Leicester Tigers and London Irish will meet in the U18 Academy League final after victory this weekend sealed both of their places, despite the competition still having a round to play.
The other sides at finals day, where top in the north meets top in the south in the final, second meets second for third place, and third meets third for fifth, are yet to be finalised. Representing the north will be two of Newcastle Falcons, Worcester Warriors, and Wasps, while in the south one of Saracens, Bath, or Harlequins will finish second, a list that expands to include Bristol Bears and Gloucester in the race for third in the conference.
Leicester Tigers beat Worcester Warriors 31-22 to seal their place as the top finishers in the conference and the only side that remains unbeaten in either conference. The victory for the back to back champions also pushed Worcester Warriors from second place at the start of the day to third by the end, though they are level with Newcastle Falcons.
Newcastle rise from fourth to second came thanks to a 40-19 victory at Yorkshire Carnegie, who are still yet to win a game. It leaves Newcastle level with Worcester and a point clear of Wasps, two clear of Sale Sharks, who started the day in third and finished it in fifth.
That was as a result of a 31-21 defeat away to Wasps, a result that leaves Sale unable to reach finals day, despite being so close, as they have now completed all their games and have a bye next weekend. For Wasps it was a timely victoy, moving them from being four points adrift of a top 3 finish to just one point with a game remaining. They have a tricky task as it is Leicester Tigers they are hosting, but with Leicester already guaranteed to play in the final, there could just be an opening. Worcester Warriors will meanwhile need to make sure Yorkshire Carnegie do not get their first victory, while Newcastle have to get the job done against Northampton Saints.
It was London Irish’s final game of the league section of the campaign this weekend, and they signed off in style, dominating in a 47-19 victory away to Exeter Chiefs to seal the top seeding from the Southern Conference. With a game remaining for the rest, they sit six points clear of second placed Saracens and are therefore guaranteed to be in the final on Sunday 16th February.
Saracens remain in second despite a 24-21 defeat of Gloucester and remain strong contenders to finish either second or third, but defeat cost them the chance to catch London Irish and does leave them vulnerable to the challenge form below, which now also includes Gloucester, whose victory at Allianz Park now means that they can finish third.
As can Bristol Bears, who similarly sprung a surprise by beating Harlequins 32-21. Bristol had started the day bottom of the conference and Harlequins in fourth, by the end Quins were still in fourth, but Bristol had moved to with two points of them.
It should all make for an exciting final round, Saracens and Harlequins meet, with Bath and Gloucester also meeting, likely meaning that the two winners will go through, however with the right combination of results, Bristol could also sneak in, they face bottom of the table Exeter Chiefs.
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U18 Academy League Round 6 Results:
Leicester Tigers 31-22 Worcester Warriors
Yorkshire Carnegie 19-40 Newcastle Falcons
Wasps 31-21 Sale Sharks
Exeter Chiefs 19-47 London Irish
Bristol Bears 32-21 Harlequins
Saracens 21-24 Gloucester
U18 Academy League Tables:
15 Ollie Smith, 14 Josh Lugsden, 13 Cormac Calnan, 12 Matt Potts, 11 Jake Sterland, 10 Charlie Titcombe, 9 Sam Edwards (co-capt), 1 Seb Smith, 2 Archie Vanes (co-capt), 3 Jack Rowntree, 4Bobby Singer, 5 Callum Oakden, 6 Phil Tandoh, 7 Kit Smith, 8 Jordan Tebbatt.
Replacements: 16 Joe Plunkett, 17 Lynx Noumey, 18 Tim Hoyt, 19 Ben Muncaster, 20 Noah Leo, 21 Jed Gelderbloom, 22 Billy Hull, 23 Henry Joule.
15 Fin Morgan, 14 Alex Evans, 13 Harry Spencer, 12 James Mann, 11 Tobi Wilson, 10 Finn Smith (c), 9 Tom Miles, 1 Mitch Reeve, 2 Jon Lilley, 3 Ben Murphy, 4 Charlie Hagen, 5 Ewan Guy, 6 Jack Lewis, 7 Fin Thomas, 8 Jack Forsythe.
Replacements: 16 Joe Richardson, 17 Ben Rowley, 19 Adam Lane, 20 Ollie Wynn, 21 Josh Harrison, 22 Isaac Wilding.
15 Willem Johnson, 14 Amrit Sharma, 13 Obi Ene, 12 Joe Mounsey, 11 Jack Cherry, 10 Tom Georgiou, 9 Tom Parkin, 1 Ed Hasdell, 2 Ethan Myers, 3 Ned Hawker, 4 Harry Gilson-Fox, 5 Kobby Fofie, 6 Olly Tomalin, 7 Jacob Head, 8 George Bennett-Teare.
