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School Rugby

St Joseph’s Festival: Sensational RGS Newcastle claim maiden St Joseph’s title

21st October 2018
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RGS Newcastle won the St Joseph’s Festival for the first time in their history after a superb weekend of play.

 

The North Eastern side beat Millfield 17-9 in the final with an excellent performance. Millfield came into the tournament as the favourites and had reached last year’s final too, but once again they were thwarted at the last.

 

RGS actually went behind in the final, with Millfield landing an early penalty, but the men in red and white hoops responded in the style that has been typical of them throughout the tournament as they went through phase after phase of pressure before eventually barging over the line for a 5-3 lead.

 

Before long they had done the same again, stretching to 10-3 through another brilliant display of forward power as well as some great play from the likes of Brantingham and Obonna.

 

Millfield seemed to sense that they were in a tight one, and responded as they had in a similar game in their Group earlier in the day against the hosts, St Joseph’s College, taking the points whenever they were on offer.

 

With penalties either side of half time, that meant that the deficit was soon reduced to just a point at 10-9 in RGS’ favour.

 

With a reputation like Millfield’s a few murmurs crept around the crowd that maybe Millfield would nick it, but the reality was that from the very moment they arrived at this tournament, RGS Newcastle have been the side that everyone has been talking about, and with good reason.

 

They are utterly relentless, and while the power up front and tenacity in defence has been their stock, their back play and use of space has been excellent too.

 

It was that relentless forward power that ended the game in reality though as they scored their third try for a 17-9 lead. Millfield game it their best shot of launching a comeback, but with time dying out, RGS soaked the pressure up to secure their 17-9 victory.

 

It was a victory built on passion, a passion perhaps spurned by having such a tough opening day group with reigning champions Brighton College, this year’s Plate winners, Hampton, and the excellent St Peter’s York all with them. Those of us that didn’t know the mindset of these RGS players said they might struggle to get out of the group, such was the difficultly of it.

 

How wrong we were all proved to be, and you felt that sense of wanting to prove themselves. As captain Will Pettiffer said after the tournament “that’s what got us through the weekend, that passion, that team spirit”. He was right, the passion and team spirit was immense.

 

The coaching too. Jim Pollock and his team knew exactly what sort of side they had, and knew that if they played to their strengths they could win it.

 

RGS kept it tight for the most part, took their kicks at goal when on, and played for field position whenever possible. The way so much schools rugby is played these days, it was a style of rugby that few sides had come across, let alone at such high intensity.

 

From the moment they beat Hampton on Saturday morning we knew this was a special side, when they followed it up with wins over Brighton College and St Peter’s York to reach the Cup groups on Sunday, they had become the favourites.

 

Things were tighter on Sunday, as they often are, 10-8 over Denstone College and 6-0 over Hurstpierpoint before a more commanding 23-0 against Merchiston, built largely on kicks at goal, but all the way they were showing that title winning mentality and doggedness that would prove so effective against Millfield in the final.

 

There was some joy for Millfield though, their fullback Dan John was named Player of the Tournament and rightly so, his fleet footedness, mature game-understanding, and utterly impeccable defence were a joy to watch. There was consolation for the hosts too as winger Louis Martin was awarded the Try of the Tournament.

 

Plate Competition

 

Over in the Plate Eltham College, who reached last year’s Plate final, and Hampton, 2016 Plate winners, both went through their groups unbeaten to reach the final. It was a fitting final, Eltham had missed out heartbreakingly on a Cup place on try countback, while Hampton were in that group of death with the eventual champions, RGS Newcastle.

 

In the final though, Hampton’s class shone through, with England U18 full back Louis Lynagh almost predictably proving the inspiration with a stunning solo try from inside his own 22 to inspire a 17-8 victory. Eltham College took some consolation in the new Fair Play award though.

 

Final word though must go to the exceptional RGS Newcastle, an outstanding rugby side who performed with passion, precision, and a huge heap of team spirt.

 

They were a joy to watch, and should strike fear into the heart of every opponent they face from here on out this season.

