Aviva A League: Teams keen to experiment ahead of long break


The Aviva A League restarts tonight with the last set of games before a long hiatus until early December.


That means that many sides have opted for even more youth than usual this week, in a mid to make sure that their youngsters get some decent game time ahead of the break.


The action actually started yesterday, with Gloucester United ending Bristol United’s unbeaten start to the A League with a stunning 31-29 victory at Taunton RFC.


Bristol led 19-7 at half time, but Gloucester came flying back out in the second half, with Dan Thomas in the back row and England U20 star Mat Protheroe at fly half particularly impressive.




The Northern Conference sees three fixtures this evening. Northampton Wanderers will host Wasps A, and the Wanderers once again pcik a young side with the likes of Howard Packman, Sam Olver, and Alex Mitchell in the backline and Jordan Onojaife and Lewis Ludlam in the back.


On the bench there is room for a couple of last year’s schools stars in Devante Onojaife and Tom Emery, while former Sedbergh second row Alex Moon is also selected.


Wasps pick Academy prospects Owain James, Tom Howe, and Connor Eastgate in the backs, with England U20 flanker Jack Willis in the pack. His U20 colleague Will Stuart is on the bench, alongside England U18 internationals Jacob Umaga and Jarod Leat, with St Benedict’s leaver Ehize Ehizode on the bench too.


Sale Jets have picked an experienced side for their game against Leciester Tigers A, but there is still room for youth with academy players Conor Wilkinson and Sam Bedlow in the backs and Diogo Ferriera in the pack. England U20 star George Nott is in the second row, with Oundle leavers Ben and Tom Curry both on the bench.


Leciester are packed with youth, Harry Simmons, Sam Yawayawa, Oli Bryant, and George Worth are all selected in the backs, while Will Evans starts at 7 with Will Owen, Harry Wells, and Joe Maksymiw alongside him in the pack. Youngsters Sam Lewis, Fred Tuilagi, Ben White, Charlie Thacker, and Jordan Olowofela are all on the bench.


Worcester Cavaliers are typically youthful against Newcastle Falcons A, Loughborough Students’ Jon Hughes, ex RGS Worcester, starts at full back, with his University colleague and former Millfield star Freddie Davidson at hooker. There are two schoolboys in the side, with Shrewsbury 6th form College’s Alex Hearle on the wing, and Worcester 6th form College’s Ted Hill at number 8. They are joined by a third schoolboy in RGS Worcester’s Josh Nott, who is on the bench.


Newcastle look a little more experienced, but a 10, 11, 12 combination of Brett Connon, Zach Kibirige, and Craig Willis has plenty of youth about it. Archie Erskine starts in the pack, while on the bench there are two schoolboys, Jack Johnson (Gosforth Academy), and Charlie Wilson (RGS Newcastle).




With Bristol United v Gloucester United having taken place on Sunday, there are just two A League games in the South this evening.


Bath United will host Saracens Storm, and both pick highly exciting teams. Bath are skippered by former England U20 star Rory Jennings. The ex Bryanston man is at inside centre, with former Millfield star and Scotland U20 playmaker Adam Hastings at 10, former Sherborne scrum half Will Homer is alongside him, while Hastings’ former Millfield teammate, Darren Atkins, is on the wing.


In the pack there is another of Hastings’ former school teammates in the form of Josh Bayliss at number 8, , while Dulwich College’s former Schools Cup winning prop Beno Obano starts at loosehead. The bench includes current Millfield scrum half Cameron Brownas well as his hooker last year, Gabirel Oghre.


For Saracens Atkins and Hastings’ former schoolmate Tom Whiteley continues at fly half, with former England U20 star Henry Taylor at scrum half. Current New Hall schoolboy Oli Morris, who has played for England U18, starts at outside centre, with England Age-Group wingers George Perkins and Rotimi Segun outside him.


Three of last year’s England U18 side are picked in the pack, Tonbridge leaver Ben Earl is at 8, with Berkhamsted leaver Jack Nay at 6, and Haileybury leaver Nick Isiekwe in the second row. Harrow’s Reuben Bird-Tulloch is on the bench.


