Leicester Tigers assistant academy manager Tosh Askew says his young troops can roar when they face Bath Rugby at the Premiership Rugby / RFU U18 Academy Finals Day at Allianz Park on Monday.
The day itself, which will be held at the home of Saracens, pitches the top three sides from the Northern and Southern Conferences of the Academy League against each other.
Reigning champions Northampton Saints will face off with Southern Conference table-toppers Sarries for 1st and 2nd, while Gloucester Rugby will also take on south-west neighbours Exeter Chiefs for 5th and 6th.
But Askew admits the Tigers’ clash with old rivals Bath Rugby for the 3rd and 4th spots has really whetted the appetite.
“That’s the beauty of the tournament, to make sure you can challenge your best against their best and develop them,” said Askew, whose team beat Harlequins 27-7 in last year’s event.
“It was a really good day last year. It was very well run, well-organised and hopefully it will be the same this time.
“It’s great to play against teams you don’t normally get to play against. So it’s an unknown quantity of what you come up against.
“Training in our academy is about developing our players, we aren’t necessarily competition driven, we’re developmentally driven.
“We don’t look at videos and study the opposition like they do in Aviva Premiership Rugby. We are here to develop these young lads and this is supported by this competition.
“Of course you want to win games but the aim in the U18 Academy league is to put our players against their peers.”
Tigers have had a fantastic season so far, losing just one of their six games, and have had some standout performers along the way.
Owen Hills – top try-scorer last term with seven scores – has again impressed and already notched four tries, while centre Charlie Thacker is also one to watch according to Askew.
“Charlie Thacker is one player who has a chance of putting in a good performance and getting called up to the first-team squad, but there are a few others as well,” added Askew.
“It’s also another opportunity for all of the players to show that they have the potential and the ability to become an Aviva Premiership Rugby player for Leicester Tigers.”
|TOP PREMIERSHIP RUGBY / RFU U18 ACADEMY LEAGUE POINTS SCORERS|
|Owen Waters||Bath Rugby U18||3||13||8||0||65|
|Max Malins||Saracens U18||4||12||4||0||56|
|Jamie Shilcook||Worcester Warriors U18||3||3||7||0||42|
|Elias Caven||Bristol Rugby U18||1||7||5||0||34|
|Robbie Faulkner||Gloucester Rugby U18||2||4||4||0||30|
|Rotimi Segun||Northampton Saints U18||5||0||0||0||25|
|Victor Keunen||Harlequins U18||5||0||0||0||25|
|Owain James||Wasps U18||5||0||0||0||25|
|Matt Gallagher||Saracens U18||5||0||0||0||25|
|Sam Allan||Yorkshire Carnegie U18||1||6||2||0||23|
|Eddie Lewis||London Irish U18||0||5||4||0||22|
|Harry Mallinder||Northampton Saints U18||1||7||1||0||22|
|Best in an Academy Season: 75pts by Josh Sharp (Saracens) in 2012/13|
|TOP PREMIERSHIP RUGBY / RFU U18 ACADEMY LEAGUE TRY SCORERS|
|Matt Gallagher||Saracens U18||5|
|Owain James||Wasps U18||5|
|Victor Keunen||Harlequins U18||5|
|Rotimi Segun||Northampton Saints U18||5|
|Curtis Langdon||London Irish U18||4|
|Max Malins||Saracens U18||4|
|Adam Shaw||Northampton Saints U18||4|
|Caleb Shepherd||Wasps U18||4|
|Hanco Germishuys||Gloucester Rugby U18||4|
|Callum Sirker||Wasps U18||4|
|Owen Hills||Leicester Tigers U18||4|
|Best in an Academy Season: 7 by Harry Thacker (Leicester Tigers) in 2012/03 and by Owen Hills (Leicester Tigers) in 2013/14|
The Premiership Rugby / RFU U18 Academy Finals Day will take place on Monday, 16 February at Allianz Park. Entry is free with gates opening at 11.30am with the first game kicking off at 1pm.