Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League: Thrilling finish sees Bath claim first title | Finals Day Review

Bath Rugby claimed their first ever Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League title with a sensational late 34-33 victory over Northampton Saints.


Having led through the first half, Bath were on the receiving end of a thrilling Northampton Saints comeback in the second half, turning a 19-12 deficit at half time into a 33-26 lead, courtesy of a brilliant try from Bedford’s Ben Agbenu on 56 minutes.


Saints they held up Bath on 61 minutes, and surely must have felt that at that point, after two successive final defeats, that they were finally going to lift the trophy. However Kingswood fly half James Linegar immediately chipped away at that notion, slotting a drop goal for Bath straight from the goal line drop out receipt to close the gap to four points with eight minutes remaining.


It was heart in mouth stuff for both sides as the game crept towards full time, but Bath stayed patient and with a minute left on the clock they move the ball out to the left hand side, finding Millfield and Wales U18 sensation Steffan Emanuel in space. The inside centre needed no second invitation, searing away to touch down in the corner and seal the most dramatic of Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League title victories.


It was a sensational game, a stunning finish, the perfect way to end what had been a glorious day of play-off rugby at Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium.


Sale Sharks had been touted as probably the most in form side in the competition, and in the game prior to the final, the third place play off, they showed just that with yet another scintillating performance, this time against Exeter Chiefs in a 45-26 victory. Exeter were good, and have been outstanding this year, but this Sale Sharks side is truly outstanding.


Speaking of outstanding, in the 5th place play off Jack Bracken of St Albans was utterly outstanding for Saracens, scoring four tries en route to a 45-7 victory for Saracens against Midlands West to claim 5th Place. There was little that Midlands West could do to stop them, Saracens have hit peak form of late, scoring 97 points in their last two games.


The 7th place play off was one of the closest of the day as Leicester Tigers edged out Bristol Bears 22-17 to seal 7th. Tigers led 19-17 heading into the closing stages before Nottingham High School’s Tom Threlfall slotted a penalty to move the lead beyond a penalty, enough to keep Bristol at bay and seal 7th place.


Last year’s champions, London & South Central (then London Irish) secured 9th place on Sunday as they defied their injury crisis to secure a 31-19 victory over Midlands Central, with Wellington College hooker Oscar Thomas claiming a first half hat-trick that helped to build an advantage that they would never relinquish.


The opening game of the day was the 11th place play off, won by Yorkshire Academy after a strong first half performance against Harlequins. They led 24-14 at the break, and though Harlequins scored early in the second half to make it 24-19, that would be it on the scoring front as both sides played out a tense final half an hour.


The 13th place play off was placed in the middle of the day as it featured the host side, Gloucester. Fittingly, in front of a healthy home crowd, the Cherry and Whites held off Newcastle Falcons in a fun game of rugby, scoring plenty of tries en route to a 44-24 victory to ensure that they did not finish at the bottom of the log.


All in all it was a thrilling day of rugby, one that showed just how deep the quality is in certain positions at U18 level, and how exciting the future might be. It was advantage, just, to the south by the close of the day, with the South Pool sides winning four games to the North Pool’s three.


When all is said and done though, what all will remember is that sensational finish in the Final, Bath claiming one of the great Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League titles with the most dramatic of late scores. A wonderful advert for U18 rugby, a wonderful advert for rugby full stop.


Finals Day Results


Final: Northampton Saints 33-34 Bath

3rd Place: Sale Sharks 45-26 Exeter Chiefs

5th Place: Midlands West 7-45 Saracens

7th Place: Leicester Tigers 22-17 Bristol Bears

9th Place: Midlands Central 19-31 London & South Central

11th Place: Yorkshire Academy 24-19 Harlequins

13th Place: Newcastle Falcons 24-44 Gloucester


2024 Final Standings


1 Bath Rugby

2 Northampton Saints

3 Sale Sharks

4 Exeter Chiefs

5 Saracens

6 Midlands West

7 Leicester Tigers

8 Bristol Bears

9 London & South Central

10 Midlands Central

11 Yorkshire Academy

12 Harlequins

13 Gloucester

14 Newcastle Falcons


Roll of Honour:


2024 Bath Rugby

2023 London Irish

2022 Bristol Bears

2021 N/A

2020 Leicester Tigers/London Irish – Shared

2019 Leicester Tigers

2018 Leicester Tigers

2017 Harlequins

2016 London Irish

2015 Saracens

2014 Northampton Saints

2013 Northampton Saints


Team News:


