Under 18s final day was a showcase of upcoming Premiership talent. The three games provided entertaining, free-flowing rugby.
Players are looking for academy contracts, fighting for their place in the holy grail of Premiership clubs.
Here are the results from the weekend:
Fifth-place play-off: Sale 29- 35 Harlequins
Third-place play-off: Wasps 19-21 Saracens
Final: Gloucester 21- 43 Leicester
But who stood out on finals day? Here are some exciting young players from Sale, Gloucester, Harlequins and Leicester for your answer.
Tom Curtis – Centre – Sale Sharks
Curtis is no doubt a future starter for Steve Diamond’s Sale Sharks, the number 12 made life hell for the opposition Quins in the fifth-place play-off.
A danger with the ball, Curtis carried, kicked and proved allusive in possession. Despite a yellow card for cynical play, he showed his power with the ball but also with the boot.
The centre kicked most of his kicks and despite losing the game, shone throughout.
Jack Kenningham – Number 8 – Harlequins
The big number 8 Kenningham proved to score the decisive try, securing his side the third-place spot on finals day.
A big ball carrier, Kenningham is safe under the high ball and a barraging back-rower. Carrying strong throughout the game, the number 8 proved too powerful on the collision Sale to deal with.
Consistently requiring two players to bring him down, the young back-rower stabilised the scrum and brilliantly showed his quality using the handoff.
Ewan Ashman- Hooker – Sale Sharks
The next Jamie George? Ashman took the ball into contact and never went backwards.
Safe at the scrum, the hooker scored Sale’s opening try and carried like a back-rower. A good throwing record throughout the game gave his side the front foot during the first half.
Playing 50 out of the 70 minutes was impressive considering his work-rate, even managing a chip in behind the Quins defence.
Ashman will be playing A League rugby within the next few seasons, Premiership Rugby is inevitable!
George Martin – Lock – Leicester Tigers
Martin was one of the players of this finals day. The second row is a huge carrier of the ball while being safe under the high kick.
Taking two defenders with him, Martin was a prominent figure in Leicesters triumphant side – even scoring a try.
Playing a style of rugby where walking wasn’t seen, Martin led the Leicester Forwards as if he had been in the first team. The Welford Road faithful will be craving his presence in front of the terrace in years to come.
Jack Reeves – Centre – Gloucester Rugby
A second centre shone today with Reeves of Gloucester really showing the game style that would please Johan Ackerman.
A disallowed try in the opening quarter didn’t stop the centre from impressing in what was ultimately a losing effort.
Managing to score through a beautiful running line, Reeves also showed his ball handling skills with a juggling pickup that had the Allianz Park crowd in awe.
Freddie Steward – Full Back – Leicester Tigers
Steward, part of the under-18s champions, Leicester Tigers, scored two brilliant tries to place his side in a comfortable position in the first half.
The second try consisted of a beautiful break, chip, chase and score – really putting the Tigers out of sight in the first half.
The full-back looked like a back rower at times, piercing through the defensive line too put his side on the front foot.
The under-18 finals day had it all: close encounters, tries galore and some monster tackles. Each of the six sides had their own stand-out players but the third place and first place finals showed the future of rugby within the Premiership.
Saracens, Harlequins and Leicester all won on finals day – but some of these players could become ‘finishers’ for Premiership coaches in a few years to come.
The champions are Leicester but Premiership rugby overall is looking strong.