The U18 Academy League kicked off this weekend with some exceptional fixtures as the future stars of English rugby faced off.
The action actually started a on the 23rd with Harlequins beating London Irish 30-21, but it was this week that saw the action begin in earnest.
On Thursday Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers met for the East Midlands derby. Both have had strong academy programmes in recent times, but on this occasion it was a stirring performance from Saints that did the trick as they beat their great rivals by a stunning 41-13 margin. The young Saints scored 6 tries on their way to victory, with James Grayson, Tosin Segun, and Joe Wallace scoring in the first half before Ollie Sleightholme, Samson Ma’asi, and Sam Cappaert crossed the whitewash in the second half to add the gloss to a sparkling performance.
The action then flowed thick and fast elsewhere. Gloucester were in equally brilliant form, beating the ever-strong Saracens 59-26 for a stunning win at Dean Close School.
There was an important early win for Yorkshire Carnegie too. They beat Newcastle Falcons 34-29 and will be hoping to continue that excellent start to the campaign. Lying second in the senior Championship to London Irish, a good performance from their academy side will no doubt add to the boost that they are feeling.
Over in the South West there was a huge derby between Bath and Bristol, with a number of players playing against their schoolmates. For instance the likes of Millfield’s Cameron Brown and Rhys Davies playing for Bath against their schoolmate James Dun, who was skippering Bristol. Fittingly for such a competitive game, it ended as a 22-22 draw, with both sides drawing plenty of praise.
Wasps’ end to 2016 could not have been better, their senior side took top spot in the Aviva Premiership, while on Friday their Academy secured an excellent victory against Worcester Warriors, 28-17. Both sides, as with all of those on show this weekend, were packed full of outstanding players, including those in our headline photo, Solihull’s Alex Bartley and George Hawkes.
The next round of U18 Academy League fixtures takes place this weekend coming, with fixtures every weekend after that up until the 10th/11th February, followed by the always excellent finals day at Allianz Park.
U18 Academy League Results:
Bath 22-22 Bristol
Gloucester 59-26 Saracens
Newcastle Falcons 29-34 Yorkshire Carnegie
Northampton Saints 41-13 Leicester Tigers
Wasps 28-17 Worcester Warriors
15 Luke Mehson, 14 Callum McTaggart, 13 Will Butt, 12 Tom Elder-Flachi, 11 Will Partington, 10 Tom de Glanville, 9 Cameron Brown, 1 Joe Spiller, 2 Jack Burnett, 3 Kieran Verden (c), 4 Rhys Davies, 5 Tom Jeans, 6 George Hobbs, 7 Harry Short, 8 Dan Curry.
Replacements: 16 Sam Elrick, 17 George Bamsey, 18 Toby Thurston, 19 Ollie Cattell, 20 Connor Beer, 21 Ed Rimmer, 22 Al McKenzie, 23 Miles Gilbert.
15 Charlie Powell (BGS), 14 Tom Hargan (Clifton College), 13 Matt Welsh (Clifton College), 12 James Newey (Bristol Academy), 11 Lailand Gordan (SGS Filton College), 10 Nathan Chamberlain (SGS Filton College), 9 Dominic Sprague (SGS Filton College), 1 Tom Rowland (BGS), 2 Will Capon (BGS), 3 Nick English (SGS Filton College), 4 Sam Tiley (John Cabot), 5 James Dun (c) (Millfield), 6 George Kloska (SGS Filton College), 7 Jack Capon (Bristol Academy), 8 Dan Thurston (SGS Filton College).
Replacements: 16 Tom Honour (SGS Filton College), 17 Kieran Wilson (Castle School), 18 Ignacio Cortes (Argentina Schools), 19 Ethan Organ (Clifton College), 20 Sam Taylor (SGS Filton College), 21 Sam Perry (Hartpury College), 22 Tommy Foot (Hartpury College), 23 Bertie Scoble (QEH).
