Week two of the U18 Academy games saw some fantastic performances by teams and individuals from around the country as a huge number of players got their chance to pull on their Academy shirts.
Off the field it was a significant weekend for Academy level rugby, too, with Premiership Rugby creating Twitter and Instagram accounts promoting and celebrating Academy rugby and, crucially, aiming to share team sheets and results, details that have not been forthcoming from a number of quarters, and huge credit must go to Will Roberts of Young Ruby for his work in pushing the conversation.
For instance Exeter Chiefs, Worcester Warriors, and Sale Sharks have not published their team sheets from the weekend’s action. With so many players likely playing this level of rugby for the last time, it feels such a shame not to be able to celebrate their achievement properly.
Hopefully, after a rest week this coming weekend, those teams more reluctant to share will be joining the likes of Newcastle Falcons, Northampton Saints and the Yorkshire Academy, in particular, in really promoting their young teams in week’s three and four as so many of the players play their final games for these teams and we all try to celebrate the joy of simply being back playing rugby after such an absence.
On the field it was a good weekend for Gloucester, who backed up last weekend’s victory over Leicester with an impressive victory over Worcester Warriors, 31-17. Senior Academy player Joe Howard was actually roped in to write their match report, and a fine job he did, descrbing eloquently the work of the side led by Sir Thomas Rich’s Rob Nixon, and with Cleeve’s Sam Anson, and Dean Close’s Albert Taylor earning his praise. Worcester Warriors sadly did not publish their team sheet.
Newcastle Falcons also made it back to back victories as they beat Wasps by a stunning 68-22 margin, to add to their defeat of Sale Sharks the last time out. It was all the more extraordinary given the side that Wasps had out, featuring the likes of RGS High Wycombe’s Ollie Dawkins, Merchant Taylors’ Aaron Florestien, and the second row combination of King Henry VIII Coventry’s Alfie Bell and Shiplake College’s Fyn Brown, all four of whom are turning pro this summer.
Newcastle play fast, attacking, tough rugby though and in Barnard Castle’s Guy Pepper they have an openside of serious potential who was at his very best on Sunday, playing alongside Marcus Tiffen, and Ewan Greenlaw, who will also turn pro this summer, not to mention the likes of Mark Dormer, James Naylor, Jake Metcalfe, and Matty Deehan. All in all a performance of real joy from Newcastle Falcons en route to a hugely impressive outcome.
It is two from two for Saracens as well, they won a high scoring thriller v Northampton Saints in week one, and on Saturday they took on London Irish in another close game, falling in their favour 15-7. Both sides featured boat loads of exciting young players, with the tighthead battle between London Irish’s Mikey Summerfield, of Hartpury College, and Saracens’ Zack Hill, of Oaklands College, one that was a real clash of two top schoolboy stars. So to Berkhamsted’s Jasper Sorrell at 12 for Saracens up against Wellington College’s Monty Bradbury, slightly out of position, for London Irish. Unsurprisingly with such players on show, it ended as an incredibly tight game.
Elsewhere Leicester Tigers bounced back well from last week’s close defeat to Gloucester with a win at Bath in another tight game, 28-21. Both teams’ line ups looked really exciting, with some terrific match-ups such as Charlie Barraclough and Jasper Spandler going head to head at hooker for Tigers and Bath respectively, or Ciaran Donoghue v Joe Woodward at inside centre.
In the end it was a thrilling game, exactly the short everyone would want after so long off, with plenty of running rugby from both sides and fair credit to Bath for keeping the side that has won or shared the last three U18 Academy League titles in a row within touching distance on such a wet an horrible day.
The final side to make it two from two this weekend was Exeter Chiefs, who backed up last week’s win over Worcester Warriors with a 24-22 victory at Bristol Bears. Little info, including the team sheet, has come from Exeter Chiefs, but up against a Bristol side featuring the likes of Colston’s JJ Williams and Clifton College’s Jac Lloyd at the half back positions, it takes an impressive performance to get past them. In a common theme of the weekend, though, it was a tight game – four of the games finished with a 7 point difference or closer.
Northampton Saints also bounced back this week to defeat a strong Harlequins side 22-15, Norwich scrum half Jake Garside, by all accounts, proving particularly impressive. He was one of a couple of contracted players in the Saints side, number 8 Geordie Irvine of Oundle being the other.
Harlequins looked good too though, led jointly by King’s Canterbury’s Ludo Kolade and Seaford College’s Jonny Green. With two more games to come, both of these sides are worth paying plenty of attention to.
Finally then to Sale Sharks v Yorkshire Academy, where Sale bounced back from last week’s defeat to Newcastle to secure a 36-17 victory. Unfortunately no team sheet of info has been forthcoming, but it was another decent performance from Yorkshire, for whom last week’s performance at Wasps was a real boost after such an uncertain last 12 months or so for them in particular. Once again Hymers College’s Ben Copley led the side and no doubt they will bounce back well for their next game under his stewardship.
It’s a week’s break until the next round of games, all of wish should represent another chance for these talent young players to get out on the field, enjoy themselves, and show the very best of their abilities as this most bizarre of 2020/21 seasons, last a mere month, heads towards a close.
Image Credit: Isabella Murray
U18 Academy Results Week 2
Bristol Bears 22-24 Exeter Chiefs
Gloucester 31-17 Worcester Warriors
Bath 21-28 Leicester Tigers
London Irish 7-15 Saracens
Northampton Saints 22-15 Harlequins
Sale Sharks 36-17 Yorkshire Academy
Newcastle Falcons 68-22 Wasps
15 Ellis Davies, 14 Gabbe Lacey, 13 Joe Jenkins, 12 Sam Worsley, 11 Ewan Skuse, 10 Jac Lloyd, 9 JJ Williams, 1 Tom Sims, 2 Isaac Bell, 3 Jimmy Halliwell, 4 Edward Harvey, 5 Paddy Pearce, 6 Aaron Till, 7 Jamie Collier (c), 8 Macenzzie Duncan.
Replacements: 16 Max Pullen, 17 Herbie McMullin, 18 Billy Moran, 19 Charlie Cox, 20 Morgan Jones, 21 Archie Stapleton, 22 Henry Hawkins, 23 Archie Grayson.
Exeter Chiefs: Not Published
15 Iwan Glynn, 14 Ben Peters, 13 Tom Samak, 12 Conor Murphy, 11 Archie Hossack, 10 Morgan Adderley-Jones, 9 Joe Adams, 1 James Lascelles, 2 George Merritt, 3 James Pollard, 4 Danny Eite, 5 Albert Taylor, 6 Tom Worts, 7 Ellis Hart, 8 Rob Nixon (c).
Replacements: 16 Dom Hey, 17 Will Hurn, 18 Henry Pearson, 19 Sam Anson, 20 Nathan Thomson-Lee, 21 Will Anderson. TR Conor Maguire
Worcester Warriors: Not Published
15 Will Morris, 14 Kofi Barton-Byfield, 13 Ethan Hawtin, 12 Ciaran Donoghue, 11 Max Ashton, 10 Sam Harris, 9 Freddie Charles, 1 Kobi Joyce, 2 Jasper Spandler (c), 3 Archie Maggs, 4 George Shaw, 5 Josh Dingley, 6 Will Jeanes, 7 Tom Ahl, 8 Max Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Jac Therrien, 17 Ellis Baker, 18 JJ O’Connell-Wozniak, 19 Ben Lemos, 20 Archie McKibben, 21 Ieuan Davies, 22 James Redman, 23 Ben Adams, 24 Will Parry.
O – Phoenix Laulu Togaga’e, N – Sam Jacques, M – George Loose, L – Joe Woodward, K – Ben Moore, J – Jack Vernum, I – Jed Gelderbloom, A – Jack Hurst, B – Charlie Barraclough, C – Seb Smith, D – Finn Carnduff, E – Rob Carmichael, F – Josh Manz, H – Simon Koroivadi, G – Ant Pedlar.
Replacements: Max Nolan, Jacob Odams, Chester Owen, Callum Richardson, Ollie Arnold, Fergus Makepeace, Morgan Meredith, Oscasr van Deventer, Max Fairlie.
15 D Walsh (St Paul’s Catholic College), 14 Daniel (Mill Hill), 13 J Walsh (St Paul’s Catholic College), 12 Bradbury (Wellington College), 11 Davis (St Paul’s Catholic College), 10 Peppiatt (Harrow, vc), 9 Allan (Bishop Wand), 1 Hayhow (Pangbourne College), 2 Scott (Pangbourne College, c), 3 Summerfield (Hartpury College), 4 Harding (St Paul’s Catholic College), 5 Gleeson (City of London Freemen’s), 6 Fearnley (St Paul’s Catholic College), 7 Kirkham (Bishop Wand), 8 Pal Byrne (St Benedict’s).
Replacements: 16 Fasogbon (Bishop Wand), 17 O’Byrne (Wellington College), 18 Stirling (Harrow), 19 Pereira (Peter Symonds’ College), 20 Kaloudau Taylor (St Paul’s Catholic College), 21 Cross (Hampton).
