School Leavers star on Aviva A League’s opening night

The Aviva A League kicked off last night, with each side opting to pack their 23-man matchday squads with young talent.

There were dozens of players fresh out of school, as well as a couple who were still at school.

Quins A v Wasps A

Fifteen Rugby visited the Twickenham Stoop for Harlequins A v London Wasps A, where one such current school player had made the Harlequins starting XV, Wellington College’s Sam Aspland-Robinson, who started a full back.

Aspland-Robsinson had a solid game as Quins strolled to a 35-14 victory, however it was a 2013 schoolboy leaver who really grabbed the headlines. Former Brighton College and England U18 captain, and U20 JWC winner, James Chisholm scored a hat-trick for Harlequins as he benefited from the huge pressure that his side’s scrum put on the young Wasps pack.

Indeed it looked like being a Chisholm shut-out on the scoreboard at one point, with on James and his brother Ross, playing on the wing, crossing the whitewash until Wasps scored a couple and Charlie Walker went over for Quins’ third.

Peter Symonds’ College leaver Joe Marchant started at outside centre for Quins and had a solid game alongside back to back JWC winner Harry Sloan, before being replaced by RGS High Wycombe leaver Ben Wood with around ten minutes to go.

The former Wasps U18 man was up against many familiar faces including the former Shiplake College winger Tom Howe, who created possibly the most exciting Wasps moment of the match with a searing break through the middle of the pitch.

The real influx of school leavers came when Harlequins emptied their bench though, with Charlie Piper, Seb Adeniran-Olule, Stan South, and Kieran Treadwell, who all left Cranleigh, Wellington College, Whitgift, and John Fisher respectively this summer, all coming on, later to be joined by Wood.

It was particularly special from a rugby point of view to see South and Treadwell pack down together, of course they have done so many times before, at school level they played for bitter rivals in Whitgift and John Fisher but they are now teammates and fellow professionals at Harlequins. It was certainly a great sight to see.

Irish A v Welsh A

Just down the road at the new Hazelwood training complex, London Irish A beat London Welsh A 34-8 with a side that also included plenty of young stars.

Wood’s RGS High Wycombe captain last year, Ross Neal, started at inside centre alongside Johnnny Williams, with 7s starlet Cameron Cowell at full back, and Reed’s leaver Theo Vukanisovic started in the second row.

The likes of James McRae and Abingdon School’s 2013/14 fly half Theo Brophy-Clews were on the bench, while LondoN Welsh started with a London Irish product and John Fisher leaver, Declan Williams, on the wing.

Itoje leads Saracens Storm

Swinging around the M25 up towards Mill Hill, Saracens Storm hosted the Exeter Braves at Allianz Park and they put on quite a show, winning 50-24 with a prace from the former Oaklands College centre and a real man to watch, Nick Tompkins.

Both sides had plenty of recognisable youth, Tom Whiteley, the Millfield leaver and star of the 7s circuit, was on the bench for Saracens while Exeter featured the likes of Charlie Wick fro Wellington College and Matt Eliet from Tonbridge.

However the real story from this game was that of Maro Itoje, the former Harrow second row who won the JWC with England U20 this summer. Itoje has long been seen as a star of the future and was a Fifteen Rugby One to Watch, but he took a huge step yesterday by skippering this Saracens side. It was far from inexperienced and included the likes of Burger, Joubert, Mordt, and Hayden Smith. It seems that Maro’s time is coming fast.

Falcons A do what the seniors cannot

Darting up the road from Saracens, Leicester Tigers hosted Newcastle Falcons at Welford Road and the Newcastle A side did what their senior counterparts could not, beating Tigers 32-8 with a young side that included the likes of Dan Temm, Brian Tuilagi and Tom Penny.

Leicester too opted for youth in the likes of Charlie Thacker, George Tressider, and Will Owen, though they were led by the more experienced (in relative terms) Owen Williams at fly half.

Stunner at Kingsholm

Arguably the game of the evening must have been Gloucester United v Northampton Wanderers, which was the Wanderers just take the win with a 30-29 victory.

Northampton included last year’s St Joseph’s College captain Lewis Ludlum in their 23 alongside 2013/14 Rugby School captain Harry Mallinder as well as plenty who left school the year before including Oundle’s Sam Olver, Stowe’s Jordan Onojaife, Trent’s James Fish, and Moulton College star Howard Packman, as well as seasoned senior squad man Tom Stephenson, who is still only 20.

Glocuester too opted for youth, starting England U20 half backs Callum barley and Billy Burns with Elliot Stooke and Will Safe, who by all accounts had a stormer, in the pack.

On the bench Dean Close leaver Lloyd Evans took his place alongside current Warwick School star Harry Basset.

