Loan action

In the Championship, Josh Smart’s (back-row) afternoon for Ampthill was cut short after a head injury with eight minutes gone, the Bedfordshire side soldiering on to take a 28-19 win against London Scottish at Richmond Athletic Ground.

Playing for Richmond, hooker Joe Vajner played out the first 40 minutes for the south-west Londoners on the road to the West Country, but Steve Hill’s side fell to a 26-14 loss against Hartpury University.

Richmond’s seconds handed Esher Cardinals a heavy defeat in the HALBRO Raging Bull Shield Division 1, finishing 55-26, Oran Murphy (prop) and Oliver Stirling (back-row) unfortunately on the wrong side of the result.

Ollie Allan maintained his connection with National League 1 side Rams as they picked up a 33-27 win over Cambridge, the scrum-half coming off the bench as the Reading-based side trail leaders Sale FC by two points with two games in hand.

Three converted scores in the final quarter, two of which were in the final two minutes, helped Rams to a stunning turnaround victory for the away side at Grantchester Road.

Tarek Haffar (prop) made a return to action for Rams Titans after time away from the field, earning a starting berth for the Club’s second side to win 49-14 against Barnes’ seconds, who named Connor Cross (centre) amongst their matchday 23.

First impressions

Michael Dykes made history on his first Gallagher Premiership start in the west London derby against Harlequins, being only the third player to score a hattrick on his debut.

The wing grabbed a first-half brace, the second of which was an eye-catching, acrobatic finish, whilst completing the hattrick early on in the second half as Irish won 42-24.

Dykes made 72 metres from six carries, five tackles, beating three defenders and making two clean breaks.

Fellow Senior Academy player Chandler Cunningham-South was a striking influence from back-row on derby day, making 17 metres from five carries, 11 tackles and beating one defender.

The duo was joined by Academy graduates Tom Pearson and the returning Henry Arundell in the win, the loose forward contributing a try, try assist, 19 tackles and winning four turnovers.

Under-20 Six Nations

Four Exiles are involved with Alan Dickens’ England under-20s side to open up their 2023 Under-20 Six Nations campaign against Scotland this Friday (3rd) evening, kicking-off at 7pm.

Chandler Cunningham-South (number eight) and Monty Bradbury (fly-half) have been named as starters at the Twickenham Stoop, with Calum Scott (hooker) and Afolabi Fasogbon (prop) named as replacements.

Scott, Fasogbon and Bradbury are set for their first competitive caps at under-20 age grades, all of whom have contributed recently with strong play in Dickens’ side’s two exhibition wins over Oxford University and Loughborough University.

Age-grade development

The London Irish under-16 Academy side were on their travels over the weekend for an exhibition match against Bath Rugby under-16s taking a 42-28 win last Sunday.

The Premiership Rugby Under-18 Academy League returns this Saturday (4th) for Irish, with the first-place under-18s back in action away at Truro College to face Exeter Chiefs under-18s.

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