15 James Norman (Hemel Hempstead), 14 Francis Moore (Oaklands College), 13 Jenson McInulty (Sutton Valence), 12 Jasper Sorrell (Berkhamsted), 11 Micaal McFarlane (Skinners’), 10 Tobias Elliott (Berkhamsted), 9 Charlie Bracken (St Albans), 1 Alfie Goater (Sutton Valence), 2 Ehimen Osebor (Haileybury), 3 Zack Hill (Oaklands College), 4 Obinna Nkwocha (Felsted), 5 Will Hunt (Sutton Valence), 6 Nathan Michelow (Sutton Valence), 7 Luca Fahy (Berkhamsted), 8 Callum McGurk (Haileybury).
Replacements: Freddie Chapman (Oaklands College), Charlie Galligan (Sutton Valence), Christiaan Cavalli-Warby (Haileybury), Anthony Mark (Ashford), Max Butler (King’s Rochester), Isaac Shaw (Dulwich College), Connor Moyse (Eltham College), Daniel Onochie-Williams (Mill Hill).
15 George Hendy, 14 Harry Rayfield, 13 Sonny Rodella, 12 Toby Thame, 11 Jack Leggate, 10 Ewan Baker, 9 Jake Garside, 1 Sam Ferrari, 2 Craig Wright, 3 Leroy O’Neil, 4 Tom Charter, 5 Rory Ward, 6 George Lavender, 7 Joe Gaffan, 8 Geordie Irvine.
Replacements: 16 Aston Gradwick-Light, 17 Oakley Patmore, 18 James Bennett, 19 Ted Reid, 20 Keon Sylvester, 21 Kieran Gilmour, 22 Archie Keen, 23 Harvey Sharpe, 24 Max Rayfield.
15 Conor Oresanya (John Fisher), 14 Ethan Knight (Hampton), 13 Bruno Perry (Seaford College), 12 Ludo Kolade (King’s Canterbury, co-captain), 11 Jake Golding (Cranleigh), 10 Joe Payne (John Fisher), 9 Jake Murray (Whitgift), 1 Tosin Teriba (Gordon’s), 2 Jack Doorey-Palmer (Worthing College), 3 Caleb Ashworth (Gordon’s), 4 Jonny Green (Seaford College, co-capain), 5 Harry Browne (Brighton College), 6 Jonny Smith (Brighton College), 7 Seb Driscoll (Whitgift), 8 Zac Carr (Dulwich College).
Replacements: 16 Ethan Clark (Worthing College), 17 George Papa (Trinity), 18 Ben Elsey (Gordon’s), 19 Louis Phipps (Gordon’s), 20 Josh Shaw (St John’s, Leatherhead), 21 Murdoch Lock (Wellington College), 22 Enzo Peterson (Caterham), 23 Toby Kemp (Cranleigh), 24 Ben Waghorn (John Fisher).
Sale Sharks: Not Published
15 B Turpin, 14 B Horberry, 13 O Ene, 12 J Mounsey (vc), 11 W Johnson, 10 T Parkin, 9 W Metcalfe, 1 C Murphy, 2 J Norbury, 3 T Bairstow, 4 L Guthrie, 5 B Carpenter, 6 B Copley (c), 7 B Markey, 8 O Tomalin.
Replacements: 16 L Inman, 17 E Hasdell, 18 N Hawker, 19 E Harrison, 20 H Mathew, 21 J Harris, 22 J Baker, 23 G Gilgrass.
15 Nathan Gough, 14 Michael Graham, 13 Archie Thompson, 12 Ewan Greenlaw, 11 Jake Metcalfe, 10 Josh Leslie, 9 James Naylor, 1 Mark Dormer, 2 Charlie Smith, 3 Michael Rewcastle, 4 Ollie Mullarkey, 5 Innes Hill, 6 Marcus Tiffen, 7 Guy Pepper, 8 Matty Deehan.
Replacements: 16 Tom Hill, 17 Matty Siddle, 18 Sam Birbeck, 19 Will Hodgson, 20 Ben Pettifer, 21 Freddie Nickalls, 22 Harry Williams, 23 Murray McGregor.
15 Ollie Dawkins, 14 Billy Kugera, 13 Aras Ivanauskas, 12 Ryan Sweeting, 11 Eparama Rokodrava, 10 Will Evans, 9 Lorenzo Gasillo, 1 Max Morphey, 2 Harry Silman, 3 Asher Opokku, 4 Alfie Bell, 5 Fyan Brown, 6 Alex Rakatou, 7 Liam Jones, 8 Aaron Florestein.
Replacements: 16 Kian Jones, 17 Luke Nunn, 18 Joe Farmer, 19 Jack Pargetter, 20 Mason Winterburn, 21 Jack Allinson, 22 Charlie West, 23 Reuben Logan.