Academy Rugby: Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League | Final Round Review

U18 Academy League Round 7 Review (1200 × 676px)

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After 7 tense rounds of action, the league stage of the 2023/24 U18 Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League is over.

 

Northampton Saints and Bath will meet in the final at Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium on Sunday 18th March after toping the North and South pools.

 

Every side will be at Kingsholm each playing their counterpart finisher from the opposite pool as the compete for their final placings, and after that fantastic final round of action that means Sale Sharks and Exeter Chiefs, two sides in staggering form, meeting to play for third, Midlands West and Saracens for fifth, Leicester Tigers and Bristol Bears for 7th, 9th will be between Midlands Central and London & South Central, with Yorkshire Academy and Harlequins going head to head for 11th, and Newcastle Falcons and Gloucester for 13th.

 

Round 7 Results

 

North

Leicester Tigers 33-17 Midlands Central – Saturday, Loughborough Uni, 2pm

Northampton Saints 54-17 Newcastle Falcons – Saturday, Franklins Gardens, 4.30pm

Yorkshire Academy 31-38 Midlands West – Saturday, Doncaster Knights, 2pm

Sale Sharks – Bye

 

Northampton Saints’ task was a simple one, win the game to win the pool, but the nerves associated with such a task have caused many a side to falter. Not so Saints, at Franklin’s Gardens they were utterly magnificent in a 54-17 victory over Newcastle Falcons that displayed exactly why they are going to next week’s final. For Newcastle it was a tough outing, and unfortunately leaves them at the foot of the table, playing to avoid 14thplace at Kingsholm. For Saints though, potential glory awaits.

 

Midlands West wanted to hold on to third place and they duly did, but what a game it was that took them to that position. Yorkshire Academy had picked up their first victory last week, and played with the confidence of a side that had found their stride. Both sides exchanged points and tries aplenty, but in the end it was the visitors, Midlands West, that sealed the 38-31 victory at Doncaster Knights, securing third in the process and a place in the fifth place play off against Saracens. For Yorkshire though, the two losing bonus points created distance for them ahead of Newcastle, and they will be relishing Sunday’s 11th place play off against Harlequins.

 

Leicester Tigers and Midlands Central meanwhile went head to head, with both looking to bounce back from defeat last time out and both going into it able to finish anywhere from third to fifth. Midlands West took third away as a possibility, but there two were playing for position and a place in the 7th place play off and it was the home side, Leicester Tigers, that pieced together the performance, securing a 33-17 victory that will see them take on Bristol Bears at Kingsholm. Midlands Central will, meanwhile, face London & South Central in the 9thplace play off.

 

South

Bristol Bears 31-39 Exeter Chiefs – Saturday, Dings Crusaders, 4pm

Gloucester 19-39 Bath – Saturday, Kingsholm, 1pm

Saracens 52-14 Harlequins – Sunday, StoneX, 1pm

London & South Central – Bye

 

As in the North, in the South the task was simple for Bath – win and they go to the final. They did just that, heading to Kingsholm to take on bottom placed side Gloucester and putting in an excellent performance. It was not quite Northampton Saints’ level of dominance, but it was an outstanding display from this Bath side for a 39-19 victory, leaving them with a maximum 30 league points from 30 available. They are the only side in either conference to go unbeaten, and they will be heading to Kingsholm again on Sunday absolutely buoyant with confidence. Gloucester will be frustrated to finish at the foot of the pool, but on home turf they will be well supported as they seek to avoid 14th against Newcastle.

 

Exeter Chiefs were in position to claim top spot in Bath slipped up. The slip up never came but Exeter still showed exactly why they have been so highly thought of in recent weeks, surviving a huge Bristol Bears performance and comeback at Dings Crusaders to secure a thrilling 39-31 victory and a place in the third place play off against Sale Sharks. Given the form of those two, that should be an incredible game. Bristol meanwhile finish up in fourth, giving them a 7th place play off against Leicester Tigers.

