U18 Academy League: Preview & Team News ahead of penultimate round

The penultimate round of the U18 Academy League takes place this weekend with Finals Day spots up for grabs.


In the Northern Conference it will be Worcester Warriors’ final game of the league season as they have a bye next round, so too London Irish in the Southern Conference.
The top 3 from each conference will go through to finals day, where first will play first for the title, second v second for third, and third v third for fifth place.


Northern Conference


Leicester Tigers went top of the conference last week with a thumping win over the previous leaders, Wasps. They travel this week to Yorkshire Carnegie, who have just one win to their name. Tigers are led by Wyggeston & QE College flanker Taylor Gough, with the Oakham half back pairing of Jack Van Poortvliet and Sam Costelow guiding them around the park. Yorkshire meanwhile are led by Pocklington loosehead Ben Carlile, with Woodhouse Grove’s Joe Green the vice-captain at scrum half.


A bonus point win for Leicester Tigers could well secure them a place in the final. They are level with Wasps but with a superior points difference, so a bonus point win should effectively give them a free hit next week, assuming they do not suffer a heavy defeat.


Sale Sharks sit in third and having reached last year’s final, they will be determined to get back there. They travel to Franklin’s Gardens to take on Northampton Saints on Saturday lunchtime. Saints sit at the foot of the table without a win, but with the likes of England U18 winger Ollie Sleightholme in the team, they pose plenty of threats.
Sale have plenty of stars in their side though, including Kirkham Grammar School’s Kieran Wilkinson, and a number of Sedbergh pupils, not least Tom Curtis and Bevan Rodd. However with Cameron Redpath playing for England U20 on Friday, as an U18, they are missing their biggest star.


The final game in the North is Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons. Neither is in the top 3, but the winner could well make it through, while the loser will almost certainly be cut adrift.


Worcester’s side is packed with players from their AASE side, Worcester 6th form College, but they also include players from the surrounding schools, not least rising star Ollie Lawrence from Bromsgrove. Newcastle Falcons include two young stars that this week signed professional terms to permanently join the club when they finish school, full back Josh Hodge, and scrum half Cameron Kelemeti.


Southern Conference


Gloucester sit at the top of the table with four wins from four, the only side across either conference with that record. They are led by Cheltenham College centre Tom Stanton and face a tricky task away to a Harlequins side that have found some good form over the last couple of weeks and have a side packed with young talent, including the likes of Jack Reid and Sam Riley, who were among 8 Quins named in the England U17 development squad.


Gloucester are guaranteed a place in the top two, and only Exeter Chiefs can unseat them from top spot, and even that would require Gloucester losing at least one of their last two games.


Before Exeter even begin to think of that though, they will be focusing on a tough challenge on Friday night when they travel to Allianz Park to take on third place Saracens, who are level with Harlequins and in a real scrap for that final top 3 place. A win over Exeter though and they would end the Senior Premiership champions’ hopes of top spot and would jump into second place.


Exeter are led by Blundell’s scrum half Sam Maunder, brother of England international Jack, while Saracens are led by Harrow’s Tobias Munday at number 8, one of three Harlequins in the squad.


The final game in the North sees the SGS Filton College dominated Bristol, led once again by Bristol Grammar School hooker Will Capon, host London Irish. They sit in the bottom two places in the table, with London Irish, featuring the likes of Philip Cokanasiga and in the centres and Ben Atkins at hooker, sitting at the very foot and without a win. With this being their last game, they will be desperate to finish off with a win.


As always, if you have any videos, photos, or reports from the weekend’s U18 Academy League rugby, please feel free to send them in via Twitter (@FifteenRugbyXV), Facebook (www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby), Instagram (@fifteenrugbyxv), or through email (writers@fifteenrugby.com).


