Harlequins is today (Wednesday 29th March) proud to announce that six members of the Club’s victorious U18s side will join the Academy full time for the 2017/18 season.
Premiership U18s Champions and Elite Player Development Group (EPDG) members Max Coyle, George Head, Jake Hennessey, Cadan Murley, John Okafor and Marcus Smith will all join the Academy full time next season.
Commenting on the announcement, Harlequins Academy and Global Development Director, Tony Diprose said:
“It was a very tough process in identifying these six boys to come in to the full time Academy next season as we had such a wealth of talent within our U18s. The six have, however, stood out from that group and we look forward to developing them into the best rugby players they can be.
“The potential pathway for them is clear and obvious; to attempt to follow the likes of Kyle Sinckler and Jack Clifford who have recently graduated through Harlequins’ Academy into our first XV and then onto full international honours.”
Max Coyle – Reigate Grammar School
Weight: 5′ 11″
Coyle started in the U18s Premiership Final at fullback but can also operate on the wing. The Reigate Grammar School student has also represented England U18s this season and played in England’s last match, against Wales. Coyle played in six out of the seven fixtures on the path to victory in the U18s Final and scored six tries, including a hat-trick against Bath Rugby.
George Head – Tonbridge School
Like Coyle, Loosehead prop Head has also played for England U18s this season and – along side winning the U18s Premiership – captained his school to victory in the Natwest Champions Cup. The prop played in all seven of the fixtures of the victorious campaign and dotted down twice; one apiece against Gloucester Rugby and London Irish.
Jake Hennessey – King’s College School Wimbledon
Weight: 85 kg
Hennessey captained Harlequins to the U18s title this year and has also played for Scotland U19s this season. Alongside his rugby next season, the centre will also study full time at university. Like Head, Hennessey played in all of the fixtures this season and scored two hat-tricks in the tournament, one against Bristol Rugby and one against Gloucester.
Cadan Murley – Bishop Wordsworth’s School
Murley led his school to the Natwest Cup Final this season and has also played for England U18s this year. Murley played in five of the seven fixtures this season and went over the whitewash twice against Bristol Rugby.
John Okafor – Wellington College
Second rower Okafor was formerly a student of St. John Bosco school in Battersea up to and including his U16 year. Okafor is a product of Harlequins’ Inner London Programme, coming to the game late from Basketball when he was 15-years-old. In the row, Okafor played five times for Harlequins and scored once, against Bristol.
Marcus Smith – Brighton College
Smith contributed ten points from the tee in Harlequins U18s Academy Final win over Sale Sharks U18s and has represented England at U18s as well as U20s Six Nations level this season. The fly-half played in five of the fixtures this season and scored two tries along the way, one against London Irish and once against Saracens.