 

The league stage of the campaign finished up on Sunday lunchtime with a London derby between Saracens and Harlequins and the StoneX, and as final home performances go, it was about as good as it gets from Saracens as they ran in a stunning eight tries for a 52-14 victory. It was a magnificent performance, one that saw them rise from fifth to third in the table, setting up a fifth place play off at Kingsholm against Midlands West. Harlequins will have been stung by the defeat, but will be eager to bounce back quickly for their 11thplace play off against Yorkshire Academy.

 

Standings

 

North Group

PosTeamPWDLBPsPoints
1Northampton Saints6501727
2Sale Sharks6411624
3Midlands West6411220
4Leicester Tigers6303517
5Midlands Central6204513
6Yorkshire Academy610559
7Newcastle Falcons610537

 

South Group

PosTeamPWDLBPsPoints
1Bath6600630
2Exeter Chiefs6501727
3Saracens6303618
4Bristol Bears6303416
5London South Central6204715
6Harlequins610548
7Gloucester610537

 

Finals Day – Sunday 18th February, Kingsholm Stadium

 

Final: Northampton Saints v Bath

3rd Place: Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs

5th Place: Midlands West v Saracens

7th Place: Leicester Tigers v Bristol Bears

9th Place: Midlands Central v London & South Central

11th Place: Yorkshire Academy v Harlequins

13th Place: Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester

 

Team News

 

Leicester Tigers:

15 Frasier Edwards (Newcastle-Under-Lyme), 14 Freddie Snary (Norwich), 13 Harvey Nkrumah (Norwich), 12 James Egerton (Stamford), 11 Tobias Spencer (Norwich), 10 Tom Threlfall (Nottingham HS), 9 Jack Dickens (Trent College), 1 Bronson Mellowes (Brooksby Melton), 2 Jamie Longyear (Denstone College), 3 Ben Beere (Stamford), 4 George Marsh (Gresham’s), 5 Harry Palmer (Brooksby Melton), 6 Joshua Brahoua (King’s Grantham), 7 Lawrence Adediran (Brooksby Melton), 8 Ralfie Willott (Brooksby Melton, captain).

Replacements: 16 Fergus Hanna (Brooksby Melton), 17 Euan Fern (Brooksby Melton), 18 Tubuna Maka (Brooksby Melton), 19 Tate Skinner (Old Swinford Hospital), 20 Henry Nanka-Bruce (Brooksby Melton), 21 Sam Dickens (Trent College), 22 Oliver Docherty (Oakham), 23 Samson Shute (Brooksby Melton).

 

Midlands Central:

15 George Pearson (City of Oxford College), 14 Nathaniel Kayada (Rugby), 13 Jack Randall (Sedbergh), 12 Thomas Cunningham (Magdalen College), 11 Emosi Nabakeke (Queen Ethelburga’s), 10 Charlie Mason (St Edward’s Oxford, captain), 9 Harry Eckersall (Wellington College), 1 George Alexander (City of Oxford College), 2 Sean O’Donnell (Hereford 6th form College), 3 Lasha Asatiani-Kalandadze (Bishop Vesey’s GS), 4 Ade Oyeyemi (Henley College), 5 Ethan Surrey (City of Oxford College), 6 Jake Roberts (Rugby), 7 Matt Bridge (City of Oxford College), 8 Matt Sell (St Edward’s Oxford).

Replacements: 16 Michael Onobhayedo (Magdalen College), 17 Diamond Ayiehfor (Warwick), 18 Gruff Williams (City of Oxford College), 19 Harry Bewley (St George’s, Harpenden), 20 Freddie Walton (Magdalen College), 21 Kieran Edwards (City of Oxford College), 22 Oscar Talbot (Rugby), 23 Charlie Morgan-Stephens (City of Oxford College)

 

Northampton Saints:

15 Edoardo Todaro, 14 Ben Agbenu, 13 Henry Lumley, 12 Billy Pasco (c), 11 Rafe Witheat, 10 Louis Haley, 9 Jonny Weimann, 1 Tom Dye, 2 Robert Gaffan, 3 Sonny Tonga’uhia, 4 Tom Ross, 5 Ollie Hull, 6 Kieran Perkins, 7 Rhys Harries, 8 Alfie Hoyles.