Northampton Saints:

15 Edoardo Todaro (Ipswich), 14 Louis Burns (Finborough), 13 Henry Lumley (Finborough), 12 Billy Pasco (Oundle, captain), 11 Rafe Witheat (Stowe), 10 Louis Haley (Stowe), 9 Jonny Weimann (Bedford), 1 Tom Dye (Ipswich), 2 Robert Gaffan (Rugby), 3 Sonny Tonga’uhia (Northampton School for Boys), 4 Tom Ross (Oakham), 5 Aiden Ainsworth-Cave (Bedford), 6 Kieran Perkins (Bedford), 7 Rhys Harries (Bedford), 8 Alfie Hoyles (Oakham).

Replacements: 16 Ed Delaney (Stamford), 17 Reon Gilbert-Joseph (Moulton College), 18 Ollie Hull (Stamford), 19 James Barrett (Northampton School for Boys), 20 Ben Currie (Stowe), 21 Tom Addison (Northampton School for Boys), 23 Ben Agbenu (Bedford).



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).


Sale Sharks

15 Daniel Green (St Ambrose College), 14 Fraser Rossiter (King’s Chester), 13 Alex Smith (Kirkham GS), 12 Toby Wilson (King’s Macclesfield), 11 Sebi Krippner (Kirkham GS), 10 Ollie Davies (Kirkham GS), 9 Rhys Hulse (Kirkham GS), 1 Ben Lilley (Knutsford Academy), 2 Tom Davis (St Mary’s College), 3 Leon Tahana (Wirral GS), 4 Liam Harrison (Xaverian College), 5 Dylan Hodkinson (Wirral GS), 6 Jos Gilmore (Kirkham GS), 7 Seb Kelly (Kirkham GS, captain), 8 Monty Loggenberg (Kirkham GS).

Replacements: 16 Freddie Griffiths (King’s Macclesfield), 17 Rob Docherty (Kirkham GS), 18 Cian Jackson (Kirkham GS), 19 Alex Kerr (St Anselm’s College), 20 Will Holmes (Sedbergh), 21 Ben Firth (Kirkham GS), 22 Zak Halsall (Sedbergh).


Exeter Chiefs:

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

Replacements: 16 Ted Hocking, 17 Jack Sherratt, 18 Albert Dowse, 19 Ethan Gardner, 20 Jacob Lewis, 21 Josh Pengilly, 22 Rhys Richards, 23 Luca Brano.


Midlands West:

15 Haydn Lewis (Hartpury College), 14 Brendan Colley (Bromsgrove), 13 Henry Williams (Hartpury College), 12 Henry Parsons (Bromsgrove), 11 Ellis Deans-Smith (Hartpury College), 10 Ned Collins (Hereford 6th form College), 9 Osian Catlin (Millfield), 1 Harrison Osborne (Bromsgrove), 2 George Knowles (Hereford Cathedral), 3 Lewys Perkins (Stourport HS), 4 Tom Hilton (Malvern College), 5 Dan Halkon (RGS Worcester), 6 Henry Black (Hereford 6th form College), 7 Harvey Leonard (Ellesmere College), 8 Jack Gilbert (Bromsgrove).

Replacements: 16 Rory Blyth (Hereford 6th form College), 17 Jeremy Akena (Stourport HS), 18 Fintan Dowling (KES Birmingham) 19 Ollie McGinnity (Warwick), 20 Tom Roberts (Hartpury College), 21 Joe Johnston (North Leamington College), 22 David Petrescu (Newport HS), 23 Jacob Reynolds (Stourport HS).



15 Finn Newton (Haileybury), 14 Jack Bracken (St Albans), 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 Harry McNamara (Hayes), 17 Owen Gillett (Felsted), 18 Gabriel Registe (Campion), 19 Lewis Golding (Hartpury College), 20 Jack Marshall (Campion), 21 Matthew Branch-Holland (Ravens Wood), 22 Alfie Marks (Gravesend GS), 23 Ben Morrow (Millfield).


