A League packed with school leavers once again

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Coach Logic

Round 2 of the Aviva A League takes place this evening and once again it is littered with school leavers from the past couple of seasons, as well a couple of current school faces.

Unfortunately the evening begins with a bit of bad news as Northampton Wanderers v Leicester Tigers has been cancelled, a shame in any circumstances but with it being such a passionate derby it is a real blow.

Bath United v Harlequins A

This fixture reads almost like a who’s who of school rugby stars from the last few seasons.

Bath United’s backline features an incredible three Byanston School graduates in fly half Ollie Devoto and centre paring Rory Jennings and Max Clark, while they have a further two in the pack with Tom Woolstencroft and Charlie Ewels.

It is a particularly interesting night for those two, with Woolstencroft showing his versatility by moving from hooker to number 8 and Ewels showing his star potential by leading the side, despite there being many more experienced heads in the squad.

Millfield are hardly lacking for players in the squad either, with full back Rich Lane, second row Tom Ellis, and openside flanker Max Northcote-Green all hailing from the Somerset side, while on the bench ex Sherborne pari of Will Homer and Marcus Beer will likely come on, as will the former Dulwich prop Beno Obano.

One to really keep an eye on though is the St Joseph’s College leaver, George Wacokecoke on the left wing, he will likely prove a handful for Harlequins’ 17 year old right wing, Loewy Simmons.

Simmons has been impressing everyone with his performances for Brighton College and will be making his A league debut for Quins this evening, with another ex Millfield man also in line to make his debut, centre Alec Coombers, who will come off the bench.

Harlequins start with a mildly more experienced side than last week, but only mildy. James Chisholm and Jack Clifford again start in the back row, with Clifford captaining the side, while RGS High Wycombe leaver Ben Wood makes his first start for the side at inside centre, alongside Peter Symonds graduate Joe Marchant.

On the bench Coombes is joined by the exciting young second row pair of Whitgift leaver Stan South, and John Fisher leaver Kieran Treadwell, while former Cranleigh hooker Charlie Piper looks as though he will be covering the back row this week, something that he has shown many times that he can do with aplomb.

Exeter Braves v London Welsh

These two sides have both named slightly more experienced sides than the likes of Bath and Harlequins, but that does not mean a lack of a talking point, far from it.

For Exeter this game’s primary function is the reintroduction of Jack Nowell to competitive rugby following his long injury absence. He comes into the side on the right wing, and one can bet that there will be a phalanx of coaches, both Exeter and England, keeping a close eye on how he fares.

Joel Conlon and Stuart Townsend will excite plenty from the bench, the England U20 pair have excellent reputations, while for London Welsh Alex Brown on the openside is one to watch.

London Wasps v London Irish

Wasps go with a slightly more mature line up than that which faced Harlequins last week but still include the likes of Sam James and former Hampton School captain Alex Lundberg in the front row.

On the bench Shiplake old boy Tom Howe will hope to come on and dazzle, while Gus Jones will also come on after being given less game time following his exploits for Richmond at the weekend.

London Irish start last year’s RGS High Wycombe captain Ross Neal on the wing, with England U18 star Cameron Cowell at full back, while on the bench they also include several young stars including Abingdon old boy Theo Brophy-Clews.

Worcester Cavaliers v Gloucester United

Worcester begin their A League campaign by giving a start to Old Swinford Hospital’s former England U18 star Huw Taylor on the blindside flank.

On the bench there is space for the likes of Jon Hughes, Adams Grammar School’s Andrew Kitchener, the younger brother of Graham, and one of the stars of King’s Worcester’s successful 15s and 7s sides in 2012/13, George De Cothi.

Gloucester meanwhile hand a start to last year’s England U18 captain and openside flanker from Sir Thomas Rich’s, Sam Underhill alongside the bruising Lewis Ludlow at number 8.

England U20 star Billy Burns stars at fly half and England U18 wing and Hartpury College man Kai Little starts on the left wing.

