Leicester Tigers’ academy graduates were presented with their playing shirts in a half-time ceremony at Welford Road during Saturday’s league game against Harlequins.
In recognition of their progress through the academy system at the club over the last two years, each player received their Tigers shirt to warm applause from a 23,000-strong crowd.
Matt Smith, who came through the academy ranks and graduated to the first-team squad, where he now has more than 200 appearances for his hometown club, performed the presentations alongside academy management Dave Wilks and Jamie Taylor.
The ceremony made it another reason to remember the day for the young players, many of whom had been involved in a 47-7 win over Newcastle Falcons earlier on Saturday which secured top spot in the northern conference of the Academy Under-18 League and booked a place in the national final against the southern section winners.
Players who received their Tigers shirts were: Willo Bicknell, George Dickinson, Andre Dunn, Jacob Fewtrell, Taylor Zack Godfrey, Gough, Jamie Harding, Cameron Jordan, Dave Koelman, Joe Latham, Henri Lavin, Keston Lines, Will Poland, Xander Purcell, Thom Smith, Sam Wager and Will Yarnell.
The Under-18s are unbeaten this season, while four members of the group played senior rugby in the Anglo-Welsh Cup this season.