Samuel Whitbread Academy sealed the U15 Schools Vase with a fantastic performance at Twickenham Stadium, beating Dartford Grammar School 22-7.
The victory was built on an electric start, reminiscent of England’s at this very same stadium on Saturday, though on this occasion the fast starters held on throughout the game.
It was truly a wonderful performance from Samuel Whitbread and an outstanding achievement. It took them just three minutes to show their quality, piling on the pressure right from the kick off before outside centre Ben Radnor showing some lovely footwork to cross the line.
It was a stunning start form the men in the black and gold hoops and it was soon to get even better as just three minutes later full back Jack Miller went absolutely scorching up the right hand touchline to score a sensational second try.
10-0 up after just six minutes and Samuel Whitbread were in dreamland, Dartford Grammar, meanwhile, must have felt like they were at the start of a nightmare.
The thing was, though, they looked threatening when they had the ball, the just simply had not had it in that opening period. The likes of Fidunu Abidekun on the left wing had shown flashes of what they were capable of though and would continue to do so.
Samuel Whitbread had the momentum though, and they were boxing clever too. Scrum half Callum Keen had spotted that there was plenty of open space behind the Dartford defensive line and a quarter of an hour in he utilised that, dinking a little kick off the base of the ruck into that very space.
His team were on the same wavelength and swept behind it to collect, just hauled down short of the line. They went through the phases before hooker Sam Garwood went on a superb carry to crash over for his side’s third try of the opening half.
Ben Rador converted for a 17-0 lead, but that was to be it as far as scoring went in the first half in large part because Dartford collected themselves and pulled out some of their best rugby of the game. Clearing their own lines well and asking Samuel Whitbread to go from deep.
It was still going to take a comeback of Scotland-like proportions after the break though and that task only got harder when Samuel Whitbread repeated their fast-starting trick of the first half to go over in just the fifth minute of the second half for their fourth of the game.
It was an absolute beauty too as inside centre burst through the defensive line and absolute charged down the left hand side from almost the halfway line. He was brought down just short, with a few calls for a penalty try given the tackle height, but had enough power, momentum, and know-how to get the ball down for a sensational solo effort.
It took his side out to 22-0 ahead, a lead that was insurmountable in reality given the momentum of the game.
All credit to Dartford Grammar School though, just give minutes later they scored through second row George Rye, with George Dunne converting to make it 22-7.
From there Dartford actually largely dominated possession and territory and had a number of chances, ultimately it was a second half that should leave them proud as both a team and a school for their sheer endeavour on this grandest of school stages.
That Samuel Whitbread kept working to keep them out for the rest of the game though, despite it being all but done, was a real park of this group of young Samuel Whitbread men’s character. Their four tries were excellent and their first half attacking display superb, but actually it was this second half display that showed their outstanding character, and for which they should be equally as proud.
An outstanding achievement from this Samuel Whitbread group, who will head home with the U15 Schools Vase, their first national trophy.
Full Time: Dartford Grammar School 7-22 Samuel Whitbread Academy
15 Joel Sampson, 14 Femi Segun, 13 Daniel Pedro, 12 Louis Patel, 11 Fidunu Abidekun, 10 George Dunne (cc), 9 Max Blythe (cc), 1 William Bellow, 2 Adam Nicklin, 3 Mark Masara, 4 George Rye, 5 Finn Cruise-Smith, 6 Ryan Bass, 7 David Osonowo, 8 Levi Onipede.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Oulai, 17 David Oloke, 18 Matt Cleary, 19 Pablo Seema-Roca, 20 Joshua Adeymi, 21 Jalen Pople, 22 Jed Osuji.
15 Jack Miller, 14 Oliver Pike, 13 Ben Radnor, 12 Jake Allen, 11 Jackson Armstrong, 10 Harrison Wade, 9 Callum Keen, 1 Ben Yates, 2 Sam Garwood, 3 James Randall, 4 Ryley Longmuir, 5 Dylan Fraser, 6 Sam Ferrari, 7 Kai Baines (c), 8 Oakley Patmore.
Replacements: 16 Albert Plunkett, 17 Luke Howells, 18 Sam Haxell, 19 Toby Moore, 20 Will Dorasamy, 22 Luke Crofton, 23 Sam Valpy.