Tuesday, 24 November 2020

College programme moving to new heights with Wasps support

College programme moving to new heights with Wasps support

DESPITE the relocation of Aviva Premiership giants Wasps to Coventry, The Henley College remains a crucial part of the club’s junior academy and player development pathway.

With 18 of the current Wasps U18/U17 academy group on the AASE rugby programme at the college, Henley have had a strong season this far.

After a gruelling first term of rugby, Henley College finished second in RFU AASE South League and although they could not knock over eight-times champions Hartpury College (Gloucester Rugby Club) or eventual championship winners Exeter College (Exeter Chiefs) they still earned a fourth/fifth place playoff spot at AASE finals day at Loughborough University last month. Here they met Leicester Tigers-affiliated Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth College and although an entertaining game Henley proved too strong for their East Midlands counterparts winning 34-5.

Moving into this year Henley College have continued their winning ways with victories over Coventry Academy and Bristol-affiliated SGS Filton on Wednesday of last week.

The later stages of 2016 also saw ex-Henley College AASE students Connor Eastgate and Jack Willis make their senior debuts for Wasps in the LV Cup with wins against Worcester and Sale.

Alongside Henley College’s success the Wasps U18 Academy are also sitting top of the Aviva premiership U18 League after two rounds with wins over Worcester Warriors and Yorkshire Carnegie. Nine Henley College AASE students have been regular faces in the squad already, namely, Silas Pill, Sam Clarkson, Brendan Clarke, Paddy Harris, Nico Petros, Aaron O’Sullivan, Murray Bellis, Tom Willis and Will Simonds.

Later this year The Henley College has been invited by the RFU and Japanese Rugby Union to compete in the Sanix World Youth games. The tournament will take place in Fukuoka, Japan, in April, where Henley will compete against the best school boys’ teams in the world including New Zealand school boy champions Mount Albert Grammar School, a team that AASE manager Jack Wiggins knows well from his time there. Wiggins said: “MAGS were a big rival of my old school Hastings Boys; in fact they beat them in the final this year to earn a place in the Sanix Competition.

“It is a great opportunity for the College to be going out to Japan and playing against the best in the world and for me that’s what it is all about. We want to prepare these lads for life in the professional game and give them new experiences. This might be the start for some of them.”

Anyone interested in applying to the AASE programme at Henley College should attend the next trial at Dry Leas on February 25 from 10am to 12 noon. To register your interest contact the AASE manager on jwig@henleycol.ac.uk

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