22 March 2023
Third year back-row forward Lucas Brooke earned some minutes as a replacement for local side Richmond on their travels to Bedford Blues in the Championship.
The 21-year-old played 35 minutes for Steve Hill’s men, and despite the south-west Londoners losing 39-5, Brooke had plenty of ball involvements with his quick feet advancing his side up the park, combined with his sound tackling.
Fellow Academy loose forward Louis Kirkham also gained half hour of pitch time for Barnes in National League 2 East alongside Clubmate Connor Cross (centre), playing away in Kent to Sevenoaks.
Despite an early red card, Barnes overcame the reduced complement to take a 28-12 victory, rising to second in the fourth tier with Cross one of four try-scorers for the Londoners.
Kirkham contributed well in his 30-minute appearance as a finisher, winning a penalty turnover at the breakdown with numerous tackle and carry contributions to aid in the solid victory.
Oliver Stirling lined up for Esher’s second side, the Cardinals, out of his regular back-row position and into in the second-row against Richmond Saxons at the Richmond Athletic Ground.
Unfortunately for Stirling and co., it was to be an 11th loss of the campaign in the HALBRO Raging Bull Shield Division 1 as they sit ninth in the division.
Ralph McEachran (prop) and Kepu Tuipulotu (hooker) gained their first under-18 caps for England over the weekend when Jonathan Pendlebury’s side took on France at Esher Rugby Club.
They were joined by Clubmate Rory Taylor in the exhibition game, the fly-half starting and slotting two conversions in the first hour of the game in his second appearance back from injury.
Tuipulotu also started in what was an afternoon of challenging weather conditions, going well in contact and at the breakdown and upholding the set-piece at the lineout with his throws on several occasions.
The hooker was joined by front-row partner and loosehead prop McEachran as a replacement, who also contributed during the large number of scrums and registered one carry.
Moving up an age-grade, three more Academy Exiles were involved with the England under-20s set-up as their Under-20 Six Nations campaign drew to a close against Ireland at Mugrave Park, Cork.
Monty Bradbury (fly-half), Chandler Cunningham-South (number eight) and Afolabi Fasogbon (tighthead prop) all started, which meant Fasogbon earned a first appearance in the 3 jersey at under-20 level.
Irish’s back-row talent registered 13 tackles, four passes (including an offload), two lineout wins and the joint-third highest metres made amongst England players (62 metres from 11 carries).
Fasogbon recorded 10 tackles and 15 running metres, whilst Bradbury made his fourth try assist of the tournament and seven tackles before a dismissal for a dangerous tackle.
Alan Dickens’ side were defeated 36-24 on the evening to finish overall fourth in the 2023 Under-20 Six Nations.
It’s derby weekend for the under-16s this Saturday (25th) with a development fixture against Harlequins under-16s at Hazelwood, following on from a home success against Midlands West under-16s last weekend.
Irish picked up a 33-29 comeback win over Midlands West last weekend, and will hope to continue their form against their local rivals in Sunbury, with the game kicking-off at 11:30 am.
London Irish under-16s team to face Harlequins under-16s
15 Jensen Kelsey, 14 Jack Knapman, 13 Lockie Lee, 12 Cameron Ward (c), 11 Quinn Dunstall, 10 Finn Keylock, 9 Somto Monye; 1 Jacob Fallon, 2 Oscar Thomas, 3 Alfie Holland, 4 Will May, 5 Pierce Kelly, 6 Rico Lam, 7 Elliot Giles, 8 Darren Bold.
16 Liam Curran, 17 Leroy Hove, 18 Alan Poku, 19 Spencer Codling, 20 Charlie Wheeler, 21 Lucas Norton, 22 Albert Mildenhall, 23 Lincoln Williams.