TOP BAR - Fixtures

Hopley: Young Northampton Saints have a score to settle

Northampton Saints Academy coach Mark Hopley says his young side are eyeing revenge when they take on Saracens at the Premiership Rugby / RFU U18 Academy Finals Day next Monday.

Northampton U18s went down 32-10 to Sarries in a December friendly but after topping the Northern and Southern Conferences respectively, the sides will square off again at Allianz Park for 1st and 2nd place.

Saints won all six of their Northern Conference contests, conceding an average of just over seven points a game, to reach the showpiece event where they will be aiming to defend their title.

They overcame Exeter Chiefs 31-18 to lift the trophy 12 months ago and although the likes of leading try-scorer Rotimi Segun, Luc Jeannot and Harry Mallinder, son of director rugby Jim, could play in their second Finals Day, it will be a first for most of the squad.

“A few players had that experience last year and were lucky enough to be on a winning team but there are a lot of young players in the team who haven’t had that experience,” said Hopley.

“So, it’s a different squad, a different team and lots of different players to work with which is great for us.

“Saracens are incredibly well-organised – we played them just before Christmas and we were on the receiving end of a bad scoreline that day.

“They put one over on us and we’ll be working to put that right but all we can do is focus on ourselves.

“We have just talked about development really – as long as we learn from our mistakes and get better with each performance, then as coaches we are happy.

“The guys don’t need any motivation from me for the game – they’re an immensely competitive group and they want to do well.”

In addition to the showpiece game, the two second-placed sides – Leicester Tigers and Bath Rugby – will square off against each other for 3rd and 4th as will the third-placed teams, Gloucester Rugby and Exeter Chiefs, for 5th and 6th.

Hopley insists that the whole experience of Finals Day is no less than the youngsters deserve after a successful season.

“They’ve worked really hard all year,” added Hopley. “We talk about getting better and better as the season progresses and I think we’ve done that.

“The boys have been training exceptionally well and we’re looking forward to it.

“Last year, the Premiership Rugby / RFU U18 Academy Finals Day was a brilliant experience and I think the benefit of playing at Allianz Park is that you know the pitch is going to be consistent.

“It should be a good, dry, fast track and our boys will thoroughly enjoy playing on it.”
 
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

Neil Briggs Previews Singha 7s

Neil Briggs, Team Manager for the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s, is excited to see how his young Sharks this weekend.…

Neil Briggs Previews Singha 7's

Leicester Tigers form new partnership with Loughborough University

Leicester Tigers and Loughborough University have formed a new partnership to provide development opportunities for players and coaches. The link…

Bath Rugby and Canterbury to donate £10,000 worth of kit to local clubs

Bath Rugby and Canterbury are donating up to £10,000 to 10 grassroots clubs in the Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire area…

Bath Rugby and Canterbury to donate £10,000 worth of kit to local clubs

Harlequins join forces with world leading sports tech Catapult

Harlequins have today (Monday 24th July) strengthened their partnership with world leader in performance analytics, Catapult, to track and improve…

Harlequins join forces with world leading sports tech Catapult

London Irish sign Dawidiuk

London Irish have bolstered their front-row with the signing of hooker Darren Dawidiuk as preparations continue ahead of the 2017/18…

London Irish sign Dawidiuk

Jeff Williams excited by new Bath Rugby role for Singha Premiership Rugby 7s

Bath Rugby won’t be lacking rugby 7s experience when former England international Jeff Williams takes the reigns for the Singha…

Whiteley hoping to lead Saracens starlets to glory in Singha 7s

Saracens scrum-half Tom Whiteley is hoping to use all his experience of competing at the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s to…

Mike Delany returns to New Zealand

Newcastle Falcons fly-half Mike Delany has returned to his native New Zealand to sign for home province, Bay of Plenty.…

Mike Delany

Topsy Ojo talks London Double Header memories

With six weeks to go until London Irish lock horns with Harlequins in the iconic London Double Header at Twickenham,…

Topsy Ojo

Toby Flood hopes to bring ruthless streak to Newcastle Falcons

Toby Flood is hoping to help give Newcastle Falcons the ruthless streak required to push them further up the Aviva…

Toby Flood

Aviva Premiership Rugby set for changes after six law amendments added to global trial

Aviva Premiership Rugby will be part of the global trial for six new law amendments after the World Rugby Executive…

Alex Lewington hopes London Irish youngsters will gain confidence from Singha 7s

London Irish wing Alex Lewington cannot wait to see which youngsters step up to the plate in the Singha Premiership…

Alex Lewington

Worcester Warriors sign Ireland scrum-half Peter Stringer

Warriors have signed Ireland international Peter Stringer on a six-month deal ahead of the 2017/18 season. The scrum-half will join…

Peter Stringer

Tim Streather forced to retire from rugby

Former Saracens centre Tim Streather has been forced to retire from the game due to a knee injury. Commenting on…

Tim Streather

Contract and captaincy for Dylan Hartley at Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints has today announced that Dylan Hartley has both signed a new contract and been appointed as the club’s…

Dylan Hartley

Forwards Coach George Skivington says London Irish squad are chomping at the bit

The London Irish squad have returned for pre-season training ‘hungrier’ than ever before according to Forwards Coach George Skivington. Now…

George Skivington

Wasps Academy sign Gabriel Oghre and George Thornton

Wasps announce the signing of hooker Gabriel Oghre and prop George Thornton to the Senior Academy ahead of the new…

Gabriel Oghre and George Thornton

Singha 7s gives next generation the chance to shine

Harlequins academy coach Jim Evans believes that next week’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s will give the league’s stars of the…

Harlequins in action at the Singha 7s

Singha Premiership Rugby 7s draw confirmed

The 2017-18 Premiership Rugby season will kick off – at the end of July - in spectacular style with the Singha…