Replacements: 16 Ed Delaney, 17 Reon Gilbert-Joseph, 18 Aiden Ainsworth-Cave, 19 Mark Miska Alvarez, 20 Ben Currie, 21 Tom Addison, 22 Louis Burns.

 

Newcastle Falcons:

15 Josh Bailey (Gosforth Academy), 14 James Bent (Gosforth Academy), 13 Rhys Beeckmans (Gosforth Academy), 12 Josh Farley (Gosforth Academy), 11 Huw Lloyd (Gosforth Academy), 10 Junior Newton (Sedbergh), 9 Reuben Dyer (Gosforth Academy), 1 Aidan Stewart (Sedbergh), 2 Ryan Shaw (Gosforth Academy), 3 Sam Graham (Durham), 4 Patrick Hogg (Durham, captain), 5 Harry Wildridge (Yarm), 6 Jacob Butterill (Sedbergh), 7 Charlie Turnbull (Sedbergh), 8 Reuben Parsons (Gosforth Academy).

Replacements: 16 Harry Bellamy (Sedbergh), 17 Lincoln Vuna (Gosforth Academy), 18 Elvis Kitenge-Fuki (Gosforth Academy), 19 Aaron Nokes (Gosforth Academy), 20 Dan Toole (Durham), 21 Joe Davis (Barnard Castle), 22 Osea Navuso (Richmond 6th form College), 23 Charlie Lawson (Gosforth Academy).

 

Yorkshire Academy:

15 Callum Hyland-Dugbo (Woodhouse Grove), 14 Anesu Chindove (St Peter’s, York), 13 Vojtech Nevicky (Mount St Mary’s), 12 Lloyd McEwan-Peters (Wellington College), 11 Thomas Rowe (Woodhouse Grove), 10 Louie Platt (Mount St Mary’s), 9 Gabriel Horberry (Harrogate GS), 1 Lucas Oxley (St Peter’s, York), 2 Alfie Longstaff (Woodhouse Grove, captain), 3 Oliver Fretwell (Bishop Burton College), 4 Callum Russell (Bishop Burton College), 5 Fraser Perry (Hill House), 6 Josh Oke (Ampleforth College), 7 Archie Hurford (Woodhouse Grove), 8 Oliver Spencer (Grammar School at Leeds).

Replacements: 16 Seb Easterby-Gray (Queen Ethelburga’s), 17 N/A, 18 Myles Lyster (Kirkham GS), 19 Anthony McCormack (Bishop Burton College), 20 Harry Tunningley (Hill House), 21 Harry Peyton (Grammar School at Leeds), 22 Isaac Firth (Birkdale), 23 Aiden Doeg (St Peter’s, York).

 

Midlands West: 15 Joe Johnston (North Leamington College), 14 Charlie Whorrod (Warwick), 13 Henry Williams (Hartpury College), 12 Henry Parsons (Bromsgrove), 11 Ellis Deans-Smith (Hartpury College), 10 Ned Collins (Hereford 6th form College), 9 Harvey Shaw (Hartpury College), 1 Harrison Osborne (Bromsgrove), 2 George Knowles (Hereford Cathedral), 3 Lewys Perkins (Stourport HS), 4 Tom Roberts (Hartpury College), 5 Dan Halkon (RGS Worcester), 6 Monty Oliver (Malvern College), 7 Fintan Dowling (KES Birmingham), 8 Ben Gowland (Stourport HS).

Replacements: 16 Chrishome Afriyie (Haberdashers’ Abraham Darby), 17 Jeremy Akena (Stourport HS), 18 Rory Blyth (Hereford 6th form College), 19 Tom Hilton (Malvern College), 20 Henry Black (Hereford 6th form College), 21 Brendan Colley (Bromsgrove), 22 David Petrescu (Newport HS), 23 Haydn Lewis (Hartpury College).

