Youth set to thrill again under the Aviva A league Monday Night Lights


The Aviva A league reaches its third round this evening, and once again youth is at the core of most teams.

Unfortunately Exeter Braves v Bath United has had to be postponed, however there are still five hugely appetising fixtures to look forward to.

Things kick off with Leicester Tigers A against Worcester Cavaliers, Tigers include their usual array of young and old, with the likes of Will Owen and Joe Maksymiw looking very keen to impress. Given the 1st XVs travails at the weekend, this is a great opportunity for players to state their case for inclusion in the top team.

Worcester Cavaliers include a number of young guns, former Old Swinford Hospital ace Huw Taylor starts at six, with Adams Grammar School product Andrew Kitchener on the bench along with for King’s Worcester scrum half George De Cothi, and the extremely promising Jon Hughes.

Bristol United again turn to youth, in particular through former Millfield captain Callum Sheedy, who will direct proceedings from ten, and Ellis Genge at loosehead, the archetypal modern prop.

Gloucester have already displayed their commitment to yout, having started England U20 flyer Henry Purdy for the 1st XV on Saturday, and they plump for youth tonight with their United side.

England U20 captain Callum Braley starts against his old club at scrum half, and look out for Will Safe at number 8, the former Hartpury College U18 had a stormer last time out.

On the bench Gloucester have some outrageously talented youngsters. Particularly their youthful back replacements, current Warwick and former England U16 scrum half Harry Bassett, England U20 JWC winning fly half Billy Burns, and Marlborough College leaver Charlie Norman.

Sale Jets play Newcastle Falcons but have yet to declare the team, however the Falcons have named theirs and it is brimming with young talent.

Brian Tuilagi, the youngest (currently) of the Tuilagi clan playing professional rugby starts at six. Tom Penny starts at outside centre, and James Christie, last year’s Sedbergh School captain, starts on the bench as replacement scrum half, with former Durham School man Craig Willis waiting alongside him.

London Irish A have a local derby against Saracens Storm, they include last year’s RGS High Wycombe captain Ross Neal on the wing outside Tom Fowlie. On the bench the likes of Theo Vukasinovic, Connor Murphy, and Harry Lightfoot-Brown will represent the youth well.

Saracens once again name England u20 star and former Harrow man Maro Itoje as captain, despite much older heads around him, demonstrating their belief in him. He is joined by the likes of Nick Tompkins, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, and Biyi Alo, with ex Millfield speed merchant Tom Whiteley on the bench.

Harlequins’ team to face London Welsh is about as exciting as it gets in terms of youth. Their centre partnership is an unusual Millfield/Wellington College combination, with Millfield leaver Alec Coombes at 13 and current Wellington College pupil Sam Aspland-Robinson at 12, which will be an interesting one to watch as the Wellington man is usually a full back.

Louis Grimoldby starts at 10 after bench duty for the 1st XV on Saturday, while in the pack one of the most decorated players in schoolboy history, the triple NatWest Schools Cup winner with Dulwich College, Josh Ibuanokpe, starts at tighthead.

On the bench, as usual, Quins include an array of youngsters including Piper, Treadwell, Simmons, and Bellamin. As well as the current Epsom College captain, Archie white – an excellent achievement. Interestingly, Whitgift School leaver Henry Cheeseman is named among the backs replacements. Cheeseman is normally a pack row man but excels on the 7s circuit and has spent a lot of time in the centres. He may still come on in the pack, but it will be interesting to see

Aviva A League Fixtures:

Leicester Tigers A v Worcester Cavaliers

Bristol United v Gloucester United

Sale Jets v Newcastle Falcons A

Exeter Braves P-P Bath United

London Irish A v Saracens Storm

London Welsh A v Harlequins A

Team News:

Leicester Tigers A

15 John Hargreaves  14 Paolo Odogwu  13 Gift Sankoh  12 Javiah Pohe  11 Rhys Williams  10 Oli Bryant (c)  9 George Prince  1 Owen Hills  2 Jake Farnworth  3 Dan Hogan  4 Joe Maksymiw  5 Dave Lyons  6 Ed Milne  7 Will Owen  8 Laurence Pearce.

Replacements: 16 Gareth Turner  17 Henry Sands   18 Guido Cambareri  19 Charlie Beckett  20 Will Foden  21 Bruno Bravo  22 Charlie Thacker  23 Will Sutton.

Worcester Cavaliers

15 Perry Humphreys,  14 Dean Hammond,  13 Max Stelling,  12 Ravai Fatiaki,  11 James Stephenson,  10 Tiff Eden,  9 Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier (c);  1 Ofa Fainga’anuka,  2 Ben Sowrey,  3 Joe Rees,  4 Matt Perks,  5 Darren O’Shea,  6 Huw Taylor,  7 Matt Gilbert,  8 Richard de Carpentier.

Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton,  17 Jack Cosgrove,  18 Alex Gordas,  19 Andrew Kitchener,  20 Sam Harry,  21 George de Cothi,  22 Elliott Davies,  23 Jon Hughes.

Bristol United:

15 Darren Hudson;  14 Jack Wallace,  13 Luke Eves,  12 Mark Cooke,  11 Charlie Amesbury;  10 Callum Sheedy,  9 Luke Baldwin;  1 Ellis Genge,  2 Rhys Lawrence,  3 Gaston Cortes,  4 Joe Joyce,  5 Glen Townson,  6 Nick Koster,  7 Olly Robinson,  8 Ben Skirving (c).

Replacements: 16 James Stephenson,  17 TBC,  18 Sonny Haines,  19 Max Cresswell,  20 Josh Ovens,  21 Tim Turner,  22 Elias Caven. 

Gloucester United:

15 Steve McColl;  14 Shane Monahan,  13 Mark Atkinson,  12 Bill Meakes,  11 Tom Isaacs;  10 Aled Thomas,  9 Callum Braley;  1 Nick Wood (c),  2 Darren Dawidiuk,  3 Shaun Knight;  4 James Voss,  5 Tom Hicks;  6 Rory Bartle,  7 Dan Thomas,  8 Will Safe.

Replacements: 16 Luke Cole,  17 James Gibbons,  18 Alec Clarey,  19 Roger Birkin,  20 Lewis Ludlow,  21 Harry Bassett,  22 Billy Burns,  23 Charlie Norman.

Sale Jets: TBA

Newcastle Falcons A

1. Alex Rogers,  2. Rob Hawkins,  3. Oliver Tomaszczyk,  4. Glenn Young,  5. Will Witty,  6. Brian Tuilagi,  7. Andy Saull (c),  8. Richard Mayhew,  9. Dan Taylor,  10. Rory Clegg,  11. Alex Tait,  12. Jamie Helleur,  13. Tom Penny,  14. Danny Barnes,  15. Lee Smith.

Replacements: 16. David Nelson,  17. Eric Fry,  18. Mark Irving,  19. Dan Temm,  20. Joe Craggs,  21. James Christie,  22. Craig Willis,  23. Sean Brown.

London Irish A

1. Jamie Hagan;  2. Jimmy Stevens;  3. Geoff Cross;  4. Nic Rouse;  5. Toby Salmon;  6. Ollie Curry;  7. Conor Gilsenan;  8. Armond Roux;  9. Darren Allinson;  10. Myles Dorrian (c);  11. James Copsey;  12. Guy Armitage; 1 3. Tom Fowlie;  14. Ross Neal;  15. Matt Noble.

Replacement: 16. Mike Mayhew;  17. Tom Smallbone;  18. Richard Palframan;  19. Theo Vukasinovic;  20. Luke Frost;  21. Connor Murphy;  22. Harry Lightfoot-Brown;  23. Callum Watson.

Saracens Storm

15. Ben Ransom;  14. Jack Wilson,  13. Nick Tompkins,  12. Max Wilkins,  11. Mike Ellery;  10. Nils Mordt,  9. Ben Spencer;  1. Tom Williams,  2. Phil Thiel,  3. Biyi Alo,  4. Maro Itoje (c),  5. Kennet O’Neill,  6. Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 7 . Matt Hankin,  8. Nick De Jager.

Replacements:  16. Antonio Harris,  17. Ben Featherstone,  18. Jack Culverhouse,  19. Torran Macdougall,  20. Don Barrell,  21. Tom Whiteley,  22. Tom Griffiths,  23. George Perkins.

London Welsh A:

15. Chris Elder
 14. Conor Corrigan
 13. Sam Wardingley 
12. Courtney Morrison
 11. Adam Field 
10. Will Robinson 
 9. Paul Rowley 
1. Pablo Henn
 2. Matthew Dobson
 3. Eddie Aholelei 
4. Josh McNally 
5. Ben West
 6. Jesse Liston 
7. Jamie Harries
 8. Samir Kharbouch.

Replacements: 16. Nathan Vella
 17. Jimmy Litchfield
 18. Ben Cooper
 19. Charlie Smith
 20. Seb Nagle-Taylor
 21. Ed Hoadley
 22. Tom Parker 
23. Tony Chapman.

Harlequins A:

15 Ross Chisholm 
14 Ollie Lindsay-Hague
 13 Alec Coombes
 12 Sam Aspland-Robinson
 11 Jordan Burns
 10 Louis Grimoldby
 9 Sam Stuart

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

Replacements: 16 Charlie Piper
 17 Ali Wade
 18 TBA 19 Kieran Treadwell
 20 Archie White
 21 Loewy Simmons
 22 Brandon Bellamin
 23 Henry Cheeseman.

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