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2013 – A year to remember for Schoolboy Rugby

A New Year begins but before it gets heavily underway it is worth having a quick look back at the year that has been in schoolboy rugby.

It was quite a year to be honest, when the teams returned from the Christmas break the words on everybody’s lips were ‘Daily Mail Cup’ (or NatWest as it is now). Could Dulwich College go back to back, and in doing so could they complete an unbeaten season?

The answer was an emphatic yes as they beat Northampton School for Boys in a free flowing, by finals day standards, game of rugby to lift that prestigious schoolboy cup.

Joining them on the podium that day were Yarm (U18 Vase), Warwick (U15 Cup), and Royal Latin School (U15 Vase), completing a brilliant day of schools rugby.

As big a day as that was though, the focus for many that week was on the National School 7s at Rosslyn Park.

The sevens seasons had been notable for the distinctly ‘un-sevens’ feel of the weather, and Rosslyn Park was to prove no different, with the Colts tournament forced to be cancelled in order to protect the pitches for the senior competition, such was the dismal mix of rain, hail, and snow that perpetuated through the week.

Wellington College showed their skills though to collect their third Festival title in a row, beating Tonbridge in the final, who are the last team to have stopped Wellignton from lifting the Festival trophy, in the 2010 final.

 Sedbergh then followed suit in the Open final with a narrow victory over Woodhouse Grove in some of the most unpleasant rugby playing conditions imaginable.

Both Sedbergh and Wellington then met at Twickenham a few weeks later, in far more pleasant climes, in a specially arranged fixture during the London 7s for the crown of National School 7s champions, a title that Wellignton wrapped up in highly impressive fashion.

That was the last of the major open schoolboy trophies to be had, but in the AASE League there was still plenty of silverware to be decided. Hartpury College displayed their usual excellence to take the Championship trophy ahead of Oaklands College, while Prince Henry’s Grammar took the Plate, and Truro College the Bowl.

With that the 2012/13 schoolboy rugby season was over, but the year 2013 still had plenty of trophies on offer when the new school year began in September, beginning with the inaugural Daily mail Trophy which was to run all term.

The first to be awarded though was the St Joseph’s Festival at the end of October. Last year Millfield had won it and they were favourites again, however the hosts, St Joseph’s College were also hotly tipped and they had a side packed with talent and itching for victory.

In one of the most emotional few hours of schoolboy rugby that this writer has witnessed, momentum built all the way to the final as the home support began to swell, with St Joseph’s College eventually lifting the trophy after the narrowest of victories against RGS High Wycombe in the final. A magnificent scene.

The final major gong of 2013 that remained up for grabs was the Daily Mail Trophy, and it was collected a week early by a brilliant Woodhouse Grove side, who completed the competition with an unbeaten record and a quite staggering accumulation of bonus points.

As ever though, as soon as one competition is over, thoughts turn to the next. As it is with years, and now the focus for us all is on who will be collecting 2014’s silverware?

We would love to hear your predictions – just pop a comment in the comment box below, or get in touch via @FifteenRugbyXV

2013 Roll of Honour:

FIRA/AER European U18 Championship – England U18

Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s Open Winners – Sedbergh

Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s Festival Winners – Wellington College

HSBC National School 7s Champions** – Wellington College

U18 Daily Mail Cup* – Dulwich College

U18 Daily Mail Vase* – Yarm

U15 Daily Mail Cup* – Warwick

U15 Daily Mail Vase* – Royal Latin School

St Joseph’s Festival – St Joseph’s College

Daily Mail Trophy – Woodhouse Grove

AASE Championship – Hartpury College

AASE Plate – Prince Henry’s Grammar School

AASE Bowl – Truro College

Fifteen Rugby Team of the Season – Dulwich College

Fifteen Rugby 7s Team of the Season – Wellington College


** Play off between the Rosslyn Park Open & Festival winners, played at Twickenham during the London 7s.

* Daily Mail Cup & Vase competitions are now known as the NatWest Cup & Vase competitions.

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