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Bears Academy U18s secure qualification for Finals Day

Bristol Bears Academy U18s booked their place in Finals Day for the first time, following a stunning 43-26 victory over South-West rivals Exeter Chiefs.

The victory on the road, Bristol’s third in the competition, secures a third placed finish in the Southern Conference.

Bears will now face Newcastle Falcons at Sixways on Sunday, February 16th as the two sides meet in the 5th vs 6th match up on U18s League Finals Day.

Worcester face Saracens in the 3rd vs 4th game, while London Irish play Leicester in the 1st vs 2nd clash.

Last season, Bristol finished bottom of the Southern conference without a win and over 300 points conceded in six games.

In fact, the Academy U18 had won just four games in seven years before the 2019/20 campaign.

However, Senior Academy Manager Gethin Watts, alongside transition coaches Sean Marsden, Jordan Crane and Danny Grewcock, has overseen an impressive turnaround in fortunes.

Tasked with winning 50% of their six fixtures, the U18s achieved this target by recording an opening day victory over Bath (18-17), a 32-21 defeat of Harlequins and the bonus point win over Exeter.

Watts’ side also secured a dogged losing bonus point on the road to Gloucester, while suffering defeats to London Irish and Saracens.

Following the impressive U18s campaign, a number of homegrown players are expected to be included in the England U18 squad for the development camp at Bisham Abbey on Thursday, February 20th.

The squad will be formally announced by the RFU later this month and the club are delighted that a group of our players will be recognised for their achievements in a Bears jersey.