Rob Gibson wants his Exeter Chiefs Under-18s side to finish their season on a high note when they tackle Wasps in tomorrow’s Academy Finals Day at Worcester’s Sixways Stadium (2:30pm).
Having finished their Southern Group league fixtures with a 45-0 thumping of previously unbeaten Harlequins last Saturday, the Chiefs will head to the Midlands in buoyant mood and looking to put the seal on a campaign which has brought plenty of high points.
With only one defeat all season – that was at home to Saracens – the Devonians have come together well to produce not only a series of top quality performances, but also help the development of a number of the club’s academy players.
That has been underlined with both scrum-half Joe Snow and prop Marcus Street featuring for Exeter’s first team in this season’s Anglo-Welsh Cup.
Other members of the team have also featured for the Exeter Braves in the Aviva A League, underlining the hard work that continues to be put in at academy level at the club.
“We’re looking to finish with a really strong performance,” said head Gibson. “Our performance at the weekend against Harlequins showed what we are all about and now the challenge is to back that up against Wasps.
“We don’t really know a huge amount about them, so it’s meant our focus this week has been largely about ourselves and making sure we get all aspects of our game in place.
“From minute one against Harlequins we showed real intensity in everything we did and that has to be the case again on Thursday. That performance has set a benchmark in terms of standards that we need to hit and I’m confident the boys can again rise to the challenge.”
The Chiefs will be boosted by the return of forward Richard Capstick to their line-up after missing the past two games and he will pack down in an impressive back-row triumvirate alongside Charlie Wright and No.8 Rusi Tuima.
At half-back, Snow – who was impressive against Quins – skippers the side with deadly goalkicker Gwyn Parks outside of him at fly-half.
Otherwise, the Chiefs are largely unchanged for the game, which will determine who finishes third overall in this season’s competition.
CHIEFS UNDER-18s SIDE TO FACE WASPS
15 Finn Marks
14 Jake Penprase
13 Ollie Gibbon
12 Joe Elderkin
11 AJ Cant
10 Gwyn Parks
9 Joe Snow (capt)
1 Danny Southworth
2 Ben Phillips
3 Marcus Street
4 Joseph Parker Cooke
5 Lewis Pearson
6 Charlie Wright
7 Richard Capstick
8 Rusi Tuima
16 Will Ridout
17 Alfie Petch
18 Jack Hodge
19 Torin Clarke
20 Will Gibson
21 Max Norey
22 Sam Maunder
23 Angus Hallam