Jan 24, 2017
Saracens U18s to face London Irish U18s at Allianz Park
Saracens fans will be able to get their Allianz Park fix this weekend with Saracens U18s facing London Irish U18s on Saturday, kick-off 12h00.
Fresh from an impressive 59-21 rout of Bristol U18s last weekend, the U18s side will tackle the Exiles on Saturday afternoon in NW4.
Speaking ahead of the game, academy manager Don Barrell said; “It’s a great chance to see these players test themselves against the best players of their age group across the country. The aim of this league for us is to assess which players we feel could kick on to join the academy on a permanent basis. In these games, we’re looking to see if these young guys can exhibit the qualities that we want in a player; work-rate, commitment and that extra 5% that we talk about internally."
On facing Irish, Barrell added: “They’ve been some impressive games so far in this competition, some really competitive clashes so we’re looking forward to seeing our side test themselves once again. Irish have a great set-up with some talented players who are well-coached so it’s a good test for us. It will be great if we can get some Saracens supporters down to Allianz Park on Saturday to support the next generation of Sarries players.”
Saracens U18s side to face London Irish U18s
15 Elliot Obatoyinbo; 14. Chris Annous, 13. Oli Morris, 12 Josh Hallett, 11 David Jimoh; 10 Manu Vunipola, 9. Bryn McCall; 1. Kapeli Pifeleti, 2. Sam Crean, 3. Andrew Boye, 4. Cameron Boon, 5. Joel Kpoku, 6. Andy Christie, 7 Sean Reffel (c), 8. Tobias Munday
Replacements: 16. Billy Young, 17. Elliot White, 18. Edward Thompson, 19. Alfie Scopes. 20. Oscar Furneaux, 21. Matteo Petrozzi, 22. Ollie Buck, 23. Joe Hall
Entrance for Saracens U18s vs London Irish at Allianz Park is free. Kick-off is 12h00.
Ones to watch this weekend
Elliot Obatoyinbo – Full-back
Saracens Academy’s quicksilver runner, Obatoyinbo, who is at Harrow School, is equally adept at full-back or on the wing. Devastating in the open field he is an exciting runner with an eye for the try-line. A talented sportsman, Elliot is a top ranked golfer for his age group and a talented long jumper.
Oli Morris - Centre
Brother of Academy and England U20s centre Dom Morris, Oli Morris is a blazing his own trail throughout the England age groups. He was called up to the England U18s at the age of 16, and is known for his tenacious defence and aggressive ball-carrying. From New Hall School in Essex he will partner school mate and talented youngster Josh Hallett in the centres on Saturday.
Bryn McCall – Scrum-half
A promising half-back from Haileybury school, McCall has featured for the Irish Exiles away from Saracens and will look to dictate proceedings in tandem with Manu Vunipola in the halves on Saturday. “A tenacious player with an unbelievable knowledge of the game. Bryn's a player who drives the team on with his energy," said Don Barrell about the U18s number nine.
Andrew Boye – Tighthead prop
A young prop forward who has come through the ranks in the Saracens Player Pathway in Kent, he has impressed academy coaches with his dedication, work-rate and desire to improve. “He’s an example for the rest of the group,” said Don Barrell on the young prop, “He has the work-ethic and the application that we all talk about here, we’re looking forward to seeing how he goes on.”
Joel Kpoku – Lock forward
You can’t help but notice Joel Kpoku when he’s on the field. The giant second row forward came off the bench to face Munster A for Saracens Storm and towered above players much older and experienced that the Oaklands College student. Hailing from North London, Kpoku has represented London Skolars RL U17s before joining the Saracens system.
Sean Reffel – Openside flanker (captain)
Having spent a prolonged period in the Saracens system Reffell is the heartbeat of this U18s side. “Sean leads through his actions,” Don Barrell. “His work-rate and tenacity are a real point of difference and he is the embodiment of what we want from a young player looking to improve.”