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Wasps show well at the Harrow School Festival

Wasps take part in the annual U15, 12-a-side Festival on Sunday 1st May 2011

By Rob Smith
London Wasps Academy Manager

The Wasps U15s Acadamy side took part in an excellent festival of rugby on Sunday with teams from the southern Academies involved – Bristol, Exeter, Gloucester, Harlequins, Saracens, Bath, London Irish and of course ourselves. This was the third year since the introduction of the festival and once again it proved to be a high quality, exciting and an enjoyable event. The weather was kind with a lovely warm day and a little bit of wind set in amongst the beautiful surroundings and facilities at Harrow School.

This is a very demanding tournament with 6, 15mins matches played for each team with 15mins between matches and a squad of 22 players. It is demanding technically, tactically but also physically.

I am pleased to report this year was our best performance to date results-wise, as we recorded wins against Gloucester, Saracens and Bristol with draws against Harlequins, Exeter and London Irish. So, an unbeaten day which ended against London Irish who went 3 tries up after 10mins only for Wasps to rally and score a try right on the final whistle to level the scores, this was a great recovery requiring determination, commitment and not least a great deal of skilful application. By the last game all the players are affected by fatigue so to dig deep and maintain quality until the last play was truly excellent and a great way to end the day.

Squad List – Alex Andrew, Toby Akinson – Coyle, Harry Baron, Matt Blandford, Paddy Harlow, Jackson Burton, Paul Childs, George Edgson, Harry Glover, Jamie Grist, Joel Harvey, Shaquille Jack, Matthew Keen, Michael Ledger, Mayank Madhok, Harry O’Hara, Josh Perry, Joe Royston - Bailey, Akria Takenaka, Andreas Georgiou, Callum Varrall and Ben Wood (Nick Boreham injured)

From this festival – the Northern Academies play on the 2nd May and then a squad of 35 players from across the country will be invited to attend a Summer Camp in August run by John Fletcher from the England Elite Performance Department. This does not affect the county/divisional U16 festival these boys will compete in next season, however it does provide some high quality training and start to highlight players for the future when John Fletcher puts together his England U18 squad. Hopefully some of our players will gain an invite and enjoy and benefit from the Summer Camp. In terms of longer term development with the week to week work within the Academy the invites have no bearing. Indeed we had one player invited last season but 12 made it through to the final England U16 trials.

It was another great day and well done to all the players for an excellent performance and for representing and promoting the Wasps club in such a very positive and successful manner on and off the field. I should add a big thank and congratulations to the coaches Ricky Khan, Dan Batty and Helen O’Leary (physio) for their work and support in preparation and throughout the day.

Looking forward to next year already.

Rob Smith