Youngsters promoted to senior ranks of Three Pears Warriors Academy
Worcester Warriors have promoted eight homegrown youngsters from this season’s successful Under-18s team to become senior members of the Three Pears Warriors Academy.
Scrum-half Oliver Wynn, fly-half Fin Smith, centre partners Seb Atkinson and Harry Spencer, props Ben Murphy and Mitch Reeve, hooker Joe Richardson and back-row forward Jack Forsythe all impressed in helping Warriors secure third place in this season’s Premiership Rugby Under-18 Academy League, where they beat Saracens 29-17 in the play-off at Sixways.
The new intake will now become senior members of the Three Pears Warriors Academy alongside current players Oli Morris, Morgan Monks, Lewis Holsey and Noah Heward.
The Three Pears Warriors Academy has established an outstanding reputation for developing talented youngsters into potential Premiership players, with flanker Ted Hill – already capped by England at senior level – Former England Under-20 internationals Ollie Lawrence, Will Butler, Justin Clegg, Andrew Kitchener and Joe Morris, Scotland Under-20s back-row forward Tom Dodd and wing/centre Alex Hearle among those who have graduated from the Academy to the senior squad at Sixways in the last two years.
“Our academy is central to our vision and the lifeblood of our club,” said Warriors’ director of rugby Alan Solomons.
“Senior academy players are all regarded as having the potential to play for the first team and, as such, are very much part and parcel of the senior squad and are fully involved with all training.
“It is fantastic to see another group of talented young homegrown Worcester boys coming through.
“A big thank you to Mike Hall, our academy manager, and all the academy staff for the terrific job they are doing in ensuring a continuous flow of homegrown talent into our ranks.”
Hall, who rejoined Warriors from Bristol Bears, where he was also academy manager, earlier this season, praised the contribution made by club and school coaches in the development of the new academy intake.
“Having seen so many players step up from the senior academy into the first team squad recently it is great that we are able to recruit another eight new players from within our own Under-18s set-up,” he said.
“I would like to place on record our appreciation of all of the hard work undertaken by everyone who has inputted into the players development since they first picked up a rugby ball.
“Through the local club coaches, the school teachers and the players families and friends, the encouragement and support they have been given leaves us in a position to recruit them as full time players for the Three Pears Warriors Senior Academy.
“For us to be in a position to recruit such a large number of players from our Under-18s shows that the programmes and processes for player development within our area is in extremely good health.”
While eight newcomers prepare for life at the Three Pears Warriors Academy, scrum-half Callum Morris has been released after two years at Sixways.
Morris made his Warriors debut as a replacement in the European Challenge Cup victory over Dragons at Sixways in December and played for Stourbridge in National Two North on a dual registration.
“Callum has had his playing opportunities severely restricted during his time with us due to injury,” Hall said.
“He hasn’t been able to showcase his talents in the way he would have liked and with that comes a sense of frustration.
“Everyone at Warriors would like to thank him for his efforts over the last two years and would like to wish him all the very best for his future career within the game.”
Biographies of the new Three Pears Warriors Academy intake:
Oliver Wynn: Scrum-half who played for Warriors in the Premiership Rugby 7s at Northampton last September. The 18-year-old Bromsgrove School and former Bishop Heber High School student played his formative club rugby for Whitchurch in Shropshire and was selected by England Under-18s before the coronavirus pandemic cut short their season.
Fin Smith: An 18-year-old fly-half from Warwick School who played in every match in the Premiership Under-18s Academy League this season. Smith, who plays his club rugby for Shipston-on-Stour, was also selected by England Under-18s before the coronavirus lockdown.
Seb Atkinson: A product of the Luctonians club in Herefordshire and Bromsgrove School, Atkinson captained Warriors Under-18s this season. The 18-year-old inside centre was also due to have the honour of captaining England Under-18s before their season was cut short.
Harry Spencer: The 18-year-old outside centre was Warriors’ Under-18s leading try scorer this season. Like Fin Smith, Spencer is a product of Shipston-on-Stour RFC and Warwick School.
Ben Murphy: The 17-year-old loosehead prop has progressed from Birmingham Moseley and King Edward VI, Five Ways through the age groups at Sixways. Murphy, powerful and athletic, had been involved in Wales Under-18s training squads before the coronavirus lockdown.
Mitch Reeve: A product of Solihull School and Silhillians RFC, the tighthead prop produced some eye-catching performances for Warriors Under-18s this season. Reeve, 18, is a strong scrummager, a powerful ball-carrier and is versatile enough to play either side of the scrum.
Joe Richardson: The 18-year-old hooker helped King’s School, Worcester regain the Modus Cup by beating RGS Worcester at Sixways in October and went on to be a consistent performer for Warriors Under-18s. Richardson played his formative club rugby across the road from Sixways at Worcester RFC and impressed with his work ethic and game understanding in the Premiership Under-18s Academy League.
Jack Forsythe: The 18-year-old mobile back-row forward is the third Warwick School student to be promoted to the Senior Academy, having produced some stand-out performances for Warriors Under-18s over the last two seasons. Forsythe, who played his early club rugby for Claverdon, then Stratford, toured South Africa with England Under-18s last year and was due to play for them again before their season was ended by the coronavirus.