So a new year of school rugby finds us at that time of the season that is so important to the U15 and U18 age groups as the RFU Schools Cup moves to the final stages and the semi-finals weekend at Allianz Park over the 3rd and 4th March 2018.
For Warwick this has been a season that has seen significant change in the back room staff with Mark Nasey leaving his position of DoR last school year and Tom Pierce being promoted into the role. Tom has been pulling the strings around the U15s squads successfully for a number of years but he has had the added burden of a very successful run across all age groups in previous years to live up to.
Well this season has seen both the U18 and U15 squads once again forge their way to the semi-finals weekend. Almost irrespective of whether they are able to convert to a finals day the legacy appears to be intact.
It was not just the DoR role which has changed, there has been a number of new appointments through the extended team which has meant teams finding their way with new coaching staff, new staff learning about the personalities within the teams and working out how to achieve the best results.
The U18s have had a reasonably smooth path to the semi-finals with Pierce and Ventor taking the reins of a young team and getting the very best from the group. This was probably best demonstrated in the match win against Canford School where Warwick played with pace and accurate ball handling; an attribute that some academy teams around the country would crave for! The result of 57-12 would appear on the surface to flatter the home side on the day but they really did play with an ‘X-factor’ which saw them safely through to Allianz.
The U15s have perhaps had the slightly harder run. A new coaching team of Willis and Fatialofa firstly had to find their ‘style’ and it is perhaps the blend of new and experience here that has won through with a talented bunch of boys. At this age there is still much development to take place and the U15s team this year are no different.
Their run was always building to a local derby of Warwick versus Bromsgrove in the fourth round, which as a match did not fail to deliver. Both sides are closely matched but on this occasion it was the side with home advantage that edged it, in what was a very tight match. Both teams showing their desire and skill and Bromsgrove being edged out by just three points in the end. It was a game worthy of a semi-final but was a fourth round group stage match.
This led to a tough fixture in the quarters facing Northampton School for Boys away. A drawn fixture which really ebbed and flowed during the game. A match which took the level of physicality for the age group to a new level and a demonstration of disciplined defence from Warwick which really belied their years. It was the near faultless defence which won the game for Warwick on this occasion as they progressed on the away team rule within the competition. So they find themselves also on the way to Allianz.
So once again we hope to see the ‘blue and white’ Warwick wave on display over the weekend of the 3rd and 4th March. It seems that the legacy created by the previous incumbents of Nasey (Stamford) and Martin (Whitgift) is in safe hands. We wish all the boys from Warwick, Whitgift, Manchester Grammar and Hampton every success in their bid for the final at Twickenham and as a Warwick parent hope to see two teams running out on the ‘hallowed turf’ once again.
by Iain Mobberley (parent), Photos Gareth Callan (parent)