Ealing Trailfinders Academy face a pre-season double-header this weekend in preparation for their season ahead, facing off against Pontypridd this Friday (20th) and Horsham this Saturday (21st).
The Academy make the trip to south Wales to take on ‘Ponty’ at Sardis Road, looking to replicate the fortunes of the first team squad who triumphed 40-11 in a friendly in 2015.
Friday’s hosts are coming off a 17-14 win against fellow Welsh Premiership side Newport in a friendly, having not taken to the field since March 2020 after suspension of their division due to coronavirus restrictions.
The five-time Welsh Premiership winners are led by head coach Justin Burnell, who represented his current side as a player, along with coaching at Cardiff Blues and London Welsh.
Select Trailfinders Academy players took part in several 7s competitions earlier on in the summer, including the Super 7s Series, where Trailfinders reached the knockout stages of each tournament and lost out to the competition's winning side.
The Academy also welcomed a new crop of budding freshers, including former London Irish Under 18 prop Joe Keohane and former Harlequins U18 Josh Tusler, in preparation for the upcoming campaign.
Paddy Gill’s side then make the trip to London 1 South outfit Horsham this Saturday, who were promoted via a playoff from London 2 South East ahead of the 2019/20 season.
Following their second promotion in four years and finishing 7th in London 1 South, the uncontested 2020/21 season put a halt to their notable progress.
Head of Rugby at Horsham Nick Stocker has outlined his determination to create a few upsets as they look to prolong their stay in the sixth tier of English rugby, who have retained “95% of their 2019/20 squad” while appointing current Harlequins professional player Ross Chisholm as Performance Coach.
The West Sussex club's return to rugby got off to a difficult start against London 1 North side Southend Saxons, who secured a 51-20 win over their visitors last weekend.
This article was first published by the Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club. Read the original here.