After a week’s break the Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League returns for Round 6, the penultimate round of the league stage.
It is a crucial stage as after Round 7 the finals placings are confirmed, top in the North will play top in the South in the Final, second will play second for third, and so on and so forth.
Currently Northampton Saints are on top in the North Conference and London Irish are top in the South, however Saints have a bye week so expect their current six point lead at the top to be cut – and if it isn’t, then that will be their final spot confirmed.
Leicester Tigers and Midlands Central are in second and third and are the other two teams that can achieve top spot. In the South things are open, London Irish play their final game of the league campaign as their turn for a bye is next week. Chasing them, and in contention, are Saracens, Harlequins, and Bristol Bears, as well as Bath who have a bye week. All can finish top, though some are more likely than others, Bath for instance need every result to go their way.
So it is going to be a big round of rugby, at the end of which the picture for the final round and who needs to do what to have a chance of finishing top will become very clear indeed.
Round 6 Fixtures & Teams News (Saturday 4th February)
Whether in contention for top spot or not though, there is so much more to play for in these games, potential contracts, pride, and pure enjoyment in wearing the shirt and playing well, and some of the match ups this week are absolutely fantastic.
Leicester Tigers v Midlands West (12pm, Leicester Forest RFC)
Leicester Tigers can make things really interesting with victory on Saturday in their 12pm kick off at Leicester Forest RFC against Midlands West, particularly as third placed Midlands Central will be their final opponents. Tigers are yet to name their side for Saturday’s clash, but Midlands West have made a few changes from the side that drew against Newcastle Falcons last time out. King’s Worcester’s George Tomlinson is promoted from the bench to full back, while Bromsgrove’s Charlie Bemand comes in at scrum half. RGS Worcester’s Loic Keasey takes over the captaincy at hooker, while Luka Jansen van Vuuren of Malvern College moves from the back row to the second row, with Old Swinford Hospital’s Max Truby coming in at 6.
Leicester Tigers: TBA
15 George Tomlinson (King’s Worcester), 14 George Bennett (Stourport High), 13 Matty Walker (Bromsgrove), 12 Frankie Jefferies (Malvern College), 11 Cameron Smith (Malvern College), 10 Jack Condliffe (Stourport High), 9 Charlie Bemand (Bromsgrove), 1 Will Conduit (Stourport College), 2 Loic Keasey (RGS Worcester, captain), 3 Emmanuel Olaleye (Old Swinford Hospital), 4 Luka Jansen Van Vuuren (Malvern College), 5 Tom Hilton (Malvern College), 6 Max Truby (Old Swinford Hospital), 7 Sam Hawes (King’s Worcester), 8 Zach Armstrong (Bromsgrove).
Replacements: 16 George Knowles (Hereford Cathedral), 17 Jacob Tomkinson (Old Swinford Hospital), 18 N/A, 19 Warwick Archer (Hereford 6th form College), 20 Fintan Dowling (KES Birmingham), 21 Billy McDonough (Bromsgrove), 22 Ben Yeo (Bromsgrove), 23 Charlie Whorrod (Warwick).
Midlands Central v Sale Sharks (2pm, Warwick School)
Midlands Central will hope to bounce back after a thrilling but narrow defeat to Saints last time out as they host Sale Sharks at Warwick School, who themselves lost a thriller last time out, to Yorkshire Academy.
Midlands Central make a couple of changes from that side that took on Northampton, City of Oxford College’s Charlie Cranley comes in on the right wing, while up front his schoolmate Cameron Aitchison comes in at loosehead, with Henley College’s Johnson Rabuka in at tighthead.
Sale Sharks meanwhile make quite a few changes, Sebi Krippner of Newcastle-Under-Lyme moves from the left wing to full back, with Sedgley Tigers’ Will Bradley in on the left wing. King’s Macclesfield’s Toby Wilson comes in at inside centre, while Carwyn Edwards steps into the scrum half berth. In the pack Ben Lilley of Knutsford Academy comes in at loosehead, with Kirkham Grammar’s Wills Austin moving from 6 to hooker, Stockport Grammar’s Frank Chatterton is in on the blindside flank.