15 Liam Batty, 14 Zach Ellis 13 Oli Morris, 12 Manu Vunipola, 11 Mark Williams, 10 Charlie Watson, 9 Bryn McCall, 1 Andy Boye, 2 Sam Crean, 3 Kapeli Pifileti, 4 Cameron Boon, 5 Joel Kpoku, 6 Alix Jones, 7 Sean Reffel, 8 Jamie Hoyes.
15 Will Haydon-Wood, 14 Morgan Passman, 13 Liam Checksfield, 12 Charlie Wilson, 11 Shaw Lorimer-Bell, 10 Jake Rodgers, 9 Cameron Kelemeti, 1 Jack Johnson, 2 Brad Clements, 3 Tristan Grant, 4 Josh Gray, 5 Will Montgomery, 6 Jack Hutchinson, 7 Drew Davison, 8 Tom Marshall.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mackay, 17 Reece Amir, 18 Euan Duncan, 19 Alex Hayton, 20 Will Hill, 21 Alex Pantechis, 22 Seb Reece, 23 Fraser McNee.
15 Louis Brown, 14 Rian Hamilton, 13 Jonathan Ashman, 12 Tom Mann, 11 Joe Gatus, 10 Harry Davey, 9 Ollie Fox (c), 1 Billy Nicholls, 2 Will Henshall, 3 Harry Butler, 4 Shaun Crouch, 5 Matt Burke, 6 Elliott Ward, 7 Lewis Wilson, 8 Ben Whyte.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Gibson, 17 Adam Leetham, 18 Will Booth, 19 Chris Jackson, 20 Max Hanson, 21 Sam Wolstenholme, 22 Will Fordy, 23 Jack Bodman.
15 Joe Green, 14 Tosin Segun, 13 Fraser Dingwall, 12 Fraser Strachan, 11 Ollie Sleightholme, 10 James Grayson, 9 Harry Warn, 1 Josh Wacokecoke, 2 Samson Ma’asi, 3 Ehren Painter, 4 Jack West, 5 Alex Coles, 6 Joe Britton, 7 Joe Wallace, 8 Freddie Davies.
Replacements: 16 Luke Riseman, 17 Fraser Thompson, 18 Rhys Charalambous, 19 Matt Waring, 20 Conor Finch, 21 Ryan Hussey, 22 Finn Creighton, 23 Sam Cappaert, 24 Ben Kight.
O Joe Milligan, N Ryan Olowofela, M James Martin, L Harry Clempson, K Chaz Dixon, J Tom Hardwick, I Will Findlay, A Oscar Harper, B Corey Lewis, C Joe Heyes, D Josh Fenner, E Morgan Jones, F Henri Lavin, H Tommy Reffell (c), G Sam Grahamslaw.
Replacements: P Jamie Harding, Q Keston Lines, R Mason Coulam, S Cameron Jordan, T Taylor Gough, U Seb Davies, V Jacob Fewtrell, W Andre Dunn.
15 Nick David (Warwick School), 14 Alex Barley (Solihull School), 13 Dion King (King’s School Worcester), 12 Navarre Haisila Lokotui (Worcester Sixth Form College), 11 Christophe Fostier (Bromsgrove School), 10 Alex Forrester (Hartpury College), 9 George Wootten (Bromsgrove School), 1 Freddie Hemmingway (Hereford Sixth Form College), 2 Beck Cutting (Bromsgrove School), 3 Nick Rigby (Warwick School), 4 Lawrence Weston (Bromsgrove School), 5 James Scott (Malvern College), 6 Ollie Richardson (Warwick School), 7 Charlie Jevons-Fellows (Scots College, Australia), 8 Ted Hill (c) (Worcester Sixth Form College).
Replacements: 16 George Radburn (Worcester Sixth Form College), 17 Max Baggs (Cheltenham College), 18 Kai Owen (Telford College of Arts and Technology), 19 Will Sutton (Worcester Sixth Form College), 20 George Hawkes (Solihull School), 21 Louis Jackson (King Edward VI School Stratford), 22 Jake Leonard (Worcester Sixth Form College), 23 Alex Haselock (Worcester Sixth Form College).