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Sale Sharks’ Redpath going from strength to strength post Under-18s Finals

Sale Sharks’ Redpath going from strength to strength post Under-18s Finals

Sale Sharks’ Cameron Redpath may have missed out at the Under-18s Premiership Rugby Finals day 12 months ago but his progress has not faltered in the slightest.

Last year’s final saw Redpath and his Sharks team-mates lose 20-8 to a Marcus Smith-inspired Harlequins at Sixways despite leading by five points at the break.

Since then Redpath, and fellow finalists Kieran Wilkinson and Connor Doherty, have gone strength to strength with Premiership Rugby A League and Anglo-Welsh Cup appearances.

Redpath is currently making a name for himself with England Under-20s in the Six Nations, scoring a try on his debut against Wales and starting against France this weekend.

And for Sale Sharks Academy Manager Brendan Thomas, seeing his young side progress through the Sharks and England set-ups is as important as success in individual matches.

“There’s 12 in the squad that have England call ups at Under-18 and Under-17 level, that’s the bigger picture for us – it’s a springboard onto bigger and better things.

“It’s that transition from junior academy to senior academy when they leave school and we have got excellent coaches working with the group which accelerates that process.

“We reached the main final last year but just lost out to a Harlequins side led by Marcus Smith and he was probably the difference on the day.

“Our Under-18 squad last year was very young and had a lot of Under-17s, the bulk of the squad is the same group that Cameron, Kieran and Connor played with last year.”

In a bizarre twist of fate, Sale Sharks will meet Harlequins once again at the 2018 Under-18 Premiership Rugby Finals day but this time in the 5th/6th play-off.

And Thomas is excited to see what the next generation of Sale Sharks talent can achieve on the big stage at Allianz Park come Sunday afternoon.

“I am sure it’s a really enjoyable day for the players and it tests them on the slightly bigger stage, making decisions under pressure which is good for them,” he added.

“For us it’s important they perform and develop but the outcome of finals day is not what the lads’ futures are decided on.

“We would like to play a younger squad where we can to give them opportunity and because the older Under-18s have already kicked on to first team and A league action.”

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