15 Dan Barnett (Berkhamsted, 14 Charlie Cranley (City of Oxford College), 13 Ryan Sweeting (Rugby, captain), 12 Charlie Myall (City of Oxford College), 11 Will Glister (City of Oxford College), 10 Charlie Mason (St Edward’s, Oxford), 9 Max Blinkhorn (Warwick), 1 Cameron Aitchison (City of Oxford College), 2 Ben Pogson (City of Oxford College), 3 Johnson Rabuka (Henley College), 4 Charlie Bell (Bablake & King Henry VIII), 5 Charlie Moss (Shiplake College), 6 Reueben Logan (Berkhamsted), 7 John Baldwin (Bloxham), 8 Felix Hunt (Bloxham).
Replacements: 16 Beau Delaney (City of Oxford College), 17 Jack Tchape (Sir Henry Floyd’s Grammar), 18 Sam Scott (City of Oxford College), 19 Edward Sharpe (Princethorpe College), 20 Nikita Tutus (Radley College), 21 Reuben Elias (City of Oxford College), 22 Thomas Cunningham (Magdalen College), 23 Will Diver (Shiplake College).
15 Sebi Krippner (Newcastle-Under-Lyme), 14 Albert Bradshaw (Stockport Grammar), 13 Ollie Davies (Kirkham Grammar), 12 Toby Wilson (King’s Macclesfield), 11 Will Bradley (Sedgley Tigers), 10 Rhys James (Wirral Grammar), 9 Carwyn Edwards, 1 Ben Lilley (Knutsford Academy), 2 Wills Austin (Kirkham Grammar), 3 Rhys Dixon (Middlewich High), 4 Darren Low (Kirkham Grammar, captain), 5 James Appleton (Kirkham Grammar), 6 Frank Chatterton (Stockport Grammar), 7 Seb Kelly (Kirkham Grammar), 8 Jack Lightbown (Bolton College).
Replacements: 16 Dan Rourke (St Edward’s College), 17 Johnny Hanson, 18 Leon Tahana, 19 Dan Green, 20 Jos Gilmore, 21 Dominic Hanson (Stockport Grammar), 22 Archie Callaghan (Sedbergh), 23 Owain Williams.
Yorkshire Academy v Newcastle Falcons (2pm, Yarnbury RFC)
Yarnbury RFC plays host to this one and it should be an interesting one after Yorkshire picked up their first victory last time out, while Newcastle had a draw with Midlands West. Both would love a victory this weekend.
Yorkshire have rejigged the backline a touch, Louis Worrall moving from 13 to the right wing with Wellington College’s Lloyd McEwan-Peters moving from 12 to 13 and Louie Platt moving from fly half to inside centre, allowing Charlie Metcalf to come in at fly half. Up front Ashley Lockwood returns to hooker, and Henry Du Boulay returns at number 8.
Newcastle also have a bit of a rejig in the backs, Durham’s Callum Brown moving from 12 to 13 with Harry Rickard of Barnard Castle coming in at inside centre and Keswick’s Oscar Doran returning on the right wing. Up front Sedbergh’s Kane James comes in at number 8 after a stint on the bench last time out, schoolmate Jacob Butterill wears 20.
15 Ned McCormack, 14 Louis Worrall, 13 Lloyd McEwan-Peters, 12 Louie Platt, 11 Thomas Rowe, 10 Charlie Metcalf, 9 Toby Morley (vc), 1 Leon Mudd, 2 Alfie Longstaff, 3 Tye Raymont, 4 Tom Burrow (c), 5 Anthony McCormack, 6 Matthew Leatham, 7 Jonny Freeman, 8 Henry Du Boulay.
Replacements: 16 Seb Easterby-Gray, 17 Oliver Fretwell, 18 David Mpofu, 19 Oliver Barker, 20 Archie Hurford, 21 Charlie Borchard, 22 Toby Baker, 23 Matthew Saxby.
