First year Academy intake Connor Cross (utility back) and Louie Kirkham (back-row) played out their pitch time for Londoners Barnes against Tonbridge Juddians over the weekend.
The National League 2 East clash finished up 33-17 in favour of the home side at Barn Elms, Cross lasting the full 80 and switching between both full-back and inside centre positions.
Just after the break, where Barnes were 12-0 up, the versatile back assisted a stunning try of his own making, evading six defenders from halfway before eventually offloading to Chris Stegmann to dot down.
Cross would indeed cross the whitewash late on as a midfielder, fielding a short exit kick and selling the Juddians’ rearguard with a dummy before stepping inside and scoring under the posts.
His noteworthy performance was only further complemented with Kirkham’s exploits at blindside flanker, whose impact was most felt in maintaining his side’s line speed and his handling in the carry as Barnes now sit fourth in the division.
Moving up the tiers saw Esher utilise prop Oran Murphy for the final half hour of their away victory over Cinderford in National League 1, concluding 47-35.
Murphy got a taste of pitch time throughout the final quarter at the Beavis Memorial Ground in Gloucestershire, experiencing a physical contest which he matched well at scrum time, the breakdown, as well as in the loose.
Ampthill played out the sole Championship fixture of the weekend when they hosted Nottingham at Dillingham Park, winning 36-24.
Luke Green (prop) and Josh Smart (back-row) earned valuable minutes for the Bedfordshire outfit, both maintaining a solid set-piece in the win with Smart giving an abrasive performance through his tackles and breakdown work.
Under-20 Six Nations
Alan Dickens selected three Senior Academy London Irish players as his side continued their strong form in the Under-20 Six Nations, winning 37-21 against Wales in Colwyn Bay.
Monty Bradbury (fly-half) recorded his third try assist in as many rounds of action, setting up Ben Waghorn’s try with a stats sheet including an average of just over eight metres per carry, the most kicking metres of any player (264), six tackles, 24 passes, one offload and broke two tackles.
Bradbury’s dictating performance was reinforced with Clubmates Afolabi Fasogbon (prop) and Calum Scott (hooker) finishing off the game with 31 and 16 minutes as replacements, respectively.
Fasogbon made five tackles, including one dominant, and Scott made one turnover win and seven metres per carry in two ball carries.
Senior squad involvement
Two Senior Academy players earned more Premiership appearances for the London Irish first team over the weekend, in a narrow 25-22 defeat to Leicester Tigers.
Tarek Haffar (prop) and Chandler Cunningham-South (back-row) both were utilised as replacements at the Gtech Community Stadium, Haffar playing out the final half hour with the loose forward joining the action seven minutes later.
The third year front-rower made six tackles and beat on defender, with Cunningham-South scoring his third try for Irish off the base of a scrum with a typically powerful carry over the whitewash.
Academy graduates Tom Pearson, Chunya Munga, Will Joseph and Ben Loader were also involved for Irish on the day, Pearson bagging his fourth try of the campaign on the night.
Guinness Six Nations Championship
Another exemplar of the Academy system, Henry Arundell, made his fifth appearance as a senior England international against Wales at the Principality Stadium.
The third round Guinness Six Nations Championship game saw Arundell introduced late on for Steve Borthwick’s making a positive run with a 12-metre gain, as England won 20-10.