Replacements: 16 Oscar Stott, 17 Billy Addy, 18 Will Dixon, 19 Seb Lee, 20 Patrick Tablakia, 21 Will Metcalfe, 22 Jonty Mainey, 23 Benedict Quinn.
15 Tom Robinson, 14 Evan Lawther, 13 Ewan Greenlaw, 12 Thomas Moore, 11 Matty Ward, 10 James Blackett, 9 James Naylor, 1 Mark Dormer, 2 Ollie Feltcher, 3 Phil Brantingham, 4 Ben Robson, 5 Innes Hill, 6 Marcus Tiffen, 7 Guy Pepper, 8 Owen Vassallo.
Replacements: 16 Toby Peach, 17 Matty Siddle, 18 Drew Thompson, 19 Sam Shanks, 20 Matty Deehan, 21 Ben Douglas, 22 Nathan Gough, 23 Joe Beaty.
15 Olly Hartley (Whitgift), 14 Luke Bray (RGS High Wycombe), 13 Toby Baldwin (Rugby), 12 Reketi Ma’asi (Harrow), 11 Scott Harman (City of Oxford College), 10 Charlie Atkinson (Abingdon, captain), 9 Ollie Monye (The Oratory), 1 Archie McArthur (City of Oxford College), 2 Dan Eckersley (Bloxham), 3 Max Morphey (City of Oxford College), 4 Alfie Bell (King Henry VIII, Coventry), 5 Fyn Brown (Shiplake College), 6 Jack English (Coventry College), 7 Kofi Cripps (Rugby), 8 Greg Fisilau (City of Oxford College).
Replacements: 16 Andy Petros (City of Oxford College), 17 James Coombs (Abingdon), 18 Isaac Kayada (Rugby), 19 Mason Nicholls (City of Oxford College), 20 Mason Micholls (City of Oxford College), 21 Jack Hughes (Rugby), 22 Tane Dunn (Langley), 23 Ollie Dawkins (RGS High Wycombe).
15 Elliot Gourlay, 14 Cameron Melville, 13 Roma Zheng, 12 Joe Bedlow, 11 Fraser Jones, 10 Patrick Bishop, 9 Eddie Melhuish, 1 Tumy Onasanya, 2 Ethan Caine, 3 Corey Bowker, 4 Nonso Agina, 5 Huw Davies, 6 Alastair Merrill, 7 John Bailey, 8 Ollie Leatherbarrow.
Replacements: 16 Pan Stylianou, 17 Harris Fishwick, 18 Louis Fletcher, 19 Marcus Blake, 20 Alfie Clark, 21 Archie Kellett, 22 Josh Clarke, 23 Sam Carleton.
15 Charlie Levick, 14 Billy Orchard, 13 Kian Gentry, 12 Archie Hill, 11 Frankie Nowell, 10 Iwan Jenkins, 9 Tom Cairns (c), 1 Ethan Pearce-Cowley, 2 Oli Jeffrey, 3 Bailey Williams, 4 Christ Tshiunza, 5 Sam Leworthy, 6 Milo Hallam, 7 Joe Elsworth, 8 Ben Grubb.
Replacements: 16 Matt Pritchard, 17 Dylan Arthur, 18 Cam Leigh, 19 Tommy Woodward, 20 Ellis Baldry, 21 Will Becconsall, 22 Charlie McCaig, 23 Nathan Richmond.
15 Ben Fitzgerald, 14 Harry Arundell, 13 Will Joseph, 12 Matt Barrett, 11 Finley Brown, 10 Monty Bradbury, 9 Rory Morgan, 1 Tarek Haffar, 2 Joe Vajner (c), 3 Joe Keohane, 4 Michael Mason, 5 Edwin Zaimovic, 6 Lucas Brooke, 7 George Davis, 8 Marcus Rhodes.
Replacements: 16 Alessandro Heaney, 17 Mikey Summerfield, 18 Oscar Jansen, 19 Nicholas Teague, 20 Ethan Pawdyira, 21 Dan Ormond, 22 Niall McGann, 23 Jesper Hartikainen.
15 Chay Mullins, 14 Deago Bailey, 13 Harrison Rowson, 12 Dylan Power, 11 Ollie Holliday, 10 Tom Wilstead, 9 Angus Judkins, 1 Andrew Turner, 2 Thomas Gwilliam, 3 George Perry, 4 Spike Jangen, 5 Charlie Rice, 6 George Taylor, 7 Jamie Collier (c), 8 MacEnzie Duncan.
Replacements: 16 Jalen Curry, 17 Tom Sims, 18 Aaron Thompson, 19 Alex Ashton, 20 Mason Hughes, 21 Cal Smith, 22 Jac Lloyd, 23 Matt Jones.
15 Tusler, 14 Ojo, 13 Beard, 12 Bradley, 11 Cleaves, 10 Lynagh, 9 Potter, 1 Ofori-Manteaw, 2 Staples, 3 Baxter, 4 Green, 5 Corbett, 6 Timpson, 7 Alikhan, 8 Johnson.
Replacements: 16 Matthews, 17 Wilding, 18 Stanton, 19 Jibulu, 20 O’Byrne-Nestor, 21 Wyllie, 22 Kolade.
15 Tobias Elliott, 14 Francis Moore, 13 Tom Mills, 12 Josh Robson-Groom, 11 Brandon Jackson, 10 Alex Cahill, 9 Sam Bryan, 1 Tristan Smith, 2 Samson Adejimi, 3 Zack Hill, 4 Kaden Pearce-Paul, 5 Alex Wardell, 6 Toby Ponsford, 7 Callum McGurk, 8 Toby Knight.
Replacements: 16 Ehimen Osebor, 17 Alfie Goater, 18 Terrel Harry, 19 Obinna Nkwocha, 20 Matt Cannon, 21 Charles Favell, 22 Jasper Sorrell, 23 Wilson Ijeh.
15 Goring, 14 Shuttleworth, 13 Hillman-Cooper (cc), 12 Howells, 11 Rowland, 10 Adderly-Jones, 9 Jones, 1 Lascelles, 2 Veness, 3 Reading, 4 Clark, 5 Sprague, 6 Hart, 7 Taylor (cc), 8 Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Hewitt, 17 Tyson, 18 Marshall, 19 Golding, 20 Scriven, 21 Gipson, 22 Humphreys, 23 Baron.
U18 Academy League Results:
Leicester Tigers 25-12 Northampton Saints
Wasps 54-12 Yorkshire Carnegie
Sale Sharks 22-20 Worcester Warriors
Saracens 31-19 Exeter Chiefs
Bristol Bears 18-17 Bath
Gloucester 10-22 London Irish
Newcastle Falcons 42-24 Wasps
Yorkshire Carnegie 28-50 Northampton Saints
Sale Sharks 18-27 Leicester Tigers
Gloucester 36-25 Bristol Bears
London Irish 41-31 Harlequins
Bath 26-14 Saracens
Worcester Warriors 33-21 Wasps
Leicester Tigers 19-0 Newcastle Falcons
Northampton Saints 24-37 Sale Sharks
Harlequins 41-15 Gloucester
London Irish 28-34 Saracens
Exeter Chiefs 7-22 Bath
Yorkshire Carnegie 17-28 Leicester Tigers
Northampton Saints 19-36 Worcester
Newcastle Falcons 29-22 Sale Sharks
London Irish 29-17 Bath
Harlequins 21-12 Exeter Chiefs
Saracens 29-12 Bristol Bears
Northampton Saints 15-52 Wasps
Worcester Warriors 22-19 Newcastle Falcons
Sale Sharks 19-14 Yorkshire Carnegie
Bristol Bears 19-46 London Irish
Gloucester 5-29 Exeter Chiefs
Bath 40-36 Harlequins
U18 Academy League Fixtures
Wasps v Leicester Tigers – Sat 8th Feb, 1pm, Aylesbury RFC
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints – Sat 8th Feb, 2pm, Kingston Park
Worcester Warriors v Yorkshire Carnegie – Sat 8th Feb, 2pm, Sixways
Harlequins v Saracens – Sat 8th Feb, 1.30pm, Surrey Sports Park
Bath v Gloucester – Sat 8th Feb, 2pm, Millfield School
Exeter Chiefs v Bristol Bears – Sat 8th Feb, 2pm, Truro College
Finals Day – Sunday 16th February
Final – Leicester Tigers v London Irish
3rd Place – Newcastle/Worcester/Wasps v Saracens/Bath/Harlequins
5th Place – Newcastle/Worcester/Wasps v Saracens/Bath/Quins/Bristol/Gloucs
Images via Simon Rhodes and Scrumpix – head to http://www.scrumpix.co.uk/apps/wordpress/ for images from the Bath v Harlequins U18 Academy League game last weekend.