Northampton Saints under-18s will travel to Doncaster to take on Yorkshire Rugby on Sunday afternoon in their final clash of the season.
Academy coaches Mark Hopley, Will Parkin and James Craig have named their side following back-to-back home wins against Harlequins and London Irish in recent weeks, where Northampton's youngsters racked up an impressive nine tries in two outings on the Franklin's Gardens turf.
The U18s’ last hit out of the season is a trip to face @YorksRugbyAcad in Doncaster.— Saints Rugby Academy (@SaintsRugbyAcad) May 29, 2021
A huge congrats to those selected for tomorrow 👏
And thanks again goes to all schools and clubs that have supported us this season!
➡️ https://t.co/V2YQSs8oMo pic.twitter.com/igOGQ7VLiW
Tom Lockett, Geordie Irvine and Matty Arden, three players contracted for the Senior Academy in 2021/22, start for Saints – with Arden one of the five changes to the starting line-up from last weekend's victory over London Irish.
After a hat-trick in his last outing, George Hendy shifts to centre to allow fellow try-scorer Max Rayfield to start at fullback, while Arden comes into the No. 10 shirt as the only other change in the backs.
Craig Wright and Keon Sylvester both shift into the starting line-up from last week's bench, while Emeka Atuanya – also contracted to the Senior Academy for next season – takes his spot in the engine room for the first time this season.
Parkin said: “In the last few games, the lads have shown some real intent to go out there and really play, and for us as coaches that’s exactly what we want to see.
“It’s also been brilliant to see some of the guys who are contracted to the Senior Academy for 2021/22 stepping up. And this weekend we’re delighted to have Emeka Atuanya back to make his first appearance of the season after spending the last few weeks training with the first team squad.”
And Craig echoed Parkin's sentiments, praising the young Saints' determination over the past 12 months.
“The lads have coped brilliantly over the past year or so,” Craig said. “And we’re very much looking forward to rounding things off up in Doncaster against Yorkshire on Sunday.
“A huge thank you must also go out to all the parents, schools and clubs for their continued support of the boys’ rugby journeys – it really wouldn’t be possible without them.”
YORKSHIRE RUGBY U18s vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS U18s
Sunday 30 May, 2021
Castle Park, Doncaster
15 Max Rayfield (Ipswich School - Ipswich YM RFC)
14 Frankie Sleightholme (Northampton School for Boys - Old Scouts RFC)
13 Archie Kean (Royal Hospital School - Colchester RFC)
12 George Hendy (KES Stratford - Shipston on Stour RFC)
11 Sonny Rodella (Northampton School for Boys - Old Scouts RFC)
10 Matty Arden (Stamford School - Oundle RFC)
9 Keiran Gilmour (Bedford School - Bedford Blues RFC)
1 Leroy O’Neil (St Joseph’s College - Ipswich YM RFC)
2 Craig Wright (Felsted School - Braintree RFC)
3 Nick Tarr (Mark Rutherford - Bedford Blues)
4 Tom Lockett (Colchester RGS)
5 Emeka Atuanya (Northampton School for Boys - Old Scouts RFC)
6 Keon Sylvester (Ipswich School - Cambridge RFC)
7 Joe Gaffan (Rugby School - Saffron Walden RFC)
8 Geordie Irvine (Oundle School - Kesteven RFC)
16 Aston Gradwick-Light (Rugby School - Colchester RFC)
17 Callum Smyth (Bedford School - Kettering RFC)
18 Ted Reid (Colchester RGS - Old Brentwoods RFC)
19 George Lavender (Colcheter RGS - Colchester RFC)
20 Harry Hall (Ipswich School - Cambridge RFC)
21 Jack Leggate (Uppingham School - Market Rasen and Louth RFC)
22 Harvey Sharpe (Wellingborough School - Kettering RFC)