Leicester Tigers:

15 Ethan Blackmore (King’s Grantham), 14 Samson Shute (Brooksby Melton), 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 Tubuna Maka (Brooksby Melton), 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 Finlay Hayward (Old Swinford Hospital), 17 Euan Fern (Brooksby Melton), 18 Ben Beere (Stamford), 19 Tate Skinner (Old Swinford Hospital), 20 Henry Nanka-Bruce (Brooksby Melton), 21 Jonty Nickols (Stamford), 22 Oliver Docherty (Oakham), 23 Freddie Snary (Norwich).


Bristol Bears:

15 Tom Bowen, 14 Aidan Boshoff, 13 Victor Worsnip, 12 Jamie Howick, 11 Josh Sheppard, 10 Fin Fielder, 9 Cai Gealy, 1 Jan Davidson, 2 Jacob Hodgson, 3 Jack Parkinson, 4 Oliver Russell, 5 Rowan Curry, 6 Harrison Jones, 6 7 Kieran Hill, 8 Frey Lant.

Replacements: 16 Archie Spokes, 17 Fraser Kent, 18 Patrick Wring, 19 Dan Bartlett, 20 Oscar Green, 21 Ethan Williams, 22 Louis Nancekivell.


Midlands Central:

15 George Pearson (City of Oxford College), 14 Austin Nevitt (Fairfax Academy), 13 Jack Randall (Sedbergh), 12 Elis Thomas (City of Oxford 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 Matt Bridge (City of Oxford College), 7 John Baldwin (Bloxham), 8 Matt Sell (St Edward’s Oxford).

Replacements: 16 Oskar Parker (Bloxham), 17 Diamond Ayiehfor (Warwick), 18 Gruff Williams (City of Oxford College), 19 Jake Roberts (Rugby), 20 Harry Bewley (St George’s, Harpenden), 21 Kieran Edwards (City of Oxford College), 22 Thomas Cunningham (Magdalen College), 23 Charlie Morgan-Stephens (City of Oxford College)


London & South Central:

15 Freddy Rossigneux, 14 Finlay Wiseman, 13 Lockie Lee, 12 Cameron Ward, 11 Tyler Offiah, 10 Finn Keylock, 9 Aidan Pugh, 1 Charlie Holyer, 2 Oscar Thomas, 3 Hunter Deane-Johns, 4 Oliver Agar (c), 5 Will May, 6 Elijah Taylor, 7 Ashton Ilincic, 8 Isaac Sprenger.

Replacements: 16 Martin Chalmers, 17 Alan Poku, 18 Alfie Holland, 19 Spencer Codling, 20 Reuben Osgood, 21 Albert Mildenhall, 22 Filip Edstrom, 23 Jody Bunce.


Yorkshire Academy:

15 Callum Hyland-Dugbo (Woodhouse Grove), 14 Anesu Chindove (St Peter’s, York), 13 Lloyd McEwan-Peters (Wellington College), 12 Isaac Firth (Birkdale), 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 Anthony McCormack (Bishop Burton College), 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 Sam Bland (Bishop Burton College), 19 Fraser Perry (Hill House) 20 Harry Tunningley (Hill House), 21 Harry Peyton (Grammar School at Leeds), 22 Vojtech Nevicky (Mount St Mary’s) 23 Finlay Green (Harrogate GS).



15 Rory Minton (Seaford College), 14 Sean Sharp (Seaford College), 13 Morgan Purnell (Gordon’s), 12 Ed Tusler (Hurstpierpoint College), 11 Finn Crumley (Wellington College), 10 Felix Bateman-Champain (Worth), 9 Sam Line (Whitgift), 1 Jamie Miller (Whitgift), 2 Connor Van Lille (Newman College), 3 Ollie Streeter (Gordon’s), 4 Jack O’Kelly (Henley College), 5 Finlay Healey (Gordon’s), 6 Jimmy Staples (Seaford College), 7 Ashton Graham (Gordon’s), 8 Adam Beney (Gordon’s).

Replacements: Hamish Milhench (Dulwich College), Jaylan Ryan-Coker (John Fisher), Theo Povey (Gordon’s), Math Jones (Gordon’s), Alex Stubbs (Brighton College).