Bristol United v Sale Jets

Bristol proved that just because they are in the championship that does not mean that they do not have strength in depth as they beat Sale Jets 36-19.

Bristol picked a reasonably well established starting fifteen but included a very young bench with the likes of Ellis Genge and Jake Polledri of Filton College and the Millfield pair of 2013/14 captain and fly half Callum Sheedy and his 2012/13 school half back partner Ti Turner.

Similarly Sale had a fairly experienced side, though King’s Chester leaver George Nott started in the second row and Rishworth’s Liam Parfitt started at 7, showing just how highly rated they are.

St Ambrose College’s Ciaran parker was on the bench along with Lymm High School’s 2013 leaver James Mitchell and Manchester Gramamr’s Cameron Neild among others.

Overall it was a great evening of rugby, but just as important – it was a great opportunity to watch those who have starred on the schoolboy rugby scene of the last couple of years make a real foray into the professional world of rugby.

Hopefully the trend will continue!

Aviva A League Results:

Bristol United 36-19 Sale Jets

Gloucester United 29-30 Northampton Wanderers

Harlequins A 35-14 London Wasps A

Leicester Tigers A 8-32 Newcastle Falcons A

London Irish A 34-8 London Welsh A

Saracens Storm 50-24 Exeter Braves

Next Fixtures (15/09/14):

Bath United v Harlequins A

Exeter Braves v London Welsh A

London Wasps A v London Irish A

Newcastle Falcons A v Bristol United

Northampton Wanderers v Leicester Tigers A

Worcester Cavaliers v Gloucester United

Last night’s teams:

Bristol United

15 Auguy Slowik;  14 Ryan Edwards,  13 Gareth Maule,  12 Luke Eves,  11 Charlie Amesbury;  10 Mark Cooke,  9 Luke Baldwin;  1 Kyle Traynor,  2 Ross Johnston,  3 Gaston Cortes,  4 Glen Townson,  5 Ben Glynn (c),  6 Joe Joyce,  7 Olly Robinson,  8 Josh Ovens.

Replacements:  16 Rhys Lawrence,  17 Ellis Genge,  18 Sonny Haines (Hornets RFC),  19 Dale Lemon (UWE),  20 Jake Polledri (SGS Filton),  21 Tim Turner (Durham University),  22 Callum Sheedy,  23 Nick Carpenter.

Sale Jets:

15 Mike Haley;  14 Charlie Ingall,  13 Sam James,  12 Andy Forsyth,  11 John O’Donnell;  10 Nick Macleod,  9 Nathan Fowles;  1 Darren Fearns,  2 Shalva Mamukashvili,  3 James Flynn,  4 Andre Ostrikov,  5 George Nott,  6 Andy Hughes (c),  7 Liam Parfitt,  8 Viliami Fihaki.

Replacements: 16 Ciaran Parker,  17 Cameron Neild,  18 Tom Sanders,  19 Tom Bell,  20 James Mitchell,  21 Tom Morton,  22 Sam Bedlow.

Gloucester United:

15 Aled Thomas;  14 Shane Monahan,  13 Tom Isaacs,  12 Billy Meakes,  11 Henry Purdy;  10 Billy Burns,  9 Callum Braley;  1 James Gibbons,  2 Aleki Lutui,  3 Shaun Knight;  4 Elliot Stooke,  5 Tom Hicks;  6 James Voss,  7 Mike Luxton,  8 Will Safe.

Replacements: 16 Luke Cole,  17 Will Goodrick-Clarke,  18 Alec Clarey,  19 Joe Batley,  20 Dan Thomas,  21 Harry Bassett,  22 Lloyd Evans,  23 Steph Reynolds.

Northampton Wanderers:

15 Tom Collins  14 Jamie Elliott 
13 Dom Waldouck (c)
 12 Tom Stephenson 
11 Howard Packman 
10 Will Hooley 
9 Alex Day; 
1 Ethan Waller 
2 Reece Marshall 
3 Gareth Denman 
4 Alex Woolford 
5 James Craig 
6 Cam Dolan 
7 Teimana Harrison 
8 Jon Fisher.

Replacements from: James Fish 
Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi 
Adam Parkins 
Jordan Onojaife 
Lewis Ludlam 
Jacob Conner 
Phil Robinson 
Harry Mallinder 
Rory Hutchinson 
Sam Olver 
Josh Skelcey.

Harlequins A:

15 Sam Aspland-Robinson
 14 Charlie Walker
 13 Joe Marchant
 12 Harry Sloan  11 Ross Chisholm
 10 Ben Botica
 9 Sam Stuart;

1 Darryl Marfo
 2 Rob Buchanan
 3 Paul Doran Jones
 4 George Merrick
 5 Sam Twomey
 6 Joe Trayfoot
 7 Jack Clifford (c)  8
James Chisholm.