U18 Academy League Round 6 Fixtures:


Northern Conference

Northampton Saints v Sale Sharks – Saturday, 1pm, Franklin’s Gardens

Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons – Saturday, 1pm, Sixways

Yorkshire Carnegie v Leicester Tigers – Saturday, 3pm, Keighley RUFC


Southern Conference

Bristol v London Irish – Saturday, 2pm, SGS Filton College

Harlequins v Gloucester – Saturday, 1.30pm, Surrey Sports Park

Saracens v Exeter Chiefs – Friday, 7pm, Allianz Park


U18 Academy League Table – Northern Conference
Pos Team P W D L BPs Points
1 Leicester Tigers 4 3 1 0 3 17
2 Wasps 5 3 1 1 3 17
3 Sale Sharks 4 2 0 2 3 11
4 Worcester Warriors 5 2 0 3 1 9
5 Yorkshire Carnegie 4 1 1 2 2 8
6 Newcastle Falcons 4 1 1 2 2 8
7 Northampton Saints 4 0 2 2 3 7


U18 Academy League Table – Southern Conference
Pos Team P W D L BPs Points
1 Gloucester 4 4 0 0 3 19
2 Exeter Chiefs 4 3 0 1 3 15
3 Saracens 4 2 1 1 3 13
4 Harlequins 4 2 1 1 3 13
5 Bath 5 1 1 3 3 9
6 Bristol 4 1 0 3 2 6
7 London Irish 5 0 1 4 3 5


Round 5 Results:


Northern Conference

Sale Sharks 66-17 Worcester Warriors

Wasps 5-52 Leicester Tigers

Yorkshire Carnegie 15-15 Northampton Saints


Southern Conference

Bristol 19-36 Harlequins

Exeter Chiefs 19-14 Bath

London Irish 21-21 Saracens


Round 4 Results:


Northern Conference

Leicester Tigers 42-12 Worcester Warriors

Newcastle Falcons 14-33 Sale Sharks

Wasps 26-14 Yorkshire Carnegie


Southern Conference

Bath 36-36 Harlequins

Exeter Chiefs 38-19 Bristol

Gloucester 20-19 London Irish


Round 3 Results:


Northern Conference

Newcastle Falcons 41-27 Northampton Saints

Wasps 22-19 Sale Sharks

Worcester Warriors 20-19 Yorkshire Carnegie


Southern Conference

Gloucester 41-33 Exeter Chiefs

London Irish 41-50 Bath

Saracens 38-25 Bristol


Round 2 Results:


Northern Conference

Sale Sharks 6-16 Leicester Tigers

Newcastle Falcons 24-24 Wasps

Northampton Saints 20-26 Worcester Warriors


Southern Conference

Bath 10-66 Gloucester

Exeter Chiefs 48-17 London Irish

Harlequins 12-23 Saracens


Round 1 Results:


Northern Conference

Leicester Tigers 31-31 Northampton Saints

Worcester Warriors 12-55 Wasps

Yorkshire Carnegie 33-19 Newcastle Falcons


Southern Conference

Bristol 32-14 Bath

London Irish 29-43 Harlequins

Saracens 31-34 Gloucester


Team News:


Northampton Saints

15 Cameron Sharpe, 14 Josh Gillespie, 13 Sam Cappaert, 12 Connor Tupai, 11 Ollie Sleightholme, 10 Tyler Mills, 9 Fin Creighton, 1 Fraser Thompson, 2 Samson Ma’asi, 3 Jack Hughes, 4 Marshall Sykes, 5 Kayde Sylvester, 6 Connor Finch, 7 Joe Wallace (c), 8 Tom Addison.

Replacements: 16 Ed McDowell, 17 Luke Risman, 18 Mitchell Brown, 19 Harry Charter, 20 Emmanuel Iyogun, 21 Sam Connor, 22 Ollie Betteridge, 23 Morgan Dayes.


Sale Sharks

15 Nathan Pope, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Connor Doherty, 12 Tom Curtis, 11 Tom Walsh, 10 Kieran Wilkinson, 9 Gus Warr, 1 Bevan Rodd, 2 Ewan Ashman, 3 Cal Ford, 4 Rouban Birch, 5 Conor James, 6 Jack Hill, 7 Teddy Leatherbarrow, 8 Sam Dugdale.

Replacements: 16 Liam Davies, 17 Alex Brooks, 18 Sam Higginson, 19 Owen Roberts, 20 Charlie Papworth, 21 Will Davies, 22 James Rooney.


Worcester Warriors

15 Noah Heward (Solihull), 14 Alex Haselock (Worcester 6th Form College), 13 Paul Wells (Worcester 6th Form College), 12 Ollie Lawrence (Bromsgrove), 11 Rob Lester (Worcester 6th Form College), 10 Louis Jackson (KES Stratford), 9 Jake Leonard (Worcester 6th Form College), 1 Lewis Holsey (Solihull), 2 Jamie White (Worcester 6th Form College), 3 Max Baggs (Cheltenham College), 4 George Parker (Worcester 6th Form College), 5 Tom Fawcett (Warwick), 6 George Bates (King’s Worcester), 7 Will Higgins (Idsall), 8 Oli Thorneywork (Warwick).