On the bench last year’s England U20 captain Callum Braley will come on at scrum half, while last year’s Marlborough College star man, Charlie Norman, will also almost certainly come on.

Newcastle Falcons A v Bristol United

Newcastle have named a pretty experienced starting XV, though young Dan Temm starts at blindside. There is plenty of youth on the bench though through the likes of Jake Ellwood, Iain Billington, and Tom Penny, all of whom will likely see good gametime.

Bristol by contrast have opted for a lot of youth in their side. Auguy Slowick starred for the first team on Saturday and his younger brother Lucas has an opportunity to do so tonight, he starts on the wing inside of fly half Callum Sheedy, the captain of the excellent Millfield Schools 1st XV last season.

On the bench Bristol have really plumped for youth, with four current University players including Ben Gompels and Sheedy’s 2012/13 school halfback partner Tim Turner, as well as current Filton College star Elias Caven and a real star for the future in prop Ellis Genge.

Once again, it should be a brilliant night of rugby all around, and it should provide real inspiration to those in school rugby at the moment. Last year and the year before they were at school with many of these players, now they are starting in the A league. The gap is very bridgeable.

Aviva A League Fixtures:

Bath United v Harlequins A

Exeter Braves v London Welsh

London Wasps v London Irish

Worcester Cavaliers v Gloucester United

Newcastle Falcons A v Bristol United

Northampton Wanderers C-C Leicester Tigers A

Team News:

Bath United:

15 Rich Lane
 14 Olly Woodburn 
13 Max Clark
 12 Rory Jennings
 11 George Wacokecoke
 10 Ollie Devoto
 9 Micky Young; 
1 Nathan Catt
 2 Ross Batty
 3 Juan Pablo Orlandi
 4 Charlie Ewels (c) 
5 Tom Ellis
 6 Hugo Govett
 7 Max Northcote-Green
 8 Tom Woolstencroft.

Replacements: 16 Mike Perkes
 17 Grant Shiells 
18 Kane Palma-Newport 
19 Beno Obano
 20 Connor Morrison
 21 Will Homer
 22 Ludi Hopkinson
 23 Marcus Beer.

Harlequins A

1 Mark Lambert
 2 Dave Ward 
3 Paul Doran Jones
 4 George Merrick
 5 Sam Twomey
 6 Joe Trayfoot
 7 Jack Clifford (c)
 8 James Chisholm; 
9 Karl Dickson
 10 Ben Botica
 11 Jordan Burns
 12 Ben Wood
 13 Joe Marchant
 14 Loewy Simmons
 15 Ross Chisholm.

Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan 
17 Darryl Marfo
 18 Will Collier
 19 Stan South
 20 Kieran Treadwell
 21 Charlie Piper
 22 Sam Stuart
 23 Alec Coombes.

Exeter Braves:

15 Jack Arnott  14 Jack Nowell  13 Max Bodilly  12 Adam Hughes  11 Fetu’u Vainikolo  10 Ceri Sweeney  9 Pat Phibbs;  1 Brett Sturgess  2 Elvis Taione  3 Alex Brown  4 Sam Skinner  5 Will Carrick-Smith  6 Sireli Naqelevuki  7 James Scaysbrook  8 Don Armand.

Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman  17 Jack Stanley  18 Kieran Davies  19 Jerry Sexton  20 Joel Conlon  21 Stuart Townsend  22 Tom James  23 Laurence May.

London Welsh:

15. Chris Elder
 14. Rhys Crane
 13. James Lewis 
12. George Boulton
 11. Joe Ajuwa
 10. Tristan Roberts
 9. Rob Lewis; 
1. Pablo Henn
 2. Koree Britton
 3. Eddie Aholelei
 4. Josh McNally
 5. James Down
 6. Jesse Liston
 7. Alex Brown
 8. Ben Pienaar (c).

