mayhew

Julian Salvi

7

Will Welch (c)

Jordan Crane

8

Ally Hogg

Replacements

Tom Youngs

16

Scott Lawson

Tom Bristow

17

Alex Rogers

Tiziano Pasquali

18

Kieran Brookes

Jamie Gibson

19

Dom Barrow

Robert Barbieri

20

Andy Saull

David Mele

21

Ruki Tipuna

Owen Williams

22

Alesana Tuilagi

Matt Smith

23

Gonzalo Tiesi

London Irish v Harlequins – 16.30 (BT Sport)

London Irish

Pos

Harlequins

Tom Homer

15

Mike Brown

Topsy Ojo

14

Marland Yarde

Fergus Mulchrone

13

Matt Hopper

Eamonn Sheridan

12

Jordan Turner-Hall

James Short

11

Ugo Monye

Shane Geraghty

10

Nick Evans

Scott Steele

9

Danny Care

Tom Court

1

Joe Marler (c)

David Paice

2

Joe Gray

Halani Aulika

3

Kyle Sinckler

George Skivington (c)

4

Charlie Matthews

Dan Leo

5

George Robson

Blair Cowan

6

Luke Wallace

Ofisa Treviranus

7

Chris Robshaw

Tom Guest

8

Nick Easter

Replacements

Gerard Ellis

16

Rob Buchanan

Matt Parr

17

Mark Lambert

Leo Halavatau

18

Will Collier

Kirean Low

19

George Merrick

Conor Gilsenan

20

Jack Clifford

Tomás O’Leary

21

Karl Dickson

Chris Noakes

22

Ben Botica

Tom Fowlie

23

Ollie Lindsay-Hague

Sunday:

London Welsh v Exeter Chiefs – 14.00

London Welsh

Pos

Exeter Chiefs

Seb Jewell

15

Chrysander Botha

Seb Stegman

14

Ian Whitten

Tom May (c)

13

Henry Slade

Tim Molenaar

12

Sam Hill

Nick Scott

11

Matt Jess

Olly Barkley

10

Gareth Steenson

Piri Weepu

9

Haydn Thomas

Ricky Reeves

1

Carl Rimmer

Koree Britton

2

Jack Yeandle (c)

Taione Vea

3

Tomas Francis

Dean Schofield

4

Mitch Lees

James Down

5

Ryan Caldwell

Pete Browne

6

Dave Ewers

Richard Thorpe

7

Ben White

Lachlan McCaffrey

8

Thomas Waldrom

Replacements

Nathan Vella

16

Elvis Taione

Pablo Henn

17

Ben Moon

Jack Gilding

18

Moray Low

Matt Corker

19

Don Armand

Ollie Stedman

20

Kai Horstmann

Rob Lewis

21

Will Chudley

Tristan Roberts

22

Ceri Sweeney

Rhys Crane

23

Jack Arnott

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