Wellington overcome Whitgift in tight encounter


Say the names Wellington or Whitgift in the corridors of most rugby playing schools across the country and there will be a notable shiver, it is the memory of beatings given out by two of the consistently strongest school sides around.

From the very first time your parents drop you off at school you are made aware that fixtures against these sides are tough. With three Daily Mail Cup wins between them, their record speaks for itself, and Wellington don’t even play it anymore.

It would seem logical then that games between these two would be tough, intense, and highly skilled contests with the outcome finely balanced. Certainly in recent years, logic has prevailed, with a 37-37 draw last year providing one of the mot memorable fixtures of the season.

It seemed certain then that this year’s fixture would provide another game worth seeing.

Wellington captain Simon Sexton reports:


The 2011 season saw the heavyweights of schoolboy rugby Wellington and Whitgift end in a 37-37 deadlock, this much fancied Whitgift side failed to deliver under the pressure and overwhelming support on Wellingtons famous Bigside 1.


Again this year Whitgift would have surely been seen as favourites going in to the game. After a 10-5 loss to Marlborough the week before and the loss of the captain Simon Sexton at scrum half Wellington seemed to be the underdogs.


However after a hard week of training the Wellington side arrived at Whitgift ready for one of the most physical and demanding games traditionally out there in schoolboy rugby and ready to show that they are the team to beat this year.


The Wellington pack dictated the game. The front row of Seb Adeniran-Olule, Richard Butler and Josh Asiko stole scrums against the head throughout the game giving the Wellington 8 and backs room to launch counter attacks.


Whitgift did score the first try with the fly half using good footwork to find a hole in the Wellington defence and it was converted in style. This lead was narrowed quickly however as a break from Jack McClean saw Buchan Richardson running in a try under the sticks.


Kicking was made difficult for both sides all day as the strong breeze did not allow for ideal conditions, the away team suffered here worst missing 4 penalties in the first half which could have made the scoreline larger.


Whitgift lead going into the second half and had both the hill and the wind in their favour for the time remaining. They scored again soon after half time with a drive over the line from a line out on the 5m line.


However soon the debutant Barnaby Ware fought Wellington back in to the game running over his opposite winger and touching down.


The match was sealed with 2 minutes to go as Wellington applied consistent pressure onto the Whitgift line. The home teams defence was awesome all day but it was obvious that sooner or later the pressure would pull off, and eventually Tom McClean bulldozed over to seal victory.


Final Score: Whitgift 12-15 Wellington

Wellington now go into October looking like one of the strongest sides in the country. A ratio of two wins, a draw and loss from their opening fixtures may not read overly impressively, but the stats only tell half the story.

Wins over Whitgift and RGS High Wycombe do not come easily, while their 13-13 draw with Dulwich was one of the highlights of the season. Let us not forget that this Dulwich side are the Daily Mail Champions, and have put 50 points on every other opponent this season.

Defeat to Marlborough stung Wellington, but it is becoming increasingly clear that this is one of the strongest Marlborough sides in years, with five wins from five including over Clifton and Bryanston, they are a tough outfit.

With captain and scrum half, Simon Sexton, still to return things can only further improve for this talented Wellington side.

For Whitgift meanwhile, this was a bump in the road in what has to date been a strong season so far. Big wins against Skinners and Stowe do not come easily, while a 3 point defeat to this Wellington side is not to be sniffed at.

Once again these two top sides are fighting it out at the highest standard of school rugby, providing another thrilling and intense spectacle.

Expect to see them both featuring highly when it comes to the end of season awards.

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