Replacements: 16. Matthew Dobson
 17. Ben Cooper 
18. Jack Gilding 
19. Jamie Harries 
20. Clarke Smith 
21. Paul Rowley 
22. Will Robinson
 23. Conor Corrigan.

London Wasps:

15. Piers O’Conor
 14. Jonah Holmes
 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. James Cannon
 6. Buster Lawrence
 7. Thomas Young
 8. Ed Jackson.

Replacements: 16. George Edgson 
17. Tom West
 18. James Cleverley
 19. Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas
 20. Gus Jones
 21. James Small-Edwards 
22. Harry Sheppard
 23. Tom Howe.

London Irish:

15. Cameron Cowell;  14. Ross Neal;  13. Guy Armitage;  12. Eoin Griffin;  11. Tom Fowlie;  10. Myles Dorrian (c);  9. Darren Allinson;  1. Jamie Hagan;  2. Mike Mayhew;  3. Leo Halavatau;  4. Toby Salmon;  5. Theo Vukasinovic;  6. Ollie Curry;  7. Jimmy Stevens;  8. Anders Nillson.

Replacements: 16. Ollie Adams;  17. Tom Smallbone;  18. Richard Palframan;  19. Charlie Stonehill;  20. Harry Watts;  21. Connor Murphy;  22. Theo Brophy-Clews;  23. Matt Noble.

Worcester Cavaliers:

15 Perry Humphreys  14 Dean Hammond   13 Max Stelling  12 Andy Symons  11 James Stephenson  10 Robbie Keith  9 Jean-Baptise Bruzulier (c);  1 George Porter  2 Ben Sowrey  3 Joe Rees  4 Shay Kerry  5 Darren O’Shea  6 Huw Taylor  7 Matt Gilbert  8 Richard de Carpentier.


16 Jack Singleton  17 Ofa Fainga’anuku  18 Alex Gordas  19 Andrew Kitchener  20 Sam Harry (Loughborough Uni)  21 George de Cothi  22 Bar Bartlett (Loughborough Uni)  23 Jon Hughes.

Gloucester United:

15 Steve McColl;  14 Steph Reynolds,  13 Tom Isaacs,  12 Bill Meakes,  11 Kai Little;  10 Billy Burns,  9 Dan Robson;  1 Nick Wood (c),  2 Darren Dawidiuk,  3 Shaun Knight;  4 James Voss,  5 Tom Hicks;  6 Mike Luxton,  7 Sam Underhill,  8 Lewis Ludlow.

Replacements: Luke Cole,  James Gibbons,  Alec Cleary,  Rory Bartle,  Dan Thomas,  Callum Braley,  Aled Thomas,  Charlie Norman.

Newcastle Falcons A:

15. Tait  14. Barnes  13. Tiesi  12. Helleur  11. Smith  10. Catterick  9. Fury  1. Rogers  2. Nelson  3. Brookes  4. Young  5. Witty  6. Temm  7. Saull (C)  8. Mayhew.

Replacements: 16. Thompson  17. Ellwood  18. Irving  19. Billington  20. Pascoe  21. Taylor  22. Clegg  23. Penny.

Bristol United:

15 Charlie Amesbury;  14 Ryan Edwards,  13 Luke Eves,  12 Mark Cooke,  11 Lucas Slowik;  10 Callum Sheedy,  9 Luke Baldwin;  1 Kyle Traynor,  2 Rhys Lawrence,  3 Gaston Cortes,  4 Joe Joyce,  5 Glen Townson,  6 Josh Ovens,  7 Olly Robinson,  8 Ben Skirving.

Replacements: 16 Ben Gompels (Bristol University),  17 Ellis Genge,  18 Sonny Haines (Hornets RFC),  19 Dale Lemon (UWE),  20 Max Cresswell (Bristol University),  21 Tim Turner (Durham University),  22 Nick Carpenter,  23 Elias Caven (SGS Filton).

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