 

Cup Final:

 

RGS Newcastle 17-9 Millfield

 

Plate Final

 

Hampton 17-8 Eltham College

 

2018 St Joseph’s Festival Day 2 Groups – Final Standings

 

Cup Group 1

 

Pos Team W D L Points
1 Millfield 3 0 0 6
2 Dulwich College 2 0 1 4
3 St Joseph’s College 0 1 2 1
4 Brighton College 0 1 2 1

 

Cup Group 2

 

Pos Team W D L Points
1 RGS Newcastle 3 0 0 6
2 Denstone College 1 0 1 2
3 Merchiston Castle 1 0 2 2
4 Hurstpierpoint College 1 0 2 2

 

Plate Group 1

 

Pos Team W D L Points
1 Eltham College 3 0 0 6
2 Seaford College 1 1 1 3
3 Whitchurch High School 1 0 2 2
4 St Peter’s York 0 1 2 1

 

Plate Group 2

 

Pos Team W D L Points
1 Hampton 3 0 0 6
2 RGS High Wycombe 2 0 1 4
3 John Fisher 0 1 2 1
4 QEGS Wakefield 0 1 2 1

 

 

2018 St Joseph’s Festival Day 2 Fixtures

 

Pitch 1 Time Pitch 2
Seaford 29-5 Whitchurch 08.30 St Peter’s 5-10 Eltham
Dulwich 21-5 St Joseph’s 09.05 Millfield 10-3 Brighton
Hampton 3-0 RGS High Wycombe 09.40 John Fisher 10-10 QEGS Wakefield
Denstone 8-10 RGS Newcastle 10.15 Hurstpierpoint 7-17 Merchiston
Seaford 0-0 St Peter’s 10.50 Whitchurch 7-13 Eltham
Millfield 9-5 St Joseph’s 11.25 Dulwich 15-5 Brighton
Hampton 17-3 QEGS Wakefield 12.00 John Fisher 5-7 RGS High Wycombe
Hurstpierpoint 0-6 RGS Newcastle 12.35 Denstone 24-14 Merchiston
Eltham 7-5 Seaford 13.10 St Peter’s 10-12 Whitchurch
Brighton 12-12 St Joseph’s 13.45 Dulwich 0-19 Millfield
Hampton 12-0 John Fisher 14.20 QEGS Wakefield 5-23 RGS HW
Merchiston 0-23 RGS Newcastle 14.55 Hurstpierpoint 7-5 Denstone
Plate Final – 15.30 – Eltham 8-17 Hampton
Cup Final – 16.15 – Millfield 9-17 RGS Newcastle

 

2018 St Joseph’s Festival Day 1 Groups – Final Standings

 

Group 1

 

Pos Team W D L Points
1 Dulwich College 3 0 0 6
2 Hurstpierpoint College 2 0 1 4
3 Seaford College 1 0 2 2
4 QEGS Wakefield 0 0 3 0

 

Group 2

 

Pos Team W D L Points
1 Millfield 2 0 1 4
2 Denstone College 2 0 1 4
3 Eltham College 2 0 1 4
4 RGS High Wycombe 0 0 3 0

 

Group 3

 

Pos Team W D L Points
1 RGS Newcastle 3 0 0 6
2 Brighton College 2 0 1 4
3 Hampton 1 0 2 2
4 St Peter’s, York 0 0 3 0

 

Group 4

 

Pos Team W D L Points
1 Merchiston Castle 3 0 0 6
2 St Joseph’s College 2 0 1 4
3 John Fisher 1 0 2 3
4 Whitchurch HS 0 0 3 2

 

2018 St Joseph’s Festival Day 1Results:

 

Pitch 1 Time Pitch 2
Hurstpierpoint 19-10 Seaford College 09.00 Dulwich College 26-0 QEGS Wakefield
Denstone College 0-13 Eltham College 09.40 Millfield 29-0 RGS High Wycombe
Hampton 5-23 RGS Newcastle 10.20 Brighton College 15-0 St Peter’s, York
St Joseph’s College 10-5 Whitchurch 11.00 John Fisher 10-19 Merchiston Castle
Dulwich College 22-5 Seaford College 11.40 Hurstpierpoint 17-0 QEGS Wakefield
Eltham College 5-31 Millfield 12.20 Denstone 22-17 RGS High Wycombe
Brighton College 3-15 RGS Newcastle 13.00 Hampton 24-0 St Peter’s, York
John Fisher 0-12 St Joseph’s College 13.40 Merchiston Castle 20-7 Whitchurch
QEGS Wakefield 0-21 Seaford College 14.20 Dulwich College 12-7 Hurstpierpoint
Eltham 17-0 RGS High Wycombe 15.00 Denstone College 26-14 Millfield
RGS Newcastle 15-10 St Peter’s, York 15.40 Brighton College 27-7 Hampton
Merchiston Castle 12-7 St Joseph’s 16.20 John Fisher 17-10 Whitchurch