Havant Academy bidding to be crowned national champions
Havant Academy are bidding to be crowned National Colts champions as they take on Brentwood on Bank Holiday Monday at Bedford Blues RFC (3pm).
Both teams have fought their way past strong opponents on their way to the final, and it is expected to be a close one to call.
Havant chairman Jonathan Mangnall believes it is a huge achievement by their young side.
‘To reach a national cup final of your peers is a significant achievement,’ said Mangnall.
‘The hard work and effort of the players, which started back in July, has allowed them to realise their potential. At the same time they have been allowed the freedom to enjoy their rugby.
‘I am sure they will do the club and Hampshire Rugby proud.
‘As a club we are delighted with the progress of our Academy, which is critical to us producing home-grown talent.
‘With the financial support of Cambridge Volvo and a huge commitment from our coaching staff, we have created an environment which has bred success.
‘This pool of talent has the potential to serve the club well in years to come.
‘The coaches are doing a great job in developing the youngsters’ skills and also the character of the players within the spirit of the game.’
On their way to the final, Havant beat Gosport & Fareham, Winchester, Chinnor and Guildfordians to reach the quarter-finals.
They then overcame Redruth and in the semi-finals produced a magnificent effort to beat Nottingham Corsairs 6-3 on their own ground.
At Nottingham, against last season’s under 17s champions, the visitors produced a brand of skilful and uncompromising rugby to earn their passage to the final.
The club have used 29 players in all, which is a testament to their outstanding team ethic.
Many of the players have been with the club since they started playing rugby with the mini section.
In the centre, Caspar Hird and Jerome Rudder have developed into an excellent pairing, both in attack and defence.
Seb Tyler has exceeded all expectations since switching from the wing to open side wing-forward in the new year.
Winger James Hutton has also made a return after a season sidelined by serious injury.
Havant: Elliott Bellman, Tye Upton, Harrison Chalk, Joe Walsh, Ben Watkins, Matt Whitehead, Seb Tyler, Rob Cuffe, Tim Russell, Dan Heyes, Ollie May,
Caspar Hird, Jerome Rudder, James Hutton, Nick Blumlein, Jack Flear, Tom Mew, Will Owen, James Rayner, Izaak Cooper, Liam Colclough, Tom Payne