It’s very much about the development and exploring - Lilley

27 May 2021

Academy Manager Craig Lilley believes Bath Rugby Under-18s can take some good lessons from their last two outings on the road.

Following on from a narrow loss at Leicester Tigers, the junior Blue, Black and Whites suffered defeat at the hands of Exeter Chiefs last weekend.

Ben Adams, George Shaw and Byron Lloyd-Gilmour all scored for Bath in the loss in Cornwall with Ciaran Donoghue successful with all three conversions.

Both games followed a similar pattern with Bath’s mistakes capitalised on in dangerous areas, a part of the game Lilley feels the players can learn from through experiences.

“There are some good lessons there,” he said.

“We started slowly against Leicester, albeit in very tricky conditions, but that’s two games in a row where we’ve gone 19-0 down. At that level it’s very hard to get back into it – we almost did in both games, but we let the game get away from us.

“It’s an understanding of what you need to do to get yourself ready for when the whistle blows and then it’s making sure the boys are rehearsed in the warm-up to make sure they switch themselves on psychologically. 

“This next level your mistakes really get punished and that’s quite new to this young group. When you make errors at schoolboy level you can sometimes get away with it but at this level you can be punished and it’s then difficult to get yourself back into the game.

“It’s very much about the development and exploring. They’re going to make mistakes as we want them to take risks and learn what works and what doesn’t.”

Bath Rugby Under-18s have one more match in this block of fixtures as they host London Irish at Chippenham RFC before their season comes to a close. 

Lilley insists everyone involved will get game time and for some, an opportunity to don the Bath jersey with pride for one final time. 

“We’ve carried quite a big squad and this Irish game is going to a good opportunity to let all our players play. We’re going to play three periods of 25 minutes and ensure most of our Under-17s get a bit of a run out, but we’ll ensure all our Under-18 lads - the Year 13 boys who are finishing up with us, either moving on to another journey or sticking with us - get an opportunity to play. 

“It’s about those Under-18s leaving their legacy and putting on the jersey one more time and giving the Under-17s an opportunity to go out. Some of the boys haven’t had a go at that level yet so they’ll have the opportunity to do so against London Irish and then they’ll transition to Under-18s and it’ll be their role to lead that group next season.”

Bath Rugby U18 team to play London Irish U18

15. Byron Lloyd-Gilmour, 14. Joel Tawake, 13. Max Ashton, 12. Ethan Hawtin (c), 11. McKenzi Rawlings, 10. Tom Bieneman, 9. Ieuan Davies; 1. Jaden Ephgrave, 2. Tommy McLean, 3. Paula Fifita, 4. George Shaw, 5. Henry Blake, 6. Will Jeanes, 7. Ruben Solomon-Gardner, 8. Arthur Green


16. Jac Therrien, 17. JJ O'Connell-Wozniak, 18. Archie Maggs, 19. Josh Dingley, 20. MacKenzie Graham, 21. Freddie Charles, 22. Ben Adams, 23. James Redman, 24. Will Parry, 25. Kofi Barton-Byfield, 26. Tom Ahl, 27. Ollie Cook, 28. Harry Carson

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