Replacements: 16 Charlie Piper
 17 Seb Adeniran-Olule
 18 Will Collier
 19 Stan South
 20 Kieran Treadwell
 21 Jordan Burns
 22 Louis Grimoldby
 23 Ben Wood.

Wasps A:

15. Jonah Holmes 
14. Tom Howe 
13. Will Helu 
12. Ben Jacobs 
11. Josh Bassett 
10. Alex Lozowski 
9. Tom Bliss; 
1. Alex Lundberg 
2. Sam James 
3. Will Stuart 
4. Will Rowlands 
5. Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas 
6. Gus Jones 
7. Thomas Young 
8. Buster Lawrence.

Replacements: 16. George Edgson 
17. Tom West 
18. James Cleverly 
19. Jake O’Leary 
20. Mike Dewer 
21. James Small-Edwards 
22. George Eastwell 
23. Piers O’Conor.

Leicester Tigers A:

15 Oli Bryant  14 Rhys Williams  13 Charlie Thacker  12 Javiah Pohe  11 Paolo Odogwu  10 Owen Williams (c)  9 George Tressider;  1 Riccardo Brugnara  2 Neil Briggs  3 Tiziano Pasquali  4 Joe Maksymiw  5 Matthew Hubbart  6 Charlie Beckett  7 Will Owen  8 Ed Milne.

Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker  17 Aniseko Sio  18 Dan Hogan  19 Luke Joseph  20 Oliver Povoas  21 George Prince  22 Reuben Norville  23 Gift Sankoh.

Newcastle Falcons A:

1. Eric Fry,  2. Rob Hawkins (c),  3. Scott Wilson,  4. Glen Young,  5. Will Witty,  6. Dan Temm,  7. Andy Saull,  8. Brian Tuilagi,  9. Andy Davies,  10. Rory Clegg,  11. Danny Barnes,  12. Andy Tuilagi,  13. Jamie Helleur,  14. Sean Brown,  15. Lee Smith.

Replacements:  16. David Nelson,  17. Jake Ellwood,  18. Mark Irving,  19. Ian Billington,  20. Conran Gleeson,  21. Dan Taylor,  22. Tom Catterick,  23. Tom Penny.

London Irish A:

15 Cameron Cowell  14 James Copsey  13 Johnny Williams  12 Ross Neal  11 Matt Noble  10 Myles Dorrian  9 Darren Alinson;  1 Jamie Hagan  2 Mike Mayhew  3 Geoff Cross  4 Theo Vukasinovic  5 Toby Salmon  6 Ollie Curry  7 Jimmy Stevens  8 Armond Roux.

Replacements:  16 Ignas Darkintis  17 Ollie Adams  18 Richard Palframan  19 Charlie Stonehill  20 James McRae  21 Connor Murphy  22 Theo Brophy-Clews  23 Callum Watson.

London Welsh A:

15 Chris Elder  14 Conor Corrigan  13 George Boulton  12 James Lewis  11 Declan Williams  10 Will Robinson  9 Paul Rowley;  1 Shane Cahill  2 Nathan Morris  3 Eddie Aholelei  4 Josh McNally  5 Samir Kharbouch  6 Jesse Liston  7 Alex Brown  8 Ben Pienaar.

Replacements: 16 Jimmie Litchfield  17 Matthew Dobson  18 Ben Cooper  19 Jamie Harris  20 Anders Nillson  21 Ed Hoadley  22 Tristan Roberts  23 Rhys Crane.

Saracens Storm

15. Ben Ransom;  14. Mike Ellery,  13. Tim Streather,  12. Nick Tompkins,  11. Jack Wilson;  10 Nils Mordt,  9. Ben Spencer;  1. Billy Moss,  2. Phil Thiel,  3, Biyi Alo,  4. Maro Itoje (c),  5. Hayden Smith,  6. Matt Hankin,  7. Jacques Burger,  8. Ernst Joubert.

Replacements: 16. Antonio Harris,  17. Ollie Walker,  18. Jack Culverhouse,  19. Kennett O’Neill,  20. Hayden Thompson-Stringer,  21. Tom Whiteley,  22. Max Wilkins,  23. George Perkins.

Exeter Braves:

1 Brett Sturgess  2 Greg Bateman  3 Alex Brown  4 Ed Holmes  5 Jerry Sexton  6 Joel Conlon  7 Sam Simmonds  8 Sam Skinner (c);  9 Pat Phibbs  10 Laurence May  11 Adam Hughes  12 Tom Hendrickson  13 Max Bodilly  14 Alex Wilcockson  15 Charlie Wick.

Replacements: 16 Jack Innard  17 Kieron Davies  18 Jack Stanley  19 Matt Eliet  20 Harry Ledger  21 Stu Townsend  22 Tom Holdsworth  23 Fred Gabbitas.

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