15 Ben Redshaw (Sedbergh), 14 Oscar Doran (Keswick), 13 Callum Brown (Durham), 12 Harry Rickard (Barnard Castle), 11 Tom Burton (Sedbergh), 10 Dan Woodwock (Cockermouth), 9 Joe Davis (Barnard Castle), 1 Isaac Keller (Gosforth Academy), 2 Jacob Oliver (Barnard Castle), 3 Sam Graham (Durham), 4 Connor Bowran (Gosforth Academy), 5 Finn Baker (Sedbergh), 6 Tom Cressey (RGS Newcastle), 7 Archie Fletcher (Newcastle School for Boys), 8 Kane James (Sedbergh).
Replacements: 16 Ryan Shaw (Gosforth Academy), 17 Chris Johnstone (KES Morpeth), 18 Sam Kirkman (Penrith), 19 Riley Thwaites (Aspatria), 20 Jacob Butterill (Sedbergh), 21 Nicko Sykes (Newcastle School for Boys), 22 Junior Newton (Sedbergh), 23 Lucas Rowell (Gosforth Academy).
Bristol Bears v Harlequins (7.30pm, Dings Crusaders)
A crucial game at Dings Crusaders to round off Saturday’s entertainment. The winners will be bang in contention for top spot, while for the losers that will be their chances of top spot gone.
Bristol lost a close one to table toppers London Irish last time out but haven’t made too many changes. Louis Nancekivell of Bristol Grammar comes in on the right wing, while Clifton College’s Fin Fielder gets a start at fly half. Louie Trevett, the Clifton College and England man, returns at loosehead, with SGS Filton College’s Joachim Hullah coming in to the second row, Sonny Davis of SFS Filton College comes in at 7, with Clifton College’s Tom Gardner moving from 7 to 8.
Harlequins lost a thriller to Bath in round 5 but it was a strong performance and an unchanged starting lineup supports that. On the bench Whitgift fly half Ethan Fitzgerald and Brighton College centre Ethan Dando get opportunities, along with Dando’s schoolmate James Davies.
15 Jake Smith (Collegiate), 14 Louis Nancekivell (Bristol Grammar), 13 Isaac Campbell-Wu (Clifton College), 12 Jacob Mitchell (Clifton College), 11 Tom Ormsby (Redland Green), 10 Fin Fielder (Clifton College), 9 Sam Morton-Smith (Hartpury College), 1 Louie Trevett (Clifton College), 2 Oscar Simms-Preston (SGS Filton College), 3 George Payne (Clifton College), 4 Ollie Thraves (QEH), 5 Joachim Hullah (SGS Filton College), 6 Joe Wooler (Clifton College, captain), 7 Sonny Davis (SGS Filton College), 8 Tom Gardner (Clifton College).
Replacements: 16 Arthur Davis (SGS Filton College), 17 Louis White (Collegiate), 18 Kenzie Jenkins (Coleg y Cymoedd), 19 Archie Prewett (SGS Filton College), 20 Jamie Howick (Wellington School), 21 Ted Phillips (Clifton College), 22 Eamonn Rogers (Clifton College).
15 Conor Byrne (Trinity), 14 Tom Humphreys (RGS Guildford), 13 Frank McMillan (Bhavsic), 12 Sean Kerr (Whitgift), 11 Jack Thomas (Churcher’s College), 10 Josh Bellamy (Trinity), 9 Lucas Friday (Trinity), 1 Richard Twitchen (Seaford College), 2 Jimmy Staples (Seaford College), 3 Jamie Miller (Whitgift), 4 Theo Currie (Gordon’s) 5 Hal Kennedy (Emanuel), 6 Ronan Daniell (Hurstpierpoint College), 7 Will Peart-Smith (Trinity), 8 Lucas Schmid (Epsom College).
Replacements: 16 Enock Addai (Gordon’s), 17 N/A, 18 Kane Fleary (Trinity), 19 James Davies (Brighton College), 20 Roma Matebalavu (Trinity), 21 Matt Wickham (Reigate Grammar), 22 Ethan Fitzgerald (Whitgift), 23 Ethan Dando (Brighton College).
