Ten Senior Academy players have been selected in Bath Rugby’s 23 to take on Gloucester Rugby in the Premiership Rugby Cup this evening.
The Blue, Black and Whites – led by scrum coach Mark Lilley – have put a development focus on the competition meaning players in the Academy and young players in the senior squad will get their opportunity to gain minutes and impress.
With so many young faces on show, Academy Manager Craig Lilley has gone through each Senior Academy player involved to give supporters insight ahead of tonight’s game.
Ewan Richards, Lock
Ewan became Bath Rugby’s second youngest lock to start for the club last weekend after Steve Borthwick and he really proved his worth at Welford Road. Over the past six months, he has shown his versatility to play in the second row as well as at blindside flanker and his eagerness to grow his knowledge of all aspects of his game is a joy to see. Ewan’s strengths lie in his ball-carrying and set-piece, and we look forward to seeing him progress his leadership skills as he earns more game time.
Thompson Cowan, Back Row
It was fantastic to see Tom make his senior debut for Bath in the Premiership against Leicester Tigers. A huge credit must go to him for his hard work and dedication over the past few years to not only earn a Senior Academy place but to put his hand up for first-team selection so early on his journey. Tom is a very physical and athletic player who works both sides of the ball and is extremely diligent with how he studies the game. He will relish the opportunity to come up against an experienced Gloucester back row this evening.
Nahum Merigan, Back Row
Another to experience the Premiership for the first time at Leicester, Nahum has had to remain patient for his chance. He excelled in the summer with England Under-20s with his ball-carrying a particular highlight, something he showcased within minutes of coming on for Bath last Friday. Nahum has worked really hard on his physical development over the past year and has enjoyed some game time with Hartpury in the Championship this season. He is someone who relishes game day and the big occasion and we are excited to see him get his hands on the ball and make his mark at Kingsholm.
George Worboys, Fly-Half
A scholar at the University of Bath, George has excelled in BUCS Super Rugby this season from fly-half and scored a hat-trick on his last outing for UOB. He is an intelligent ball player and decision-maker and poses a real attacking threat with ball in hand. George has great vision to unlock defences with an ability to create scoring opportunities for others and it will be brilliant to see that on the Premiership Rugby Cup stage.
Max Ojomoh, Centre
It’s clear for everyone to see that Max is thoroughly enjoying his rugby and opportunity in the first team. He has stepped up to Premiership level, developed an understanding of how the team wants to play and continued to play with a smile on his face. His efforts have been rewarded with the RPA’s MVP award which is much deserved for his hard work. All his appearances have come at inside centre to date so tonight is opportunity for him to develop himself in a new position where he will need to tactically adapt in both attack and defence situations.
John Stewart, Hooker
We are excited for John to have the opportunity to represent the senior team for the first time. Over the past year, he has been unfortunate with injury at times but has soaked in an abundance of knowledge by travelling with the first-team and taking advice from another homegrown hooker in Tom Dunn. A former back rower, John’s handling skills are a real asset to his game and he has made huge strides to develop his set piece game over the past couple of years. His desire to be physical in contact allows him to add great value in both attack and defence.
Josh Dingley, Lock / Back Row
Josh will become the club’s second youngest ever player behind Ethan Staddon if he gets his opportunity at Kingsholm. He has been a mainstay in the Academy for the past three seasons, representing the Under-16s and Under-18s as well as Marlborough College. Josh has the ability to play in the second row or the back row and he possesses impressive physicality. He has demonstrated excellent progress with his contribution at set piece and his ability to get around the pitch.
Tom Carr-Smith, Scrum-Half
Tom earned his first opportunity to represent England at Under-20 level in the summer and impressed alongside two scrum-halves in Raffi Quirke and Jack van Poortvliet who have a lot of Premiership games under their belt for their age. He is another one of our Senior Academy group who is very diligent and puts a massive amount of work in to ensure that when he gets his opportunities, he takes them. Tom has learned a lot from senior players like Ben Spencer by constantly seeking advice to maximise his game. He has brilliant core skills including a lovely pass and we can’t wait to see him on the senior stage for the first time.
Ciaran Donoghue, Utility Back
Ciaran has developed his skillset in the Academy pathway alongside his studies at Millfield School and has played in multiple positions throughout the years, honing his talents at fly-half, inside centre and full-back. He is a good footballer with a strong passing game and great tactical understanding, and he has developed significantly since training in the senior environment. The journey he has been on with us over the past few years has allowed him to understand the game model quickly and efficiently.
Gabe Goss, Wing
One of the fastest, if not the fastest, players at the club, Gabe has devastating capability with ball in hand. He is a fantastic finisher due to his ability to beat defenders in one-on-one situations but he also has a high work rate to support line breaks. Gabe is an intelligent player whose awareness allows him to take advantage of attacking situations. He has worked hard on his defensive game and we are looking forward to seeing him put what he’s learned into action against Gloucester.