Exeter Chiefs academy coach Marek Churcher is eagerly anticipating a clash with rivals Gloucester Rugby in the Premiership Rugby / RFU U18 Academy Finals Day on Monday.
After finishing third in their respective groups, the two sides will contest the third-place match at Allianz Park.
Exeter narrowly missed out on second place in the Southern Conference last week when they lost to Bath 25-17 in their final match of the group. But despite the disappointment, Churcher insists his side are fully focused and looking forward to their clash with Gloucester.
“The boys were obviously frustrated after losing to Bath on Saturday but full credit to them, they deserved to win and we’ve moved our focus onto Monday now,” said Churcher.
“It’s very exciting for all of us. Allianz Park is a great place to play and hopefully we will see a lot of people there.
“Our players are really enthusiastic and looking forward to facing Gloucester. We don’t get to play against them a lot so it will be a good opportunity for the boys to go out and express themselves.
“The occasion just motivates them more, especially playing in front of a big crowd.
“It’s going to be a spectacle as everyone will get to see the talent we produce in the South West against a local rival and we expect the boys to give 100 per cent.”
Exeter have made good progress this season since their defeat against Northampton Saints in last year’s Academy Final.
A number of players from that crop have gone on to feature in the LV= Cup and Aviva A League this season and Churcher praised his players for their overall efforts in this campaign.
“The boys have been outstanding again this year,” he added.
“The performances have been good, there have been some outstanding individual performances and collectively we’ve had some really good games.
“Jack Stanley, our 17-year-old tight-head, has played in the LV= Cup and he’s also played in the A League along with Jack Maunder, who has been the team’s cornerstone from the back.
“Maunder is an outstanding scrum-half, very mature for his age and understands the game inside-out.
“From a leadership point of view our captain, Kieran Westlake, has been outstanding. He has led the team really well with his performances and attitude and we can’t ask for a better captain. He just epitomises everything you want from a leader in a team.”
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.