Exeter Chiefs v London Irish (12.30pm, Truro College)
The search for a first win of the campaign continues for Exeter Chiefs, while for London Irish this is a chance to stay top of the table in this their final game of the league campaign. A vital game for both.
Chiefs missed out against Gloucester last time out and have made a few changes, Truro College’s Josh Golden Clarke comes in at full back, with Exeter College’s Louie Drennan moving from there to outside centre, while schoolmate Jeremy Tuima comes in at 12. Truro College’s Will Tanswell is in for a first start at scrum half, while in the back row Kingsbridge’s Pip Berton-Race starts on the blind side flank.
Stowe’s Noah Cowan returns at scrum half for London Irish, while Bishop Wand’s Brandon Vince returns at tighthead and takes over the captaincy with Finn Worley-Brady injured. Sam Lee therefore comes in at openside.
15 Josh Golden Clarke (Truro College), 14 Bobby Wiggington (Exeter College), 13 Louie Drennan (Exeter College), 12 Jeremy Tuima (Exeter College), 11 Rhys Williams (Truro College), 10 Benjamin Coen (Blundell’s), 9 Will Tanswell (Truro College), 1 Josh Mann (Truro College), 2 Lucas Gulley (Exeter College), 3 Harry Rodwell (Exeter College), 4 Charlie Everard (Truro College), 5 Oscar Beckerleg (Truro College), 6 Pip Berton-Race (Kingsbridge RFC), Barnaby Elderkin (Truro College), 8 Ben Hobbs (Exeter College).
Replacements: 16 George Edson (Truro College), 17 Callum Arnold (Exeter College), 18 Ben Ellis Jeavons (Exeter College), 19 Bobby Pond (Exeter College), 20 Max Ferguson (Exeter College), 21 Jed Findlay (Exeter College), 22 Sam James (Truro College), 23 Nick Lilley (Exeter College).
15 Ben Frampton (Wellington College), 14 Theo Williamson (Bishop Wand), 13 George Staveley (Wellington College), 12 Charlie Griffin (Harrow), 11 Sam Rockley (Bishop Wand), 10 Louie Heard (Bishop Wand), 9 Noah Cowan (Stowe), 1 Ralph McEachran (Bishop Wand), 2 Kepueli Tuipulotu (Harrow), 3 Brandon Vince ((Bishop Wand, captain), 4 Louis Brickley (London Oratory), 5 Mario Ikumola-Andre (Bishop Wand), 6 Tayo Adegbemile (St Albans), 7 Sam Lee, 8 Jack Lee (Millfield).
Replacements: 16 George Goodridge (Bishop Wand), 17 Ralph Hawker (Wellington College), 18 Philip Truscott (Harrow), 19 Edward Bachelor (Bishop Wand), 20 Michael Morgan (Bishop Wand), 21 Jonny Sharp (Henley College), 22 Cameron Ellis (Harrow), 23 Finlay Wiseman (Hampton).
Saracens v Gloucester (1pm, StoneX)
Another big one, victory for Saracens keeps them in touch and with a chance of overhauling London Irish next week, meanwhile Gloucester are fresh from a first victory of the campaign last time out and will surely fancy more.
Saracens had a bye last week and make a few changes from the side that edged out Bristol Bears in Round 4. Finn Newton of Haileybury starts at fullback, stwiching from the left wing, where The Judd’s Angus Hall comes in. Saracens Academy’s Declan Murphy therefore moves from full back to scrum half. King’s Canterbury’s Lucas Eule comes in at hooker, while Haileybury’s Charlie Nunn is in at tighthead, Westcliff High’s Jake Bausor is in the second row, which sees Berkhamsted’s James Boylan move to the blind side flank.
Gloucester have plenty of changes, second row and captain Mikey Nixon is out, so Dean Close’s Ioan Jones takes over the captaincy and The Crypt’s Ollie Workman comes into the second row. Hartpury College’s Berian Williams gets a start at tighthead, while in the back row Cheltenham College’s TJ Fanolua moves from 6 to 8, with Hartpury College’s Joe Pauling in at 6 and Dean Close’s Ollie Allport in at 7.
