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Finals Day adds 'exciting end' to Academy League

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Academy manager Neil McCarthy is excited to see his team reach Monday's first-ever National Under-18 League Finals Day and pit Leicester Tigers against other top prospects from across the country.

Tigers head to Allianz Park, alongside seven other Aviva Premiership teams, as the top four in each of the northern and southern conferences go head to head. Leicester face Harlequins after both sides finished in second place in their respective tables.

The National Academy League is designed to provide a competitive playing programme for England academy players and McCarthy believes a number of those taking part will be gracing the national team in years to come.

Though there will be no national champion crowned at the end of the day, McCarthy is relishing the chance for his crop to compete.

"It really gives it a competitive edge,” he said. "I think overall, for all the clubs, the finals day is a good progression – it gives us a bit of an ending.

"Last year the competition didn’t have this occasion to finish it off so we are pretty excited about the whole event.

"This is an opportunity to see the eight best under-18 teams in the country. The likelihood is that there will be players from this group that will go on to play for England and it is an opportunity for people to watch them in their development.”

The league programme provide opportunities for academy players to represent their clubs in their club shirts, as well as allowing the coaches to see their players compete with the best players in the country.

"I think all the games have been of a very high quality,” added McCarthy. "We are normally pretty competitive year in, year out and that is our aim – but, more importantly, that we are producing players for the first team.”

Entry is free at Allianz Park to all supporters.

The full schedule on Monday:
11am Saracens v London Irish
1pm Bath Rugby v Gloucester Rugby
3pm Harlequins v Leicester Tigers
5pm Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs