The Colts won two County titles and reached the National Under-18 Cup final last season to complete one of the most successful junior campaigns in the club’s history.
As a result, Elthamians Director of Rugby Gavin Lach has called up the talented quintet of captain Dillon Robertson (pictured), centre Zac Filmer, flanker Joe Leigh, scrum-half Jacob Buckley and fly-half James Biss, who this week played for Canada Under-20s in their opening World Trophy qualifying series game against USA, to join the first team squad for pre-season training which starts in the first week of July.
“We have had two outstanding age groups coming out of the Under-18s in the last two seasons,” Lach said, “which is reflected in the number of players who have progressed into the senior sides.
“We formed a Development XV last year to provide a pathway for the boys to progress through the senior section and it worked very well with several of these boys getting chances in the Extra 1st XV as the season progressed.
“So we will keep adding internally as well as externally to the squad, showing the boys coming out of what is an outstanding junior section at Elthamians that there is a clear pathway to the 1st XV. If you look at the side that beat Sidcup in the Kent Cup final, we only had three players over the age of 23 in the match day squad.”
Two players from that cup final victory, 19-year-old St Mary’s Academy prop Bobby Bratton and centre Ciaran McGann, have also been added to the 1st XV squad and will play more senior rugby next season.
Lach said: “Both Bobby and Ciaran only played a small amount of senior rugby last term because of St Mary’s commitments. This season, we will look for both to push on and force their way into the 1st XV set-up. Both are outstanding talents.”