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U18 and U15 NatWest Cup and Vase Final Previews: History beckons at Twickenham

27th March 2017
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On Wednesday Twickenham Stadium plays host to the U18 and U15 NatWest Cup and Vase finals once again.

 

Eight teams from seven schools will take to the famous turf in search of victory and creating a little bit of schools rugby history. In Warwick School’s case, it could be a huge piece of schools rugby history as they chase an U18 and U15 Cup double that has been achieved just once before, by Wellington College in 2008.

 

Coincidentally, it is Wellington College that are one of the teams standing in the way of that double this time, in the U15s.

 

From all sides, and for all schools, Wednesday is going to be a day not to be missed and should produce some spectacular rugby, as it usually does.

 

U18 Cup – Bishop Wordsworth’s v Warwick – Wednesday 29th March , 3.40pm, Twickenham Stadium

 

This is a cracking final, Bishop Wordsworth’s absolutely stunned the back to back champions, Bromsgrove, in the semi finals, beating them by an incredible 41-19 margin.

 

Their form in this competition has truly been sensational, and shows no signs of slowing as they chase a first ever U18 Cup title, having appeared in the very first Schools Cup final, back in 1991, only to lose to KES Stratford.

 

This year’s crop are looking to go one better, but standing in their way are Warwick, chasing that historic double. Back in 2014 they had the chance to complete the double, the U15s did the job but the U18s fell to a heavy defeat as Dulwich College completed their three-peat.

 

This group will be determined not to let that happen, since winning at U18 level in 2007, Warwick have had an extraordinary run of success, peaking from 2013-2015 with two U15 Cup titles, and U15 runners up spot, and an U18 runners up spot.

 

That lack of conversion from U15 to U18 will frustrate them slightly, and Wednesday will be a chance to correct that, and with a group of players that are used to Twickenham and performing in these pressure games, the U6th group won as U15s in 2014, with the L6th group reaching the final in 2015.

 

That is the experience and success that Bishop Wordsworth’s have to deal with on Wednesday, and while it is a huge hurdle to overcome, they have already shown that past success from their opposition means little to them with that huge semi final win against Bromsgrove.

 

Their route to the final has certainly been more dominant than Warwick’s, who had to fight and scrap for tight wins against Oundle and old foes QEGS Wakefield, however in coming through those tight battles Warwick have shown a resilience under pressure that could come in very handy in the pressure cooker that is NatWest Cup finals day at Twickenham Stadium.

 

Whoever wins, one thing is for sure, this will be an historic final.

 

Bishop Wordsworth’s

 

Who

Head Coach: Terry Gilmour

Captain: Cadan Murley (Harlequins), Centre

 

How

Semi Final: 41-19 v Bromgrove

Quarter Final: 34-24 at Judd

Last 16: 41-22 v Christ’s Hospital

Round 4: 32-14 at Pangbourne College

Round 3: 27-7 at Dauntsey’s

Round 2: 57-14 at KES Southampton

Round 1: Bye

 

History

U18 Cup Runners-Up, 1991

 

Warwick

 

Who

Head Coach: Mark Nasey

Captain: Nick Rigby (Worcester Warriors), Prop

 

How

Semi Final: 30-17 v Felsted

Quarter Final: 13-11 v QEGS Wakefield

Last 16: 13-11 at Oundle

Round 4: 38-21 at Stowe

Round 3: 50-0 at Loughborough

Round 2: 50-17 at Leicester Grammar

Round 1: Bye

 

History

U18 Cup Champions, 2008

U18 Cup Runners-Up, 2014

U15 Cup Champions, 2013, 2014

U15 Cup Runners-Up, 2015

 

U18 Vase – Trent College v Royal Latin – Wednesday 29th March, 2pm, Twickenham Stadium

 

The U18 Vase final should, on the surface, be an exciting game of rugby. Both teams, Trent College and Royal Latin have flown through the rounds leading up to this one, looking relatively untroubled throughout, bar a close game against Cokethorpe early on for Royal Latin.

 

Both impressed in their semi finals, Trent College overpowering a good side from The Perse, while Royal Latin were outstanding in beating a Silcoates side with one of the best records in school rugby this year.

 

The fear for Royal Latin is likely the greater power of Trent College, who did look like a very strong and accomplished team at Allianz Park for that semi final. However in beating Silcoates, Royal Latin showed a resilience and speed of play that will be hugely important in the pressure of Twickenham, and also on the big open pitch.

 

It should make for a fascinating match up, Trent College are looking to add to the Vase title that they picked up back in 2014, while for Royal Latin the hope is to build on the 2013 title at U15 level.

