18 January 2023
Four Senior Academy Exiles lined-up for England under-20s as Alan Dickens’ squad continue their preparations for the 2023 Under-20 Six Nations against Oxford University.
Afolabi Fasogbon (prop), Calum Scott (hooker), Monty Bradbury (fly-half) and Jack Walsh (wing) all played their part in a 54-31 triumph over the university side after a week’s preparation at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre.
The fixture, held at Iffley Road, held 2,00 spectators with Scott opening the game in the first half, the hooker’s involvement spread across both periods of the game and was joined by his Clubmates in the second half.
Scott proved solid at the set-piece, both at the put-in and lineout, as well as carrying well in the loose alongside front-row partner Fasogbon, the latter of whom touched down for a try.
In the backs, Bradbury dictated the pace of the frenetic affair and matched the levels set in the preceding half with solid ball distribution and moving his team forward.
Irish’s try involvements did not stop at Fasogbon, with Jack Walsh dotting down for an impressive score to cap off a performance filled with solid metre-making carries.
All players involved have been invited back into the England under-20s camp this week in preparation for a fixture against Loughborough University this Saturday (21st, 3pm kick-off).
Joe Vajner played out the final quarter for local side Richmond on their travels to Merseyside to play Caldy in the Championship, on an afternoon that ended in defeat for the away side.
Vajner held his own when required at the set-piece, handled well when passing to Richmond backs and won a jackal turnover, but it was but to finish up 27-7 in favour of the Ravers.
Josh Smart earned a first start of the season for Ampthill when they travelled to Vallis Way to face Ealing Trailfinders, and despite a 35-24 loss, Smart made an impression with his breakdown work and in the tackle as a loose forward.
In National League 1, title-chasers Rams utilised Ollie Allan for the full 80 minutes in a 26-14 win over Bishop’s Stortford in Reading, the scrum-half starring in the bonus-point triumph that kept the pressure on league leaders Sale FC.
The 18-year-old scored Rams’ third try to cap off a first quarter blitz, kicking a loose ball ahead from the 10-metre line to collect and score, his kicking from hand also catching the eye on the afternoon.
A last gasp Ben Atkins try capped of a brilliant outing for the back-row forward as Esher grasped a 30-24 win over fellow strugglers Leeds Tykes in the Nat. 1 fixture in Yorkshire.
Down a division in National League 2, Louis Kirkham aided in Barnes’ 31-21 home win over Henley to keep the pressure on the upper half of the league table, with Saturday’s hosts now fourth and level on points with Dorking and Worthing.
Kirkham’s quick feet evaded two Henley players in the build-up to Josh Davies’ five-pointer, the Irish youngster physically excelling in trying conditions.
Jarlath Gleeson (lock) played for Barnes’ seconds in the HALBRO Raging Bull Shield Division 1 38-19 win over Henley seconds, whilst Oran Murphy (prop) and Oliver Stirling (back-row) lost narrowly, 24-22, to Blackheath Heathens playing for Esher Cardinals.
London Irish under-18s suffered their first defeat of the 2022/23 Premiership Rugby Under-18 Academy League to Bath Rugby under-18s at the Hazelwood Centre, finishing 15-12 to the away team.
Tries from outside backs Sam Rockley and Ben Frampton bookended the tight affair in west London, but three unconverted first-half scores from Henry Bartlett, James Short and Kacey Pike secured the road win for Bath.
The Boys in Green, sitting second and one point behind Southern Conference leaders Saracens, will travel to Bristol for their fifth league encounter of the season next Saturday (21st), kicking-off at 7.45pm at Shaftesbury Park.
London Irish under-18s vs Bath Rugby under-18s
15 Ben Frampton, 14 Theo Williamson, 13 George Staveley, 12 Charlie Griffin, 11 Sam Rockley, 10 Louie Heard, 9 Noah Cowan; 1 Ralph McEachran, 2 Kepueli Tuipulotu, 3 Brandon Vince (c), 4 Tayo Adegbemile, 5 Will Saunders, 6 George Goodridge, 7 Reggie Hammick, 8 Jack Lee.
16 Israel Suleman, 17 Ralph Hawker, 18 Philip Truscott, 19 Ciaran Brickley, 20 Sam Lee, 21 Connor Peters, 22 Tyler Offiah, 23 Jonny Sharp.
Heineken Champions Cup involvement
Senior Academy players Chandler Cunningham-South (back-row) and Michael Dykes (wing) came on as replacements in London Irish’s Heineken Champions Cup Round 3 match against DHL Stormers.
Playing out the final half hour, Cunningham-South made 15 metres from six carries, five tackles and two offloads whilst Dykes made his first competition appearance in only his sixth Irish game.
Academy graduates Tom Pearson, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Ben Loader, Chunya Munga and Josh Basham also featured in Irish’s first ever match hosting South African opposition.