Newcastle Falcons:

15 Charlie Lawson (Gosforth Academy), 14 James Bent (Gosforth Academy), 13 Rhys Beeckmans (Gosforth Academy), 12 Osea Navuso (Richmond 6th form College), 11 Huw Lloyd (Gosforth Academy), 10 Junior Newton (Sedbergh), 9 Joe Davis (Barnard Castle), 1 Aidan Stewart (Sedbergh), 2 Ryan Shaw (Gosforth Academy), 3 Sam Graham (Durham), 4 Patrick Hogg (Durham, captain), 5 Aaron Nokes (Gosforth Academy), 6 Jacob Butterill (Sedbergh), 7 Charlie Turnbull (Sedbergh), 8 Reuben Parsons (Gosforth Academy).

Replacements: 16 Harry Bellamy (Sedbergh), 17 Wisdom Jerry (Gosforth Academy), 18 Chris Kelly (RGS Newcastle), 19 Alfie Cubby (Gosforth Academy), 20 Dan Toole (Durham), 21 Reuben Dyer (Gosforth Academy), 22 Josh Farley (Gosforth Academy), 23 Josh Bailey (Gosforth Academy).



15 Woody Walker (Radley College), 14 Raph Campbell (King’s Gloucester), 13 Ollie Rendell (Sir Thomas Rich’s), 12 Billy Benson (Dean Close), 11 Jack Hopson (Dean Close), 10 Taite Fortey (Hartpury College), 9 Rio Ebanks (Hartpury College), 1 Billy Kerslake (Wycliffe College), 2 Ruben Cummings (Hartpury College), 3 Alex Bosworth (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 Orlo Clark (Radley College), 17 Tom Ring (King’s Gloucester), 18 Ellis Allen (Hartpury College), 19 Josh Hanson (Cheltenham College), 20 Kealan Freeman-Price (Hartpury College), 21 James Lilwall (Sir Thomas Rich’s), 22 Harry Tovey (Hartpury College), 23 Jo Hamilton (Pate’s GS).


Final Group Standings:


North Group

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


South Group

2Exeter Chiefs6501727
4Bristol Bears6303416
5London South Central6204715


Past Results


Round 1



Midlands West 22-22 Sale Sharks

Northampton Saints 75-7 Leicester Tigers

Yorkshire Academy 31-33 Midlands Central

Newcastle Falcons – Bye



Bath 29-27 Bristol Bears

Exeter Chiefs 44-27 Saracens

London South Central 36-33 Gloucester

Harlequins – Bye


Round 2



Leicester Tigers 40-26 Sale Sharks

Midlands Central 45-14 Newcastle Falcons

Northampton Saints 40-21 Yorkshire Academy

Midlands West – Bye



Bristol Bears 49-12 Gloucester

Harlequins 35-25 London South Central

Saracens 26-34 Bath

Exeter Chiefs – Bye


Round 3 Results



Midlands Central 19-27 Midlands West

Newcastle Falcons 26-19 Leicester Tigers

Sale Sharks 49-42 Northampton Saints

Yorkshire Academy – Bye



Bath 34-29 Exeter Chiefs

Gloucester 24-14 Harlequins

Saracens 50-36 London South Central

Bristol Bears – Bye


Round 4 Results



Leicester Tigers 29-12 Yorkshire Academy

Midlands West 19-34 Northampton Saints

Sale Sharks 59-12 Newcastle Falcons

Midlands Central – Bye



Bath 33-31 London South Central

Bristol Bears 27-22 Saracens

Exeter Chiefs 35-24 Harlequins

Gloucester – Bye


Round 5 Results:



Midlands Central 41-43 Northampton Saints

Newcastle Falcons 5-19 Midlands West

Yorkshire Academy 10-44 Sale Sharks

Leicester Tigers – Bye



Exeter Chiefs 29-19 Gloucester

Harlequins 29-32 Bath

London South Central 32-19 Bristol Bears

Saracens – Bye


Round 6 Results:




Midlands West 21-17 Leicester Tigers

Newcastle Falcons 22-29 Yorkshire Academy

Sale Sharks 48-24 Midlands Central

Northampton Saints – Bye




Gloucester 21-34 Saracens

Harlequins 7-26 Bristol Bears

London South Central 28-37 Exeter Chiefs

Bath – Bye


Round 7 Results



Leicester Tigers 33-17 Midlands Central

Northampton Saints 54-17 Newcastle Falcons

Yorkshire Academy 31-38 Midlands West

Sale Sharks – Bye



Bristol Bears 31-39 Exeter Chiefs

Gloucester 19-39 Bath

Saracens 52-14 Harlequins

London & South Central – Bye

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