The Henley College AASE side opened their League campaign with a close defeat at the hands of Truro College this week.
The side go into the season on the back of great success in the past two seasons reaching the Championship Final in their first year in the competition, and the Plate Final last season.
The AASE League is contested by Schools and Colleges affiliated to Premiership Academies. For example, where Henley College represents London Wasps, Oaklands College represents Saracens. There are 12 Colleges in the Competition, split into a Northern and Southern Pool. After playing each other home and away, the pool winners and runners up progress into the play offs in March.
This year’s squad is relatively young with only a third of the squad remaining from last year and the squad are expected to be tested physically this season.
The opening game was played in perfect conditions at Henley RFC but unfortunately the hosts were unable to play their open expansive game as they struggled to master the new scrum laws and also failed to secure much of their own lineout ball.
It’s to their credit that the young Wasps Apprentices only went down 14-5 despite Truro dominating territory as a result of their superiority at the set piece.
Despite this monopoly of possession Truro struggled to break Henley’s defence all afternoon due in part to its organization, but mostly as a result of the determination and spirit of the players to keep the defensive line intact. Truro eventually crossed shortly after Henley’s captain Will Morrison had been sent to the sin bin.
Henley showed glimpses of what they were capable of in attack with some dangerous counter attacking and intelligent use of turnover ball. Their endeavor was rewarded with a try for Noah Jarvis, who enjoyed a fine debut, following a neat offload by midfield partner Pat Culligan.
Jarvis’s 2nd half try gave Henley the chance of an unlikely victory but they were forced to play from deep and weren’t ever able to threaten Truro’s line again. This was a tough initiation for the young Wasps AASE outfit, but their defensive effort and glimpses of attacking flair suggest they will be a very competitive side once they can build a solid platform from which to attack.
Henley College AASE squad: Dan Furnell, Isa Mohammed, Noah Jarvis, Patrick Culligan, Conor Corrigan, Rob Waldron, Dan Wotton, Jackson Burton, Jack Willis, Joe Batt, Shek Sheriff, Will Morrison, Craig Parker, Addyhyaan Gurung, Ryan Jones Reps Alex Nikolatos, Cameron Crawford, Max Chandler, Rory McKeekan, Scott White, Liam Shields, Callum Cooke, Taylor Stephens.