Anglo-Welsh Cup: Youngsters shine on long awaited return

The Anglo-Welsh Cup began this weekend after a year long absence due to the Rugby World Cup.


As in previous years, most clubs have decided to use it as a testing ground to young players, giving them 1st XV experience but in a slightly less intense environment.


That paid off handsomely this weekend, with some young stars really showing their potential across all of the games.




The action kicked off on Friday night, with Bath v Leicester at The Rec a real highlight. Leicester won the game 21-20, with great performances from the likes of Will Evans and George Worth, it was the ‘old dog’, Freddie Burns, who steered the ship though.


Bath may have lost, but in the performances of Scotland U20 international Adam Hastings and England U20 international Zach Mercer, they will likely take plenty of satisfaction from a very promising night.


The week got worse for Bristol, who named an experienced side against Worcester Warriors but still went down 31-25. Ex Warwick School star Jamie Shillcock was a driving force for the Warriors at fly half, while former Old Swinford Hospital skipper Max Stelling bagged an exciting brace from 13.


The third game on Friday evening saw Sale Sharks host Wasps on a wet night at the AJ Bell. Sale named a strong side and took a 17-13 victory, but youngsters were still to the fore, with the England U20 Curry twins in the back row showing just how much promise they have. The physicality of top tier rugby appears no barrier for them at all.


Wasps may have lost, but they, like Bath, will take plenty of encouragement from the game. A try for England U20 playmaker Jacob Umaga will have been pleasing, while they even had a schoolboy on the bench in the form of Merchant Taylors’ Will Porter.



Saturday saw two cracking games of rugby, beginning with Gloucester v Saracens. Saracens took a healthy lead into the final quarter, with Ben Spencer becoming the highest points scorer in Anglo-Welsh Cup history, while Tom Whiteley picked up a try on his senior debut in the relatively unfamiliar position of fly half.


Gloucester turned that deficit around magnificently though, sealing a memorable and dramatic 36-22 victory with a last minute David Halaifonua try. Joe Mullis was another to score on his debut, from hooker.


The second game on Saturday saw Harlequins host Exeter Chiefs, for whom the pain continues to come as a young Quins side beat them 29-15. Charlie Walker was the star of the show from Quins, with former England U20 star Aaron Morris a threat too, however it was the oldest man on the pitch, Nick Evans, who was the guiding force that this victory was built upon.




The action was rounded up on Sunday by Northampton Saints’ trip up to Newcastle Falcons. The Saints secured an excellent 24-16 victory. The game was a close affair, with Sam Olver’s four penalties for Northampton Saints a real key for them. It was really decided rather late on though when Scotland U20 international Rory Hutchinson chased down a kick deep into Newcastle territory to score the crucial try that prevented the home side from being able to come back.


Anglo-Welsh Cup Results:



Bath 20-21 Leicester Tigers

Worcester Warriors 31-25 Bristol

Sale Sharks 17-13 Wasps


Gloucester 36-22 Saracens

Harlequins 29-15 Exeter Chiefs


Newcastle Falcons 16-24 Northampton Saints


Team News:



15 Darren Atkins, 14 Jeff Williams, 13 Aled Brew, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Jack Wilson, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Will Homer, 1 Beno Obano, 2 Michael van Vuuren, 3 Shaun Knight, 4 Elliott Stooke, 5 Alex Humfrey, 6 Levi Douglas, 7 Guy Mercer (c), 8 Zach Mercer.

Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Max Lahiff ,18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Tom Ellis, 20 Josh Bayliss, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Rory Jennings.


Leicester Tigers

15 George Worth, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Matt Smith (c), 12 Jack Roberts, 11 George Catchpole, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Jono Kitto, 1 Greg Bateman, 2 Harry Thacker, 3 Fraser Balmain, 4 Harry Wells, 5 Joe Maksymiw, 6 Luke Hamilton, 7 Will Evans, 8 Tomas Leonardi.

Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Riccardo Brugnara, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Tom Croft, 20 Fred Tuilagi, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Oli Bryant, 23 Charlie Thacker.


Worcester Warriors

15 Chris Pennell (c), 14 Josh Adams, 13 Max Stelling, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Andy Short, 10 Jamie Shillcock, 9 Michael Dowsett, 1 Na’ama Leleimalefaga, 2 Jack Singleton, 3 James Johnston, 4 Andrew Kitchener, 5 Charlie Hewitt, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 7 Huw Taylor, 8 Matt Cox.

Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Ryan Bower, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 Justin Clegg, 20 Sam Ripper-Smith, 21 George de Cothi, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Afeafe Haisila Lokotui.



  1. Jack Wallace, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 James Newey, 11 David Lemi (c), 10 Billy Searle, 9 Rhodri Williams, 1 Soane Tonga’uiha, 2 Rob Hawkins, 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 4 Giorgi Nemsadze, 5 Ian Evans, 6 Nick Koster, 7 Olly Robinson, 8.Nick Fenton-Wells.

Replacements: 16 Edd Shervington, 17 Jack O’Connell, 18 James Hall, 19 John Hawkins, 20 Rayn Smid, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Elias Caven, 23 Luke Arscott.


Sale Sharks

15 Tom Arscott, 14 Nev Edwards, 13 Sam Bedlow, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Charlie Ingall, 10 Sam James, 9 Mike Phillips (c), 1 Ross Harrison, 2 Cameron Neild, 3 Brian Mujati, 4 Andrei Ostrikov, 5 Lou Reed, 6 Ben Curry, 7 Tom Curry, 8 Laurence Pearce.

Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 James Flynn, 18 Ciaran Parker, 19 George Nott, 20 Matt Rogerson, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Dan Mugford, 23 Josh Charnley.



15 Owain James, 14 Alapati Leiua, 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 Marcus Garratt, 5 Will Rowlands, 6 Jack Willis, 7 Alex Rieder, 8 Guy Thompson (c).

Replacements: 16 George Edgson, 17 Tom West, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Ehize Ehizode, 20 Alistair Bone, 21 Will Porter, 22 Jacob Umaga, 23 Tom Howe.



15 Mat Protheroe, 14 David Halaifonua, 13 Henry Purdy, 12 Elliott Creed, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Lloyd Evans, 9 Callum Braley, 1 Cameron Orr, 2 Joe Mullis, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 4 Charlie Beckett, 5 Joe Batley, 6 Freddie Clarke, 7 Dan Thomas, 8 Lewis Ludlow (c).

Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Paul Doran-Jones, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Harry Wilson, 20 Will Safe, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Tom Hudson, 23 Harry Robinson.



15 Andrew Fenby, 14 Mike Ellery, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Tom Griffiths, 11 Matt Gallagher, 10 Tom Whiteley, 9 Ben Spencer, 1 Richard Barrington, 2 Scott Spurling, 3 Vincent Koch, 4 Mark Flanagan, 5 Nick Isiekwe, 6 Joel Conlon, 7 Kelly Brown (c), 8 Samu Vunisa.

Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 18 Billy Walker, 19 Jack Nay, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Nathan Earle, 23 George Perkins.



15 Aaron Morris, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 James Lang, 11 Alofa Alofa, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Charlie Mulchrone, 1 Mark Lambert, 2 Joe Gray, 3 Will Collier, 4 Stan South, 5 Charlie Matthews, 6 James Chisholm, 7 Dave Ward (c), 8 Mat Luamanu.

Replacements: 16 Charlie Piper, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Adam Jones, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Luc Jones 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Ross Chisholm.


Exeter Chiefs

15 Phil Dollman, 14 Max Bodilly, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Sam Hill, 11 James Short, 10 Will Hooley, 9 Jack Maunder (c), 1 Ben Moon, 2 Shaun Malton, 3 Greg Holmes, 4 Ollie Atkins, 5 Jonny Hill, 6 Dave Ewers, 7 Ben White, 8 Tom Johnson.

Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Moray Low, 18 Billy Keast, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Tom Lawday, 21 Stuart Townsend, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Harry Strong.


Newcastle Falcons

15 Alex Tait (c), 14 Marcus Watson, 13 Fred Burdon, 12 Craig Willis, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Michael Young, 1 Sam Lockwood, 2 Ben Sowrey, 3 David Wilson, 4 Will Witty, 5 Andrew Davidson, 6 Ally Hogg, 7 Tyrone Holmes, 8 Callum Chick.

Replacement: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Rob Vickers, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Glen Young, 20 Joshua Chisanga, 21 Sam Egerton, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Dominic Waldouck.


Northampton Saints

15 James Wilson, 14 Howard Packman, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Tom Kessell, 1 Ethan Waller, 2 Charlie Clare, 3 Paul Hill, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 5 Christian Day (c), 6 Jordan Onojaife, 7 Jamie Gibson, 8 Lewis Ludlam.

Replacements: 16 James Fish, 17 Matt Beesley, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Alex Moon, 20 Devante Onojaife, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Juan Pablo Estelles, 23 Jamie Elliott.

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