The final game of the fixture card is Harlequins A v Exeter Braves. Harlequins pick a very experienced side, with former Cranleigh hooker Charlie Piper and ex Epsom College back row Archie White the only genuine youngsters, though recent U20 World Championship winners Aaron Morris and Harry Sloan are pretty young in the backline. The bench is full of Academy stars though, with Stan South, Henry Cheeseman, James Lang, Sam Aspland-Robinson, and Robbie Nairn all selected.


Exeter are also reasonably experienced, though are skippered by the former Blundell’s captain and scrum half, Jack Maunder. The side also includes England U18 international Joe Simmonds and the likes of Jack Owlett and Ted Landry are on the bench.


Once again, it ought to be a brilliant evening to find out all about the stars of the future, with so much youth across all five games.


Aviva A League Fixtures:


Northampton Wanderers v Wasps (19.30)

Sale Jets v Leicester Tigers (19.30)

Worcester Cavaliers v Newcastle Falcons A (19.30)


Bath United v Saracens Storm (19.30)

Bristol United 29-31 Gloucester United (Sunday)

Harlequins A v Exeter Braves (19.30)


Team News:


Northampton Wanderers v Wasps A


15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Howard Packman, 13 Nafi Tuitavake, 12 James Wilson, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Mitchell, 1 Campese Ma’afu, 2 Charlie Clare, 3 Gareth Denman, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 5 Jordan Onojaife, 6 Sion Bennett, 7 Lewis Ludlam, 8 Sam Dickinson.

Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Adam Parkins / Matt Beesley, 19 Alex Moon, 20 Devante Onojaife, 21 Tom Emery, 22 Juan Pablo Estelles, 23 George Furbank.


15 Owain James, 14 Tom Howe, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Brendan Macken, 11 Guy Armitage, 10 Connor Eastgate, 9 Craig Hampson, 1 Tom Bristow, 2 Tom Cruse, 3 Phil Swainston, 4 Will Rowlands, 5 Marcus Garrett, 6 Ali Bone, 7 Jack Willis, 8 Alex Rieder.

Replacements: 16 George Edgson, 17 Jarod Leat, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Ehize Ehizode, 20 Tom Willis, 21 Alex Smit, 22 Alapati Leiua, 23 Jacob Umaga.


Sale Jets v Leicester Tigers A


15 Charlie Ingall, 14 Nick Scott, 13 Conor Wilkinson, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Jordan Dorrington, 10 Tom Morton, 9 Conor Dever, 1 James Flynn, 2 Curtis Langdon, 3 Diogo Ferriera, 4 Lou Reed, 5 George Nott, 6 Matt Roberson, 7 Andy Hughes (c), 8 Laurence Pearce.

Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews, 17 Jake Pope, 18 Derek Salisbury, 19 Matt Postlethwaite, 20 Tom Curry, 21 Ben Curry, 22 George Peel, 23 James Bailey.


15 Harry Simmons, 14 Sam Yawayawa, 13 Jack Roberts, 12 Oli Bryant, 11 George Catchpole, 10 George Worth, 9 Sam Harrison, 1 Michele Rizzo, 2 Harry Thacker (c), 3 Fraser Balmain, 4 Harry Wells, 5 Joe Maksymiw, 6 Will Owen, 7 Will Evans, 8 Luke Hamilton.

Replacements: 16 Harry Mahoney, 17 Riccardo Brugnara, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Sam Lewis, 20 Fred Tuilagi, 21 Ben White, 22 Charlie Thacker, 23 Jordan Olowofela.


Worcester Cavaliers v Newcastle Falcons A


15 Jon Hughes, 14 Alex Hearle, 13 Max Stelling, 12 Will Butler, 11 Andy Short, 10 Tiff Eden, 9 Alex Glashan, 1 Ryan Bower (c), 2 Freddie Davison, 3 Mike Daniels, 4 Andrew Kitchener, 5 Charlie Hewitt, 6 Ben Fowles, 7 Sam Betty, 8 Ted Hill.

Replacements: 16 Callum Lynch, 17 Derrick Appiah, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 TBC, 20 Tom Dodd, 21 Josh Nott, 22 Robbie Keith, 23 Max Craven.