 

Trent College

 

How

Semi Final: 29-15 v The Perse

Quarter Final: 29-6 v Worksop College

Round 5: 61-7 v Hereford Cathedral School

Round 4: 39-9 v King Henry VIII Coventry

Round 3: 62-12 v KES Stratford

Round 2: 38-10 v Welbeck

Round 1: 29-0 v De Lisle

 

History

U18 Vase Champions, 2014

 

Royal Latin

 

How

Semi Final: 31-12 v Silcoates

Quarter Final: 28-14 v Taunton

Round 5: 48-0 v Sheldon

Round 4: 34-17 v Sir William Borlase’s

Round 3: 36-10 v Dr Challoner’s

Round 2: 33-29 v Cokethorpe

Round 1: 64-14 v Waddesdon

 

History

U15 Vase Champions, 2013

 

U15 Cup – Warwick v Wellington College – Wednesday 29th March, 12.30pm, Twickenham Stadium

 

This is a huge game of rugby. The number of times that these two have been to Twickenham, particularly at U15 level, is astonishing. Between them they have visited HQ at U15 level eleven times before now, and a further three times at U18 level, and always in the Cup.

 

It is surprising, then, that they have never met at Twickenham before. Warwick reached three finals in a row from 2013 to 2015, winning the first two, while Wellington College were runners up last year, to Sedbergh.

 

Both sides come in with a huge point to prove, Wellington College want to get that title that has eluded them since wining in 2008, despite reaching two finals since, while for Warwick it is a chance to secure part one of a historic double.

 

That double. That is perhaps the biggest sub plot to this one. Wellington College are the only side to have won the U15 and U18 competitions in the same year, which they did in 2008. Warwick have tried, and failed, back in 2014. They completed the U15 side of the bargain, but the U18s were given a beating by Dulwich College.
This year they are back and trying again, which in itself is extraordinary, how fitting, then, that one of the sides standing in their way is Wellington College.

 

On form it looks as though Wellington College are slightly ahead, certainly their decimation of Whitgift in the semi final was extraordinary, but Warwick are close. In Ivybridge they beat a semi finalist that many predicted might win the whole thing, and as a school their Twickenham know-how is a real bonus in these situations.

 

It looks like being arguably the game of the day and could easily go either way. Whichever way it does go, it is going to be part of one of the biggest stories in schoolboy rugby, such is the reputation that these two schools have built.

 

Warwick

 

How

Semi Final: 33-22 v Ivybridge Community College

Quarter Final: 27-0 v Langley

Round 5: 34-5 v Cheltenham College

Round 4: 49-12 v Denstone College

Round 3: 27-17 v Northampton School for Boys

Round 2: 36-21 v Solihull

Round 1: 47-0 at Bloxham

 

History

U18 Cup Champions, 2007

U18 Cup Runners-Up, 2014

U15 Cup Champions, 2013, 2014

U15 Cup Runners-Up, 2015

 

Wellington College

 

How

Semi Final: 36-5 v Whitgift

Quarter Finals: 41-13 at St Peter’s, York

Round 5: 44-0 at Dean Close

Round 4: 34-10 at RGS High Wycombe

Round 3: 37-0 v Marlborough College

Round 2: 48-19 v Reading School

Round 1: 74-0 v Windsor Boys’

 

History

U18 Cup Champions, 2008

U15 Cup Champions, 1994, 2000, 2008

U15 Cup Runners Up, 1988, 1996, 1999, 2010, 2016

 

U15 Vase – Dr Challoner’s Grammar School v Thomas Hardye – Wednesday 29th March, 11am, Twickenham Stadium

 

Kicking off events at Twickenham on Wednesday is the U15 Vase between Dr Challoner’s and Thomas Hardye.

 

Dr Challoner’s have a chance of an historic back to back triumph, having also won the U15 Vase last year, while for Royal Latin this is by far and away their best performance.

 

On that basis alone, it might be tempting to suggest that Dr Challoner’s are very much the favourites, but a close look at each side’s results in this competition suggest that we are in for a cracking game of rugby.

 

Dr Challoner’s have had to work had to get to this final, not since Round 3 have they really bossed a game on the scoreboard, whereas Thomas Hardye’s victories from Round 1 to Semi Final have all been incredibly dominant. Although, oddly, their 48-5 defeat of Bridgewater in the semi final was actually 5-5 at half time before they utterly accelerated away.

 

It looks likely, then, that Thomas Hardye’s pace, and quality, particularly from fly half, will be the key for them, while Challoner’s ability to grind out games and their school’s Twickenham know how could be their key.

 

All of which suggest that much will depend on the type of game that we get, either way, it suggests a spectacular start to finals day on Wednesday!

 

Dr Challoner’s

 

How

Semi Final: 10-8 v Welland Park

Quarter Final: 18-10 v Beaufort

Round 5: 20-14 v Samuel Whitbread

Round 4: 26-19 v Parmiter’s

Round 3: 54-5 v St Paul’s, Milton Keynes

Round 2: 47-12 v Tring

Round 1: 46-0 v St Clement Danes

 

History

U15 Vase Champions, 2016

 

Thomas Hardye

 

How

Semi Final: 48-5 v Bridgewater

Quarter Final: 46-0 v Mill Hill

Round 5: 44-0 v Mounts Bay

Round 4: 45-5 v Monkton Combe

Round 3: 50-7 v Huish

Round 2: 21-0 v Budmouth

Round 1: 50-7 v Woodroffe

 

History

2017 – Best Ever Performance