15 Finn Newton (Haileybury), 14 Toby Clinch (Finborough), 13 Lance Kruger (Finborough), 12 Oscar Wilson (Oaklands College), 11 Angus Hall (The Judd), 10 Benjy Mills (Brentwood), 9 Declan Murphy (Saracens Academy), 1 Alex O’Driscoll (Berkhamsted), 2 Lucas Eule (King’s Canterbury), 3 Charlie Nunn (Haileybury), 4 Jake Bausor (Westcliff High), 5 Junior Kpoku (Finborough), 6 James Boylan (Berkhamsted), 7 Charlie West (St Albans), 8 Barney Merrett (Sutton Valence).
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker (Hartpury College), 17 Ikhi Osebor (Haileybury), 18 Max Wheeler (North Kent College), 19 Dylan Enskat (Ravens Wood), 20 Gabriel Nott (Berkhamsted), 21 Ewan Entwistle (Hayes), 22 Louie Sinclair (Finborough), 23 Joe Robinson (Haileybury).
15 Ioan Jones (Dean Close, captain), 14 Jack Cotgreave (Hartpury College), 13 Ollie Rendell (Sir Thomas Rich’s), 12 Max Knight (Hartpury College), 11 Steff Gibson (Hartpury College), 10 Billy Benson (Dean Close), 9 Charlie Rainbird (Hartpury College), 1 Harrison Bellamy (Hartpury College), 2 Jamie Fallon (Hartpury College), 3 Berian Watkins (Hartpury College), 4 Bart Godsell (Marling), 5 Ollie Workman (The Crypt), 6 Joe Pauling (Hartpury College), 7 Ollie Allport (Dean Close), 8 TJ Fanolua (Cheltenham College).
Replacements: 16 Sam Loftus (Sir Thomas Rich’s), 17 Ed Wallin (Apprentice), 18 Rio Halavatau (St Peter’s, Gloucester), 19 Tom Anson (Hartpury College), 20 Solomon Shand (Hartpury College), 21 Rhys Price (Hartpury College), 22 Woody Walker (Radley College), 23 Joe Eves (Hartpury College).
Leicester Tigers 27-24 Northampton Saints
Midlands Central (Wasps) 26-26 Yorkshire Academy
Sale Sharks 27-17 Midlands West (Worcester)
Bristol Bears 26-14 Bath
Gloucester 17-29 London Irish
Saracens 59-17 Exeter Chiefs
Newcastle Falcons 21-32 Midlands Central (Wasps)
Sale Sharks 12-61 Leicester Tigers
Yorkshire Academy 14-52 Northampton Saints
Gloucester 15-25 Bristol Bears
London Irish 22-19 Harlequins
Saracens 52-21 Bath
Round 3 Results
Leicester Tigers 22-29 Newcastle Falcons
Midlands West (Worcester) 26-29 Midlands Central (Wasps)
Northampton Saints 36-14 Sale Sharks
Exeter Chiefs 19-36 Bath
Harlequins 41-14 Gloucester
London Irish 21-17 Saracens
Round 4 Results
Newcastle Falcons 17-10 Sale Sharks
Northampton Saints 44-0 Midlands West
Yorkshire Academy 15-24 Leicester Tigers
Harlequins 31-7 Exeter Chiefs
London Irish 12-15 Bath
Saracens 10-7 Bristol Bears
Round 5 Results
Midlands West 14-14 Newcastle Falcons
Northampton Saints 31-29 Midlands Central
Sale Sharks 38-43 Yorkshire Academy
Bath 24-20 Harlequins
Bristol Bears 12-17 London Irish
Gloucester 48-19 Exeter Chiefs
Round 7 (Saturday 11th February)
Midlands Central v Leicester Tigers (2pm, Warwick School)
Midlands West v Yorkshire Academy (2pm, Sixways)
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints (2pm, Kingston Park)
Bath v Gloucester (12.15pm, Allington Fields)
Exeter Chiefs v Bristol Bears (2.30pm, Truro College)
Harlequins v Saracens (Sunday, 1.30pm, Cobham RFC)
Finals Day – TBC, 18th/19th February