15 Tom Ffitch, 14 Marcus Watson, 13 Fred Burdon (c), 12 Craig Willis, 11 Zach Kibirige, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sam Egerton, 1 Sam Lockwood, 2 David Nelson, 3 Paddy Ryan, 4 Archie Erskine, 5 Nick Civetta, 6 Harrison Orr, 7 Tyrone Holmes, 8 Joshua Chisanga.

Replacements:16 Santiago Socino, 17 Jack Elkington, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Jamie Blamire, 20 Jack Johnson, 21 Ruaridh Dawson, 22 Charlie Wilson, 23 Dan Marshall.


Bath United v Saracens Storm


15 Will Partington, 14 Levi Davis, 13 Jeff Williams, 12 Rory Jennings (c), 11 Darren Atkins, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Will Homer, 1 Beno Obano, 2 Michael van Vuuren, 3 Max Lahiff, 4 Alex Humfrey, 5 Will Britton, 6 Jake Polledri, 7 Levi Douglas, 8 Josh Bayliss.

Replacements:16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Greg Palmer, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Mike Snook, 20 Alex Weighton, 21 Cameron Brown, 22 Ludi Hopkinson.


15 Andrew Fenby, 14 George Perkins, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Tom Griffiths, 11 Rotimi Segun, 10 Tom Whiteley, 9 Henry Taylor, 1 Richard Barrington, 2 Scott Spurling, 3 Titi Lamositele, 4 Mark Flanagan, 5 Nick Isiekwe, 6 Jack Nay, 7 Kelly Brown (c), 8 Ben Earl.

Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Ralp Adams-Hale, 18 Billy Walker, 19 Byron Hodge, 20 Anthony Maka, 21 Neil De Kock, 22 Rueben Bird-Tulloch, 23 Elliott Obatoyinbo.


Bristol United v Gloucester United


15 Luke Arscott, 14 Auguy Slowik, 13 Thretton Palamo, 12 Nick Carpenter, 11 Elias Caven, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Andy Uren, 1 Jack O’Connell, 2 Chris Brooker, 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 4 Giorgi Nemsadze, 5 Sam Jeffries, 6 Nick Koster, 7 Olly Robinson, 8 Nick Fenton-Wells (c).

Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Ollie Dawe, 18 James Hall, 19 BJ Edwards, 20 Rayn Smid, 21 Alex Haynes, 22 James Newey, 23 Gareth Maule.


15 Carwyn Penny, 14 Tom Seabrook, 13 Tom Hudson, 12 Elliott Creed, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Mat Protheroe, 9 Callum Braley (c), 1 Cameron Orr, 2 Greg Jackson, 3 Josh McNulty, 4 Joe Batley, 5 Tom Denton, 6 Lewis Ludlow, 7 Dan Thomas, 8 Gareth Evans.

Replacements: 16 Joe Mullis, 17 Ciaran Knight, 18 Nicky Thomas, 19 Freddie Clarke, 20 Harry Wilson, 21 Charlie Beckett, 22 Ben Vellacott, 23 Dan Cole.


Harlequins A v Exeter Braves


15 Aaron Morris, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Ross Chisholm, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Luc Jones, 1 Owen Evans 2 Charlie Piper, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Sam Twomey, 5 Charlie Matthews, 6 George Naoupu, 7 Archie White, 8 Mat Luamanu.

Replacements: 16 Karl Gibson, 17 Sam Rodman, 18 Matt Shields, 19 Stan South, 20 Henry Cheeseman, 21 James Lang, 22 Sam Aspland-Robinson, 23 Robbie Nairn.


15 Joe Simmonds, 14 Harrison Cully, 13 Max Bodilly, 12 Tom Hendrickson, 11 James Short, 10 Will Hooley, 9 Jack Maunder (c), 1 Carl Rimmer, 2 Elvis Taione, 3 Moray Low, 4 Ollie Atkins, 5 Sam Skinner, 6 Tom Johnson, 7 Ben White, 8 Sam Simmonds.

Replacements: 16 Shaun Malton, 17 Jack Owlett, 18 Will Norton, 19 Sean Lonsdale, 20 Sam Daly, 21 Joe Snow, 22 Ted Landry, 23 Harry Strong.

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