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Fifteen Rugby March Team of the Month award announced

The final month of the schoolboy rugby season has passed, and with it must come our final team of the month, the award is based on results and performances over the course of March.

It has been quite an end to the school rugby season, we had the culmination of the fifteen-a-side with the Daily Mail Cup & Vase semi finals and finals, the Rosslyn Park Open and Festival tournaments, the Surrey Sevens, the Sedbergh Tens and several other sevens tournaments.

From all of these superb competitions though, eight schools have stood above all others.

In the Daily Mail Cup, Dulwich College became the fifth side to complete back-to-back titles, securing their status as schoolboy rugby greats. Not only did their 27-17 victory over Northampton School for Boys seal them the Daily Mail Cup though, it also secured them an unbeaten season bar defeat to Millfield in the 10 minutes each way St Joseph’s Festival.

In Dom Wroe-Wright, Dom Fraser and Jeremy Reason, among others, they also boast some of the form players in school rugby this month, and indeed this season.

Dulwich’s opponents, Northampton School for Boys, also deserve mention. In almost every round of the Cup they were written off and cast as the underdogs, but their semi final comeback against Warwick was exceptional, whilst their final performance was as brave as any that this writer has seen, with Olly Hartfield particularly impressive.

In the Vase tournament, Yarm lifted the trophy and had an impressive month, their defence was outstanding at times and in Zach Kibirige they had by far the best player in the Vase tournament.

For most schools though, March was dominated by Sevens, much of the month was spent gearing up for the HSBC Rosslyn Park National School Sevens, and throughout much of the month King’s School Worcester were the pace setters, with George De Cothi setting the individual standard, following on from their magnificent form the previous month which earned them our previous Team of the Month accolade.

The biggest Rosslyn Park build up tournament though was the Surrey School Sevens, held over one day at Richmond Athletic Ground, it was a high quality tournament, held in bone-chillingly cold conditions (as much of March’s rugby was).

Oaklands College took the title, defeating Wellington College in the final in a game where both sides showed their quality and staked real claims for the Team of the Month accolade.

Both sides were in good form the following week at Rosslyn Park, Wellington College won the Festival tournament where they were the outstanding side across both days. Their performance against Tonbridge in the final was simply outstanding, with Charlie Wicks and Simon Sexton the outstanding players across all of the Rosslyn Park tournaments.

Oaklands won the Plate in the Open tournament, but Sedbergh won the main event.

Sedbergh had suffered from a tough run of injury, weather and illness in the fifteen-a-side season but showed their class as they swept all before them in the Rosslyn Park Open. Their ability to adapt as conditions gradually deteriorated was stunning.

It was Sedbergh who hosted the final action of the month with their annual Tens tournament. SGS Filton lifted the trophy for the second season running, finally lifting a trophy after six weeks of promise in the shortened formats of the game.

Ultimately though the selection of the Team of the Month boiled down to a choice of two sides; Dulwich College and Wellington College.

Both had fantastic months, with Dulwich College securing semi final and final victories in the Daily Mail Cup, while Wellington College secured Festival victory at Rosslyn Park and a spot in the final at the Surrey Sevens.

While the award is based on results and performances over the last month, it is impossible not to take into account historical achievement of what Dulwich College achieved, fronting up under extreme pressure to secure their place in the pantheon of school greats and to complete such an outstanding season was a fantastic example of all that is good about schoolboy rugby.

As such the award must go to Dulwich College, back-to-back Daily Mail Cup Champions and now Fifteen Rugby’s March Team of the Month.

Credit must go to Wellington though who would have won the award in any other month in the calendar, while Sedbergh too must be proud of their achievement.

The congratulations go to Dulwich College though, the outstanding team in schoolboy rugby this month.

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