 

Bristol Bears:

15 Tom Bowen, 14 Louis Nancekivell, 13 Victor Worsnip, 12 Jamie Howick, 11 Josh Sheppard, 10 Fin Fielder, 9 Oscar Green, 1 Jan Davidson, 2 Charlie Manship, 3 Jack Parkinson, 4 Oliver Russell, 5 Harrison Jones, 6 Joachim Hullah, 7 Kieran Hill, 8 Dan Bartlett.

Replacements: Hodgson, Kent, Mills, Lant, Gealy, Williams, Boshoff.

 

Exeter Chiefs:

15 Jed Findlay, 14 Noah Clifford, 13 Nick Lilley, 12 Rhys Richards, 11 Rhys Williams, 10 Freddie Hirst, 9 James Howard, 1 Josh Mann, 2 Tyler Bayley, 3 Ben Woodmansey, 4 Luke Evans (c), 5 Mawgen Warren, 6 Tom Dingle, 7 Freddie Rolls, 8 Xan Retallack.

Replacements: 16 Ted Hocking, 17 Jack Sherratt, 18 Albert Dowse, 19 Jacob Lewis, 20 Ben Harris, 21 Josh Pengilly, 22 Israel Akinrowo, 23 Luca Brano.

 

Gloucester:

15 Woody Walker (Radley College), 14 Raph Campbell (King’s Gloucester), 13 Ollie Rendell (Sir Thomas Rich’s), 12 Billy Benson (Dean Close), 11 Ieuan Rowlands (Hartpury College), 10 Taite Fortey (Hartpury College), 9 Piers Fortey (St Peter’s, Gloucester), 1 Billy Kerslake (Wycliffe College), 2 Ruben Cummings (Hartpury College), 3 Ellis Allen (Hartpury College), 4 Jonno Balding (Radley College), 5 Jay Evans (Sir Thomas Rich’s), 6 Solomon Shand (Hartpury College), 7 Caio James (Hartpury College, captain), 8 Olly Allport (Dean Close).

Replacements: 16 Leo Mullis (King’s Gloucester), 17 Tom Ring (King’s Gloucester), 18 Josh Hanson (Cheltenham College), 19 Freddie Ogden-Metherell (Dean Close), 20 Kealan Freeman-Price (Hartpury College), 21 Rio Ebanks (Hartpury College), 22 Jack Hopson (Dean Close).

 

Bath:

15 Harry Walker (Beechen Cliff), 14 Callum Kingsbury (Monkton Combe), 13 Jack Harrison (Beechen Cliff), 12 Steffan Emanuel (Millfield), 11 Julian Nunn (Beechen Cliff), 10 James Linegar (Kingswood), 9 Sam Gane (Beechen Cliff), 1 Theo Malik (Dauntsey’s), 2 Evan Gallagher (Kingswood), 3 Leo Palmer (Kingswood), 4 Alex Deering (Millfield), 5 Alfie Blackett (Beechen Cliff), 6 James Maloney (Marlborough College), 7 Ed Elliott (Marlborough College), 8 Connor Treacey (Beechen Cliff, captain).

Replacements: 16 Henry Bonetti (Millfield), 17 Sam Janaway (Canford), 18 Oliver Cartwright (Beechen Cliff), 19 Charlie Ward (Kingswood), 20 Fred Kempton (Beechen Cliff), 21 Isaac Mears (Beechen Cliff), 22 Owen Erasmus (Millfield), 23 Henry Bartlett (Beechen Cliff).

 

Saracens:

15 Jack Bracken (St Albans), 14 Finn Newton (Haileybury), 13 Fraser Rawlins (Haileybury), 12 Angus Hall (The Judd, co-captain), 11 Charlie Griffin (Harrow), 10 Alex Nagele (Berkhamsted), 9 Asa Stewart-Harris (St Albans), 1 Josh Twigg (St George’s, Harpenden), 2 Lewis Young (Sutton Valence), 3 Finn Bloomer (Richard Hale), 4 Charlie Barker (Ashford), 5 Tayo Adegbemile (St Albans, co-captain), 6 Zach Johnson (Tonbridge), 7 Charlie West (St Albans), 8 Gabriel Nott (Berkhamsted).

