Like the rest of the season before it, the final full weekend of the school season saw some outstanding schools rugby being played.
Across the country teams put in performances to remember and, with so many players in their school shirt for the final time, leaving themselves with a huge feeling of pride in what they have achieved and in their performances.
Picking out just five sides after a weekend like that seems almost unfair, nevertheless the five we have picked out each merit their place after some terrific performances to close out what have been outstanding seasons.
Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend
Dean Close finished up their season in astonishing fashion as they put Kingswood to the sword, winning by a stunning 83-0 margin. It was a fitting end to what has been a glorious term of rugby for the Cheltenham school, who have gone unbeaten and in quite magnificent style. Quite incredibly in their seven games since half term they have only failed to reach fifty points on two occasions, it really has been a dominant year for them. Their campaign has also seen them into the fourth round of the Schools Cup, where they face none other than the second side in this week’s Top 5, Marlborough College.
Marlborough College set themselves up for that Cup tie against Dean Close after Christmas in superb fashion on Saturday with a brilliant 32-10 victory at Sherborne, a game that has been described as showcasing the best of schools rugby. It was a fantastic way for Marlborough to close out the term, they had been magnificent all season only losing once heading into November. A tough run of games though had seen them lose three in a row, so the effort and passion shown to end that little run and close out the term with this excellent victory was a real achievement.
Old Swinford Hospital
Old Swinford Hospital probably have not got the credit that their term’s efforts have deserved. They have only been defeated twice, once by Welbeck and once, in the Cup, to back to back Champions Warwick – and they are certainly not the only ones to suffer that fate. Since half term they have been undefeated, including a run that has seen them into the Schools Plate semi finals. They rounded off their Saturday fixtures for the term in style at the weekend, beating Nottingham High School 47-17. They now face KES Aston on Wednesday and must surely head into that absolutely brimming with confidence.
Sedbergh make this week’s Top 5 not so much for their result on Saturday, though a 12-7 win at Llandovery College just three days after an 8-6 victory over Millfield is certainly worthy of praise. They make it though because of what the victory represented, an unbeaten season with one of the toughest fixture lists in the country. Among those conquered have been Champions Trophy winners Wellington College and St Joseph’s Festival winners RGS Newcastle, as well as some of the very best sides in the country in the likes of Whitgift, Kirkham Grammar, Warwick, Woodhouse Grove, and Millfield – to name just a few. Even more impressive, Saturday’s victory made it back to back unbeaten seasons. It is an achievement that few in schools rugby can ever claim to match.
Whitgift have been almost criminally underrated this year, only Sedbergh and Wellington College have beaten them – that’s the Daily Mail Trophy and Champions Trophy champions. Both of those were in September and since then they have been on a glorious unbeaten run that has included victory over the likes of Warwick, Dulwich College, and Millfield. On Saturday they added another major scalp to that list in the form of Cranleigh, and they secured victory in a manner that really demonstrated what an excellent side they are an have been this year, winning 26-0 to earn a fully deserved place in this week’s Top 5.
Image via Nick Cook