TOP BAR - Fixtures

Barrell: Saracens relishing pressure of U18 Finals Day

Saracens academy manager Don Barrell admits the pressure of the Premiership Rugby / RFU U18 Academy Finals Day at Allianz Park could bring the best out of his players.

Barrell’s side take on Northampton Saints on home soil on Monday – pitting the two best Academy teams this season against each other for 1st and 2nd place.

Sarries topped the Southern Conference with five wins while the Saints comfortably swept through the Northern Conference, winning all six matches.

As they prepare for the showpiece event, Barrell says the chance to play at the club’s home ground adds an extra dimension to the occasion.

“It’s really exciting for all of us,” said Barrell.

“I think the occasion is great for the players to go and play under some pressure, to play in front of a good crowd and be part of such a great environment at Allianz Park.

“To play up there is a great opportunity for them and I think the young guys are looking forward to it.

“The Premiership Rugby / RFU U18 Academy League is a chance to develop players and for us it has not been based on the results, it’s been based on the effort they have put in and the work and willingness they have shown to develop and improve. So this is another opportunity for them to do that on the finals stage.”

Saracens Academy possesses some exceptional quality, with the likes of Ralph Adams-Hale, Dominic Morris and Matt Gallagher having gained first-team and 7s experience this season.

Gallagher – the joint-leading try-scorer in this season’s Premiership Rugby / RFU U18 Academy League with five – will prove particularly crucial to Sarries’ chances of beating a tough Northampton side.

Saints finished seven points clear of their nearest opponents Leicester Tigers in the Northern Conference and Barrell is wary of their threat.

“I think they are blessed with a strong team and have done really well in this league,” he added.

“Saints have done incredibly well with their youngsters and I think as a collective they need to be given respect for what they have done.

“But our focus is more on our own performance and what we do on the day. From day one we’ve gone out to see how they work, how they perform as a group and how they make decisions and they’ve worked very hard.

“The impressive thing has been the group as a whole and their willingness to support each other and react under pressure so they all deserve credit.”

Fixtures:

1pm:  Gloucester Rugby v Exeter Chiefs (5th / 6th play-off)
3pm:  Bath Rugby v Leicester Tigers (3rd / 4th play-off)
5pm:  Northampton Saints v Saracens (Final)

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.

 

Latest News

Stephen Myler: Northampton Saints ready to fight for the title

Stephen Myler is predicting the closest ever Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign and believes his Northampton Saints side will be right…

Sonatane Takulua expecting big things from Newcastle Falcons this season

Sonatane Takulua believes unity and a collective purpose, combined with an improved playing pool, can help propel Newcastle Falcons up…

Sonatane Takulua

Wasps name team for first pre-season fixture against Ulster

Dai Young has named a 26-man squad to take on Ulster Rugby at Kingspan Stadium in the first pre-season fixture…

Anglo-Welsh Cup 2017-18 launched

WORCESTER WARRIORS have the honour of hosting the opening match in this year’s Anglo-Welsh Cup on Friday 3 November, when…

Leicester Tigers win the Anglo Welsh Cup

Ally Hogg pleased by Newcastle Falcons’ early progress

Ally Hogg believes Newcastle Falcons are well set to attack the new Aviva Premiership season after a double dose of…

Ally Hogg

Topsy Ojo relishing Exiles return to Aviva Premiership Rugby action at HQ

Topsy Ojo believes there could be no more fitting way for London Irish to announce their return as an Aviva…

Newcastle Falcons’ Sonatane Takulua sees Philadelphia trip as a ‘great opportunity’

Newcastle Falcons’ Sonatane Takulua insists his side’s September clash with Saracens in Philadelphia will be no holiday for the players,…

Sonatane Takulua

Harlequins statement: Luke Wallace and Jonas Mikalcius

Harlequins can confirm today (Tuesday 15th August) that flanker Luke Wallace dislocated his hip during the pre-season friendly against London…

Luke Wallace

London Irish kick-off Anglo-Welsh Cup at home to Bath

London Irish will host Bath Rugby at the Madejski Stadium in the opening round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Saturday…

London Irish kick-off Anglo-Welsh Cup at home to Bath

HITZ graduate secures first full time job after being inspired by Premiership Rugby final

A teenager from Leigh who overcame a troubled home life and tackled confidence and communication issues thanks to Premiership Rugby…

Lucy Neal

Nick Kennedy delighted with first pre-season hit-out for London Irish

London Irish director of rugby Nick Kennedy is looking forward to seeing his side build on Saturday’s thrilling contest against…

Nick Kennedy

Philadelphia bound Nick Civetta can’t wait for American Series challenge with Newcastle Falcons

NICK CIVETTA HAS had an unlikely path to the top level but as he prepares to embark on his second season…

Nick Civetta

Demetri Catrakilis relishing chance to reunite with old friend Tim Swiel

Harlequins fly-half Demetri Catrakilis has revealed he is ready to join forces with  compatriot and old acquaintance Tim Swiel – insisting…

Worcester Warriors to use number of players in Hartpury test

Warriors will look to use up to 37 players during their fixture against Hartpury College this Saturday in their first…

GJ van Velze

Emergency Services workers invited to London Double Header

Saracens are offering up to eight free tickets to any member of the London Emergency Services for the upcoming London…

London Double Header

Newcastle Falcons teams for double-header v Doncaster and Nottingham

Three-time French title winner Maxime Mermoz is among the Newcastle Falcons players making their debuts in Saturday’s home double header…

Nili Latu

Lewis and Phillips to make Bath Rugby debuts against Bristol

Josh Lewis and James Phillips will make their Bath Rugby debuts in the Club’s first pre-season game against Bristol Rugby…

James Phillips

London Irish name side for pre-season opener

London Irish have named a 29-man squad for tomorrow’s Cunningham Duncombe Series against Harlequins at Hazelwood, with seven summer signings…

Greig Tonks

Nick Civetta primed for Newcastle Falcons’ double header this Saturday

Having spent the summer helping his country qualify for the Rugby World Cup American lock Nick Civetta is keen to…

Nick Civetta