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U18 Premiership Rugby Academy League returns this weekend

U18 Premiership Rugby Academy League returns this weekend
Saturday marks the return of the U18 Academy League with the Gloucester Rugby U18s hosting London Irish U18s at Dean Close School, kick off at 12 noon.

When asked about the Academy League, Head of Academy, Peter Walton said:

“The Academy league is a massive step up from School or AASE games, playing against some of the best players in England. The support from the Schools and Colleges in the lead up to the games has helped a great deal. I’m looking forward to seeing our Gloucester Rugby lads show their qualities along with working hard in a Gloucester Rugby shirt.”

The Academy League is the showpiece event for U18s rugby in the Country and an opportunity for the players to show off their skills in a competitive league format. The competition is split into North and South pools culminating in a Finals day, which will be hosted this season at Sixways Stadium.

Gloucester Rugby U18s will be playing in the South pool against Bath Rugby, Bristol Bears, Exeter Chiefs, Harlequins, London Irish and Saracens.

For the past two seasons the U18s have managed to reach the Finals day after impressive wins within the pool stages. The games are always tense, highly skilled and fast paced. They’re a great watch especially if you wish to see the first glimpse of the future of the Club. Last season two of the wins came with the last play of the game reinforcing the pathway message that Gloucester Rugby teams never give up!

The U18 Junior Academy have been training since the Summer at the club’s Hartpury Training Centre with a squad travelling to West Wales to take on the Scarlets U18s and an U19 team hosting Leinster. After three and a half months with their Schools, the players are chomping at the bit to get involved in the Academy League and represent the Club.

The young Cherry and Whites will play three home fixtures within the league this year and all support is welcomed if you are at a loose end!

London Irish, Saturday 14th December, Dean Close School, 12:00 KO

Bristol Bears, Friday 20th December, Cheltenham Tigers RFC, 19:30 KO

Exeter Chefs, Saturday 18th January, Cheltenham Tigers RFC, 13:30 KO

Junior Academy Manager, Alex Guest commented on the league:

“It’s always an exciting time. The majority of this squad have been in the pathway from the U13 Developing Player Programme through to the U16 Player Development Group and finally into the U18 Junior Academy. As a group we cannot wait to see them rip into the league!”

Of the 35 players within the U18 Junior Academy, eight different Schools are being represented with one player currently undertaking a work-based apprenticeship. Five of the current U18 Junior Academy have had a taste of England U18s when attending the Development camp in October, with another attending a Wales U18 Development camp.

Academy Coach and U18 Head Coach, Matt Teague is looking forward to the Academy League opener:

“There are so many competitive-natured people in the group that we are hugely excited to watch the boys have the opportunity to express themselves in a Gloucester Rugby shirt in the U18s league.

“With the talent throughout the group, they will certainly look to showcase that and further develop under Gloucester Rugby’s value of ‘Play to Inspire’.”