Harlequins have today announced that four players will join their Senior Academy ahead of the 2016/17 season.
The four are three current schoolboys, plus 21 year old Jonas Mikalcius, a winger from Hartpury College, who is Hartpury RFC’s top try scorer and a Lithuanian international.
The three schoolboys all progress from the clubs EPDG once their school careers have finished.
The three players are Cranleigh’s Dino Lamb-Cona, who helped his school to the HSBC Rosslyn Park National School 7s title, Trinity’s Gabriel Ibitoye, and Epsom College’s Niall Saunders.
Lamb-Cona and Ibitoye both represented England U18 this season as they won the inaugural U18 5 Nations Festival, with Ibitoye captaining the side and going on to play for England U19.
Lamb-Cona, a dynamic back row who can also play in the second row, has been a regular feature for Harlequins A in the Aviva A League as well as for the U18 side. Ibitoye has also represented both sides, and was a key player in the 2015 Singha Premiership 7s.
Saunders, meanwhile, has been playing for Ireland U20 and Ireland U19 this season, and has also played for Ireland U18. The scrum half was captain of Epsom College this year.
Speaking on the singing of the four players, Harlequins Academy Manager Tony Diprose said:
“We are delighted to welcome four very talented players into our Academy set up for next season. Each player has impressed the Academy coaches with their obvious rugby ability and commitment throughout this season. “
“Through joining the Academy on a full time basis, I have no doubt these players will continue to develop and learn from the nurturing environment at Harlequins and through the mentorship and advice from coaches and players at the Club. I look forward to seeing the four of them progress and grow in this early stage of their rugby careers.”
Three of the four will also be in action this evening at the London Floodlit 7s at Rosslyn Park.
Ibitoye, Mikalcius, and Saunders will all be in action, where they will be joined by Suanders’ former schoolmate Archie White, Wellington College leaver Sam Aspland-Robinson, John Fisher leaver Kieran Treadwell, and fellow academy players Calum Waters and James Chisholm, who captains the side.
Harry Sloan and Beau Robinson link up from the 1st XV squad, while fly half Kieran Ricknell has been drafted in as a schoolboy from John Fisher.
The squad includes three of the four players announced today who are due to join the Harlequins Academy for the 2016/17 season and five current Academy members including James Chisholm who will captain the side.
You can see the full draw for tonight’s 7s, plus other team news, here: London Floodlit 7s
Harlequins Squad for the Floodlit 7s:
James Chisholm (C)