Aviva A League: Teams named for Bath v Saracens, while 6 U20s feature in the Premiership openers


The Aviva A League gets off to an early start this season, with Bath United hosting Saracens Storm at 17.30 on Friday.


The two sides contain plenty of exciting young talent, with Bath United starting former Millfield star Darren Atkins at full back, with his former schoolmates Sam Nixon and Josh Bayliss at hooker and openside.


Alongside Bayliss in the back row is his England U20 teammate Zach Mercer, with former Bryanston star Rory Jennings at inside centre and former Denstone College and England U18 wing Levi Davis alongside Atkins in the back three.


It will be an interesting head to head at number 8, with Mercer there for Bath and former Tonbridge man Ben Earl, who also captained England U20 last year, at number 8 for Saracens Storm.


Their England U20 teammate, Jack Nay, is at blindside for Saracens, along with other member of this year’s U20 side, Ralph Adams-Hale, at loosehead, and Max Malins at fly half, who is also vice captain.


Among the other young stars for Saracens are former Whitgift fullback Matt Gallagher and ex Stowe wing Rotimi Segun, with Tom Whiteley and Dom Morris on the bench alongside Harrow School leavers Sean Reffell and Reuben Bird-Tulloch.


Those are far from the only young stars in action on a professional level this weekend though, with Brighton College leaver Marcus Smith starting at fly half for Harlequins.


The rising star played for England U18 and U20 last year, and last month was named in Eddie Jones’ senior England training camp.


He is one of six players to have played for England U20 last year to be involved in the Premiership this weekend, with Ben Curry starting for Sale, and brother Tom on the bench, fellow England international Nick Isiekwe on the bench for Saracens, and James Grayson and Alex Mitchell on the bench for Northampton Saints, while former U20 stars Lewis Ludlam and Harry Mallinder start at openside and fly half for Saints, respectively.


There will be even more youngsters on show on Monday night though as the Aviva A League really kicks off. In the Northern Conference Sale Jets host Northampton Wanderers, with Wasps A hosting Newcastle Falcons A, while Leicester Tigers A travel to Worcester Cavaliers.


In the Southern Conference there are just two games because of Bath and Saracens’ meeting this evening, Harlequins A host Exeter Braves, while London Irish A, on their return to the competition, host Gloucester United.


Bath United v Saracens Storm – The Rec, 17.30 Kick Off


Bath United XV:

15 Darren Atkins, 14 Levi Davis, 13 Duncan Craig, 12 Rory Jennings, 11 Harry Davies, 10 Josh Lewis, 9 Will Flinn, 1 Will Vaughan, 2 Michael van Vuuren, 3 Sam Nixon, 4 Will Britton, 5 Scott Russell, 6 Jack Davis, 7 Josh Bayliss, 8 Zach Mercer.

Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Arthur Cordwell, 18 Bradley Packham, 19 Chris Barry, 20 Ollie Fox, 21 Robbie de Bruyn, 22 Wil Partington.


Saracens Storm XV:

15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Mike Ellery, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Tom Griffiths, 11 Rotimi Segun, 10 Max Malins (vc), 9 Henry Taylor, 1 Ralph Adams-Hale, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 4 Mark Flanagan, 5 Joel Kpoku, 6 Jack Nay, 7 Joel Conlon, 8 Ben Earl (c).

Replacements: 16 Tadgh McElroy, 17 Sakaosi Pifeoeti, 18 Billy Walker, 19 Danny Cutmore, 20 Sean Reffell, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Rueben Bird-Tulloch, 23 Dom Morris.


Monday’s A League Fixtures:


Northern Conference

Sale Jets v Northampton Wanderers

Wasps A v Newcastle Falcons A

Worcester Cavaliers v Leicester Tigers A


Southern Conference

Harlequins A v Exeter Braves

London Irish A v Gloucester United

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