Academy coaches Will Parkin and James Craig have made four changes to Northampton Saints U18s’ line-up to face Yorkshire Carnegie this weekend.
The Premiership Rugby U18 League continues on Saturday afternoon, with Saints looking to bounce back from an opening 25-12 defeat to defending champions Leicester Tigers.
They are back on the road again this week, travelling to Keighley RFC to lock horns with Carnegie before three back-to-back home fixtures at Franklin’s Gardens.
“We’ve been training really well again this week tough and hopefully we can see more of that against Yorkshire.”James Craig, DPP Manager
Hooker Callum Burns will lead Northampton again this weekend, but fullback Ollie Bevan, scrum-half Jake Garside, prop Jake Bridges and lock Tom Heslop are all amongst the changes.
Meanwhile last week’s try-scorer Dani Long-Martinez continues on the wing, with fly-half Matt Arden and centres Ethan Grayson and Tom Litchfield also keeping their spots in Saints’ back-line.
“Last week we were definitely really pleased with the lads’ effort,” said Craig. “The effort level was right up there, but unfortunately for us our accuracy didn’t quite match that.
“The lads were trying to do some really good things and play the way that we have been training, but ultimately our execution wasn’t good enough and watching it back this week has been a little frustrating because we gave them easy field position for all three of their tries.
“When we did the things we spoke about – both in attack and defence – we were very effective, but we didn’t do it often enough. We’ve been training really well again this week tough and hopefully we can see more of that against Yorkshire.
“We have made some changes and we will continue to do so week to week as we’re looking to develop players who are putting a lot of effort into the programme, and there are lads who need to be given the opportunity to show what they can do, but at the same time we want to keep the core of the squad the same because chopping and changing too much leads to inaccuracy.
“We want to build week on week, and going into the Yorkshire game we’re focusing again on what we’re doing – as coaches we’re keen that the lads are forced to think and make good decisions themselves during the matches as that will help them to improve as players.
“Will and I also wanted to say a big thank you to all the parents and others for their support so far – the trip up to Yorkshire is no mean feat for some of the boys, so we really appreciate everyone getting behind the team as we look to kick on as a group.”
YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE U18s vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS U18s
Premiership Rugby U18 League, Round Two
Saturday 21 December 2019
Keighley RFC, West Yorkshire
15 Ollie Bevan
14 Louis Martin
13 Tom Litchfield
12 Ethan Grayson
11 Dani Long-Martinez
10 Matt Arden
9 Jake Garside
1 Josh Cilia
2 Callum Burns (c)
3 Jake Bridges
4 Ed Clayton
5 Tom Heslop
6 Dan Makepeace
7 Tom Ball
8 Ethan Wright
16 Finn McCartney
17 Jarno Longaretti
18 Olly Frostick
19 Tom Charter
20 Geordie Irvine
21 Jack Bowyer
22 Josh Bull
23 Xavier Cranwell