The final round of the 2015/16 U18 Academy Premiership takes place this weekend as teams jostle for places at the U18 Academy Competition finals day at Allianz Park on Monday 15th February.
Worcester Warriors in the Northern Conference and Wasps in the Southern Conference have both played their full complement of fixtures, so sit this final weekend out, while Northampton Saints and Sale Sharks each have an one further fixture to play after their game against each other had to be postponed last week.
The top three in each conference will head to Allianz Park for finals day, so this weekend is vital as sides strive to cement those top three slots in each division.
The U18 Academy Competition final is already known, it will be Gloucester v London Irish, the two sides have already wrapped up the spoils in the Northern and Southern conferences respectively.
Both are in action this weekend though, and their results could well be crucial for other sides.
London Irish host Saracens in the southern division tomorrow morning at Hazelwood. Saracens currently sit in third place, three points behind Wasps, so a win would see them leapfrog Wasps, while a defeat would leave them vulnerable to Exeter Chiefs, a place behind them in fourth.
Exeter are at home against Bath, who currently sit in sixth, but from whom a victory at Sandy Park could see them overtake Exeter and move into fourth, though they would also need their rivals Bristol to beat Harlequins, currently in fifth. That might be a tall order though, Bristol are yet to register a victory in this year’s competition.
Over in the Northern Conference, table toppers Gloucester are away at Northampton Saints. Saints currently sit in fourth place, but with two games left for them to play, they could well jump into second, they will need to win both games though and gain at least one bonus point if they are to leapfrog Worcester Warriors in second, who are eight points ahead of them.
They might well actually need to win both with a bonus point though, as lurking in third place are Leicester Tigers. A win for Tigers tomorrow would see them move into second place, while a bonus point would see them two points clear, or in other words, level with Saints should Saints win both of theirs with bonus points. Newcastle Falcons will put up some resistance against the Tigers though, that bonus point, and even the win, is far from assured.
The situation is exactly the same for Sale Sharks as it is for Saints. They too sit on 10 points with two to play, though they are in fifth place due to points difference.
Arguably though, they face the easiest task. They host Yorkshire Carneige tomorrow, who are winless at the foot of the table, as opposed to Northampton Saints’ battle against the unbeaten Gloucester.
The jostling for position in the Northern Conference is far from over!
U18 Academy Premiership Fixtures:
London Irish v Saracens – 11.00, Hazelwood
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons – 12.00, The Oval
Northampton Saints v Gloucester – 13.00, Franklin’s Gardens
Bristol v Harlequins – 14.00, Filton College
Exeter Chiefs v Bath – 14.00, Sandy Park
Sale Sharks v Yorkshire Carnegie – 14.00, Carrington
- Will Attfield: 14. Ollie Hassell-Collins; 13. Matt Williams; 12. Sam Evans; 11. Connor Hayhow; 10. Tom Parton; 9. Rory Brand; 1. Jarrod Leat; 2. Matt Kouris (Captain); 3. Austin Hay; 4. Harry Butler; 5. Jack Cooke; 6. Harry Norton; 7. Jack Ingall; 8. Isaac Curtis-Harris.
Replacements: 16. Freddie Boyce; 17. Callum Torpey; 18. Daniel Winning; 19. Josh Basham; 20. Angus Southon; 21. Dan Grant Adamson; 22. Roman Malin-Hiscock; 23. Dylan Moss; 24. Alex Gloster.
15 Will Kaye 14 Alex Gilham 13 Oli Morris 12 Nick Ramsey 11 Elliot Obatoyinbo 10 Tom Ffitch 9 Alex Glickstein 1 Taylor Reed 2 Harrison King 3 Seb Brownhill 4 Joel Kpoku 5 Zach Conley 6 Jack Nay 7 Sean Reffell 8 Ben Earl.
Replacements: 16 Billy Young 17 Andy Christie 18 James Gallagher 19 Sid Holland 20 Oscar Furneaux 21 James Elms 22 Jack Longhurst 23 Reuben Bird-Tullock.
Leicester Tigers – TBA
Newcastle Falcons – TBA
15 James Grayson 14 Jamel Hamilton 13 Freddie McKibbin 12 Fraser Strachan 11 Tosin Segun 10 Gregor Haldane 9 Harry Warn 1 Devante Onojaife 2 Alex Rayment 3 Ehren Painter 4 Jasper Dix (c) 5 Ben Kelland 6 Tom Brown 7 Matt Watson 8 Jake Carter.
Replacements: 16 Rob Marmion 17 George Cave 18 Rhys Charaambous 19 Alan Gregory 20 Sam Easton 21 Chris Yuill 22 Fraser Dingwall 23 Faysal Olabooye.
15 Dan Openshaw 14 Jack Evans 13 Mason Tonks 12 Tom Seabrook 11 Harry Robinson 10 Carwyn Penny 9 Charlie Chapman 1 Alex Seville 2 Will Haly 3 Ciaran Knight 4 Harry Wilson (c) 5 Seb Mummery 6 Ceri Silvester 7 Aaron Hinkley 8 Morgan Morris.
Replacements: 16 Mason Emery 17 Henry Walker 18 Harrison Fowke 19 Ed Bennion 20 Ben Coombes 21 Rhys Tudor 22 Harry Randall 23 Robbie Forbes.
Bristol – TBA
Forwards: George Head, Dylan Rogers, Callum Tilleray, Sam Gratton, Kareem Swandell, Paul Marshall, John Okafor, Henry Paremain, James Gulliver, Mike Gatehouse, Cameron Hyne, Dino Lamb-Cona and Ed Russell.
Backs: Tom Nicole, Niall Saunders, Marcus Smith, Sam Morley, Silas-Paul Johnson, Alex Hogg, Rory McMichael, Max Coyle, Cadan Murley and Gabriel Ibitoye.
Exeter Chiefs – TBA
1 Will Vaughan 2 Gabriel Oghre (c) 3 Jack Edmonson 4 Matt Solway 5 Rhys Davies 6 Dan Marek 7 Miles Reid 8 Roddy Denness 9 Cameron Brown 10 Will Flinn 11 Jonny Keh 12 Kieran Griffiths 13 Henry Martin 14 Dan Solway 15 Oli Graham.
Replacements: 16 Jack Hurley 17 Jamie Bettesworth 18 Joe Spiller 19 George Costard 20 Zak Smith 21 Caspar Bailey 22 Jack Utton 23 Tom Lewis.
- Cameron Redpath, 14. Calum Owen, 13. Arron Reed, 12. Jack Beevers, 11. Ali Wealthall, 10. Alex Burrage, 9. Will Hodgson, 1. George Williams, 2. Ben Martin, 3. Monty Weatherby, 4. Charlie Pozniak, 5. George Bordill, 6. Luke James, 7. Ben Curry (c), 8. Sam Moore.
Replacements: 16. Ben Gregory, 17. Jamie Ross, 18. Scott Southwell, 19. Sam Dugdale, 20. George Chatterton, 21. Kieran Wilkinson, 22. Ben Watson, 23. Michael Forrest.
Yorkshire Carnegie – TBA