Replacements: 16 Josh Olver (Droitwich Spa), 17 Tom Furnival (Worcester 6th Form College), 18 Ben Woodland (Worcester 6th Form College), 19 Tom Berry (RGS Worcester), 20 Ben Turner (Bromsgrove), 21 Will Lane (Malvern College), 22 Josh Phipps (Hartpury College), 23 Charlie Gamble (Worcester 6th Form College).


Newcastle Falcons

15 Josh Hodge, 14 Morgan Passman,13 Chidera Obonna, 12 Theo Manihera, 11 Harry Jackson, 10 Callum Pascoe, 9 Cameron Kelemeti, 1 Will Elliott, 2 Joe Lashley, 3 Reece Amir, 4 Ethan Clarke, 5 Rob Farrar, 6 Jamie Adamson, 7 Mason Lewthwaite, 8 Tom Marshall.

Replacements: 16 Alistair Blackett, 17 Phil Brantigham, 18 Freddy Lockwood, 19 Patrick Cooper, 20 Will Petiffer, 21 Jack Peter, 22 Nathan Henderson, 23 Will Roberts.


Yorkshire Carnegie

15 Joe Carpenter (Woodhouse Grove), 14 Joe Gatus (QEGS), 13 Andre Robson (Durham), 12 Kieran Wilyman (Woodhouse Grove), 11 Jacob Mounsey (QEGS), 10 Dan Lancaster (Bishop Burton), 9 Joe Green (vc) (Woodhouse Grove), 1 Ben Carlile (c) (Pocklington), 2 Lawrence Mason (Bishop Burton), 3 Billy Nichols (Benton Park), 4 Adam Hopkinson (Silcoates), 5 Matt Burke (Woodhouse Grove), 6 Max Hanson (QEGS), 7 Harry Williams – Bishop Burton), 8 Edan Kelly (QEGS).

Replacements: 16 Adam Brown (St Peter’s, York), 17 Conner Hancock (Bishop Burton), 18 Callum Hancock (Bishop Burton), 19 Fraser Reed (Fulford), 20 Ted Wainwright (Ripon), 21 George Wright (Rishworth), 22 Tom Stephenson (QEGS), 23 Jack Bodman (Hill House), 24 James Willis (Ripon), 25 James MaGee (Sedburgh).


Leicester Tigers

15 Freddie Steward (Norwich), 14 Zack Godfrey (Stamford), 13 Ronnie Du Randt (Denstone College), 12 Andre Dunn (Langley), 11 Will Poland (Bishop Vesey’s GS), 10 Sam Costelow (Oakham), 9 Jack Van Poortvliet (Oakham), 1 Keston Lines (Wyggeston & QE College), 2 Finlay Gibson (Brooksby Melton College), 3 Joe Latham (Wyggeston & QE College), 4 George Martin (Brooksby Melton College), 5 Xander Purcell (Wyggeston & QE College), 6 Taylor Gough (Wyggeston & QE College) (c), 7 Sam Eveleigh (Leicester GS), 8 Thom Smith (Langley).

Replacements: 16 Jamie Harding (Denstone College), 17 Alex Maxwell (Brooksby Melton College), 18 James Whitcombe (Woodhouse Grove), 19 Dave Koelman (Stamford), 20 Joe Browning (Denstone College), 21 Jonny Law (Rugby), 22 Harry Glynn (Leicester GS), 23 Sam Wager (Wyggeston & QE College).



15 Ioan Lloyd (Clifton College), 14 Jack Bates (SGS Filton College), 13 Charlie Powell (Bristol GS), 12 Soloman Hutchings (Clifton College), 11 Will Hines (Redland Green), 10 Nathan Chamberlain (SGS Filton College), 9 Blake Boyland (SGS Filton College), 1 Sean Ihegie (Cabot), 2 Will Capon (Bristol GS), 3 Jay Burley (SGS Filton College), 4 George Brazier (Clifton College), 5 Ben Tothill (SGS Filton College), 6 Ethan Organ (Clifton College), 7 Tomi Adgebite (Cabot), 8 George Kloska (SGS Filton College).

