After a good Christmas break, Bath Rugby Under-18s begin 2022 against Exeter Chiefs Under-18s on Saturday at Marlborough College (kick-off 13:00).
With conditions set to be wet, Academy Manager Craig Lilley believes it will be an exciting challenge for the junior Blue, Black and Whites against a physical Chiefs outfit.
“The boys have enjoyed the festive period with their families and have come back in raring to go,” Lilley said.
“They have continued to work hard since the last fixture against Saracens and there has been an education on the impact of individual errors.
“This week, we have been working on some of our attack principles, in particular how the forwards can work with backs to outwork the opposition and create overloads to then play between, outside or behind the defence and then keep the ball moving through second touches and effective support of the ball carrier.
“The weather is going to be poor on Saturday so it will be a great challenge for both team to manage the conditions on a grass pitch with ball in hand. Exeter will be a physical team so winning the battle on the gainline will be important as well as numbering up appropriately to reduce their time and space.”
James Redman of Beechen Cliff School comes in at full-back for his first appearance of the campaign with Byron Lloyd-Gilmour taking a spot on the wing at the venue of his school.
Millfield School’s Sam Harris returns to co-captain the team alongside school mate Max Pearce. Another from Millfield, Max Jenkins comes back into the second row with the rest of the XV the same that started at Saracens before Christmas.
On the bench Max Surry (Downside School), Alex Salah (King Edward’s School) and JJ O’Connell-Wozniak (Beechen Cliff School) are all set for their maiden Under-18s outings.
Bath Rugby U18 team to play Exeter Chiefs U18
15 James Redman (Beechen Cliff School), 14 Byron Lloyd-Gilmour (Marlborough College), 13 Will Parry (Sherborne School), 12 Sam Harris © (Millfield School), 11 Max Ashton (Beechen Cliff School), 10 Raff Weston (Beechen Cliff School), 9 Ieuan Davies (Millfield School); 1 Tom Hill (Wells Cathedral School), 2 Max Pearce © (Millfield School), 3 Billy Sela (Beechen Cliff School), 4 Eddie Erskine (Millfield School), 5 Max Jenkins (Millfield School), 6 George Timmins (Millfield School), 7 Archie McKibben (Millfield School), 8 Kacey Pike (Beechen Cliff School)
16 Tommy McLean (Beechen Cliff School), 17 Max Surry (Downside School), 18 Ellis Baker (Millfield School), 19 Alex Salah (King Edward’s School), 20 Jack Haythornthwaite (Beechen Cliff School), 21 Sam Curwen (Millfield School), 22 Rory Crum (Beechen Cliff School), 23 JJ O’Connell-Wozniak (Beechen Cliff School)