Six of Leicester Tigers’ Under-18 League-winning Academy players will step up to senior rugby next season as members of the club’s Development Squad.
Sam Edwards, Harry Glynn, Emeka Ilione, Jack Rowntree, Kit Smith and Archie Vanes have been awarded development contracts, commencing in the 2020/21 season.
Scrum-half Edwards, who has featured in two of the club’s three successive Under-18 League title wins and represented England Under-18s this season, joins fellow Tigers Academy graduates Jonny Law and Jack Van Poortvliet as the No.9s in the development programme.
Glynn, a fly-half capable of playing at centre, has represented the Development XV in this season’s Premiership Rugby Shield campaign, as well as National League club Leicester Lions, and is an Under-18 League winner at Tigers.
Back-rower Ilione has also featured in the club’s two most recent League title wins and toured with England Under-18s last summer before entering his final season in the Tigers Academy, and is joined by fellow back-rower Smith, who also gained a representative call this year, in gaining promotion up the ranks in Leicester.
Front-rowers Rowntree and Vanes move into the development squad to join James Whitcombe and Osman Dimen as potential future members of the ABC Club – made famous by Rowntree’s father, Graham, during his decorated career at the club – and have both represented England at age-grade level while contributing to the club’s recent Academy success.
“They have been given an opportunity because of their hard work, but now it gets even harder for them and we’re confident they will commit to what is required and add valuable depth to our squad from next season"Geordan Murphy
Speaking about the inclusion of the six Tigers next season, Geordan Murphy said: “These are six highly impressive young men who have each played major roles in the success of our academy programme.
“They have been given an opportunity because of their hard work, but now it gets even harder for them and we’re confident they will commit to what is required and add valuable depth to our squad from next season.”
“The foundations built in these young men by Dave Wilks, Matt Smith and the entire Tigers Academy staff have done an excellent job and the club is aware of the importance of bringing through talented players, who are also good young men, into the senior programme"Ged Glynn
Ged Glynn, the club’s head of performance pathway and talent identification, added: “It’s an exciting time for these young men who are beginning their professional careers next season and we are delighted to have them doing it at Tigers.
“It is always a difficult decision, especially after recent success and the efforts of all those who have represented our academy in those title winning teams.
“All of those who have contributed to our programme’s success should be proud of what they have achieved.
“The foundations built in these young men at their schools and by Dave Wilks, Matt Smith and the entire Tigers Academy staff have done an excellent job and the club is aware of the importance of bringing through talented players, who are also good young men, into the senior programme.”
Jack Rowntree – Prop – Leicester Grammar School
Archive Vanes – Hooker – Brooksby Melton College
Kit Smith – Back Row – Oakham
Emeka Ilione – Back Row – Rugby School
Sam Edwards – Scrum Half– Brooksby Melton College
Harry Glynn – Fly Half – Oakham