Replacements: 16 Ben Morgan (Cotham), 17 Harry Samuel (Hartpury College), 18 Owen Evans (SGS Filton College), 19 Chris Moseley (SGS Filton College), 20 Finn Langford (SGS Filton College), 21 Ben Roach (SGS Filton College), 22 Tom Wilstead (Colston’s), 23 Bertie Scoble (U19, St Mary’s Uni).


London Irish

15 Ronan Maloney, 14 Dan Stoller, 13 Cieran McGann, 12 Philip Cokanasiga, 11 Ben Harris, 10 Edward Morgan, 9 Sam Clough, 1 Jamie Henson, 2 Ben Atkins, 3 Brandon Baker, 4 Ben Donnell, 5 James Griffiths, 6 Jez Traynor, 7 Gwilym Bradley, 8 Josh Smart.

Replacements: 16 Nathan Langdon, 17 Luke Green, 18 Oisin Kearney, 19 Doug Armes, 20 Toby Smith, 21 Gruffydd Williams, 22 Jack Jesty, 23 Victor Nzotele.


Harlequins (from)

Forwards: S Riley (St George’s, Weybridge), J Morris (Whitgift), B Mott (Tonbridge), J Salomon (Whitgift), A Salomon (Whitgift), K Sassone (Sevenoaks), H Tizard (Cranleigh), G Hammond (Whitgift), D Cuthbert (City of London Freemens), V Everitt (Hartpury College), J Reid (Wellington College), J Kenningham (Reed’s), H Glover (Harrow).


Backs: J Botterill (Fulbrook), F Sofolarin (Dulwich College), C Englefield (St Paul’s CC), J Potter (St John’s, Leatherhead), S Jardine (Dulwich College), H Hyde (Cranleigh), L Anyanwu (Christ’s Hospital), J Searle (Brighton College), H Barlow (Cranleigh), L Smith (Brighton College).



15 Reece Dunn, 14 Jack Curtis, 13 Tom Stanton, 12 Isaac Marsh, 11 Jacob Morris, 10 George Barton, 9 Ewan Fenley, 1 Olly Adkins, 2 Morgan Nelson, 3 Jack Bartlett, 4 Archie Tarbuck, 5 Joe Howard, 6 JJ Tonks, 7 Bailey Watts, 8 Cameron Terry.

Replacements: 16 Bertie Stretch, 17 Shay O’Malley, 18 Alex Hunt, 19 Josh Gray, 20 Dec Fissenden, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 Jack Reeves, 23 Louis Rees-Zammitt.



15 Max Bliss (Dulwich College), 14 Jake Morris (Bishop Stortford College), 13 Ade Lipede (Whitgift), 12 Charlie Watson (King’s Canterbury), 11 David Jimoh-Ibrahim (New Hall), 10 Manu Vunipola (Harrow), 9 Matteo Petrozzi (Tonbridge), 1 Sam Crean (Harrow), 2 Kapeli Pifleti (Haileybury), 3 Harry Sturge (Felsted), 4 Jonathan Kpoku (Oaklands College), 5 Cameron Boon (Bishop Stortford College), 6 Ethan Benson (Hayes), 7 Dylan Taylor (Tonbridge), 8 Tobias Munday (Harrow, captain).

Replacements: 16 Theodore Dan (Alleyn’s), 17 Edward Thompson (Eltham College), 18 Harvey Beaton (Sutton Valence), 19 Matas Jurevicius (Hayes), 20 Alfie Scopes (Tonbridge), 21 Josh Barton (Berkhamsted), 22 Oliver Bluck (New Hall), 23 Tom Walker (Felsted).


Exeter Chiefs

15 Robbie Weeks, 14 Kian Atkinson, 13 Francesco Scardamaglia, 12 Luke Flack, 11 Archie Hill, 10 Olly Toomey, 9 Sam Maunder (captain), 1 Alfie Petch, 2 Will Ridout, 3 Elliot Salt, 4 Lewis Pearson, 5 Joseph Parker-Cook, 6 Flynn Elworthy, 7 Richard Capstick, 8 Rus Tuima.

Replacements: 16 Harvey Dunn, 17 Oliver Andrews, 18 Henry Trudgill, 19 Jake Clemson, 20 Cory Teague, 21 James Tait, 22 Devon Jewsbury, 23 Dan Lilley.

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