Replacements: 16 Frank Kitchen (The Judd), 17 Rohan Burke (Ipswich), 18 Amen Ogunsanya, 19 Finn White (Sedbergh), 20 Alfie Marks (Gravesend GS), 21 Rafa Varona Blakstad (Mill Hill), 22 Leo Elder (St Albans).

 

Harlequins:

15 Ben Webb (Gordon’s), 14 Elliot Southworth (Hartpury College), 13 Morgan Purnell (Gordon’s), 12 Ed Tusler (Hurstpierpoint College), 11 Zuko Robb (Gordon’s), 10 Felix Bateman-Champain (Worth), 9 Sam Line (Whitgift), 1 Jamie Miller (Whitgift), 2 Jimmy Staples (Seaford College), 3 Ollie Streeter (Gordon’s), 4 Jack O’Kelly (Henley College), 5 Nathan Ventham (Brighton College), 6 Milo Rayner-Parkin (Hurstpierpoint College), 7 Ashton Graham (Gordon’s), 8 Tate Williams (Worth).

Replacements: 16 Connor Van Lille (Newman College), 17 Jaylan Ryan-Coker (John Fisher), 18 Adam Beney (Gordon’s), 19 Tom Maslen (Wellington College), 20 Rory Minton (Seaford College), 21 Izaak Manuel (Eton College)

 

Past Results

 

Round 1

 

North

Midlands West 22-22 Sale Sharks

Northampton Saints 75-7 Leicester Tigers

Yorkshire Academy 31-33 Midlands Central

Newcastle Falcons – Bye

 

South

Bath 29-27 Bristol Bears

Exeter Chiefs 44-27 Saracens

London South Central 36-33 Gloucester

Harlequins – Bye

 

Round 2

 

North

Leicester Tigers 40-26 Sale Sharks

Midlands Central 45-14 Newcastle Falcons

Northampton Saints 40-21 Yorkshire Academy

Midlands West – Bye

 

South

Bristol Bears 49-12 Gloucester

Harlequins 35-25 London South Central

Saracens 26-34 Bath

Exeter Chiefs – Bye

 

Round 3 Results

 

North

Midlands Central 19-27 Midlands West

Newcastle Falcons 26-19 Leicester Tigers

Sale Sharks 49-42 Northampton Saints

Yorkshire Academy – Bye

 

South

Bath 34-29 Exeter Chiefs

Gloucester 24-14 Harlequins

Saracens 50-36 London South Central

Bristol Bears – Bye

 

Round 4 Results

 

North

Leicester Tigers 29-12 Yorkshire Academy

Midlands West 19-34 Northampton Saints

Sale Sharks 59-12 Newcastle Falcons

Midlands Central – Bye

 

South

Bath 33-31 London South Central

Bristol Bears 27-22 Saracens

Exeter Chiefs 35-24 Harlequins

Gloucester – Bye

 

Round 5 Results:

 

North

Midlands Central 41-43 Northampton Saints

Newcastle Falcons 5-19 Midlands West

Yorkshire Academy 10-44 Sale Sharks

Leicester Tigers – Bye

 

South

Exeter Chiefs 29-19 Gloucester

Harlequins 29-32 Bath

London South Central 32-19 Bristol Bears

Saracens – Bye

 

Round 6 Results:

 

North

 

Midlands West 21-17 Leicester Tigers

Newcastle Falcons 22-29 Yorkshire Academy

Sale Sharks 48-24 Midlands Central

Northampton Saints – Bye

 

South

 

Gloucester 21-34 Saracens

Harlequins 7-26 Bristol Bears

London South Central 28-37 Exeter Chiefs

Bath – Bye

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