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Finals Day showcase for Academy League players

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Leicester Tigers will play Harlequins in the National Academy League Finals Day at Allianz Park, home of Saracens, on Monday (February 17).

Tigers finished in second place in the northern conference table with five wins from six games and will now play southern section runners-up Quins.

The top four clubs in each division go head to head on the artificial pitch at Allianz Park on Monday with matches starting at 11am. The Tigers-Quins fixture is at 3pm. Entry is free to all supporters.

Northampton Saints topped the northern conference after beating Gloucester in their re-arranged fixture on Tuesday, finishing a point ahead of Tigers.

Premiership Rugby's head of academies and development, Mike Hynard, is expecting a festival of raw talent and professionalism – with supporters invited to attend free of charge.

"It is going to be a great occasion for the players to showcase their skills and for the coaches to showcase the hard work they have put in,” said Hynard.

"The Academy Under-18 games have provided the perfect opportunities for Academy managers and directors of rugby to make decisions on the future of many of these talented players.

"The standard this year, upon last year, is vastly improved. The teams are better organised and the boys are better prepared, physically, technically and tactically.

"Many of the players on show on Monday will be the future stars of the Premiership, and the depth of talent will also, no doubt, strengthen the senior England team in the future. These games are a great opportunity for the talent of tomorrow to demonstrate their potential and stake a claim for a full time senior professional contract.”

There will be no champion crowned on Monday, as the tournament focuses on development rather than competition, and Hynard believes that is important for producing future stars.

"The focus of the academy programme is to find players of the future,” he said. "We don't want to become too competition-focussed – as in win at all costs. The whole ethos is to get the best 16, 17 and 18-year-olds playing in quality academy games having been prepared by top-quality professional coaches.”

Academy Finals Day programme:
11am Saracens v London Irish
1pm Bath Rugby v Gloucester Rugby
3pm Harlequins v Leicester Tigers
5pm Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs