The Leys show their Vase potential with a powerful display


The Leys put in a powerful performance to beat St Columba’s College 34-17 in their NatWest Vase fifth round tie today.

The victory sets up a sixth round tie against Nottingham High School, who beat King’s Peterborough 42-8 before the Christmas break.

It was an impressive display from the Leys, who raced to an early 12-0 lead through two driving scores from their forwards, including one from their outstanding blindside flanker, who was the driving force behind the side for much of the game.

St Columba’s did mount a mini comeback though first through a penalty and then from an outstanding try from their captain, O’Connor. His break from inside his own 22 released his winger to streak away down the left hand side, with O’Connor tracking brilliantly to collect the return pass to score.

The conversion made it 12-10, and for a moment it looked as though St Columba’s might have caught The Leys in complacent mood, however The Leys hit back shortly after through another score from their heartbeat flanker.

Two more scores ahead of the break, both from their gas man on the left wing. The first was an absolute beauty. It began with a break on the right hand side, with the outside centre bursting deep into the St Columba’s 22. The ball was spilled but some outrageous skill saw the ball retained before it went into touch, anyone who has seen that spectacular New Zealand try in the Rugby League World Cup will know the technique.

Following that the defence was at sixes and sevens and The Leys swept the ball to the left for the wing to score. His second was almost an identical score, bar the outrageous skill in the middle, sending The Leys into half time with a commanding 29-10 lead.

It capped a brilliant half of rugby, The Leys produced some brilliant offloading rugby but the real brilliance of their performance lay in the strength of their forwards, who squeezed the life out of St Columba’s at times, even stealing a few scrums against the head.

The second half did not quite hit the same heights but it started in the same manner that it left off, with The Leys creating some fantastic field position for their forwards to secure a series of driving mauls.

Mauls in those areas can be so dangerous, as Dulwich College have to powerfully proven in recent times, and The Leys were not about to let the opportunity slip as they finally surged over the line for the second row to score.

That took the lead out to 34-10, and in reality the game had a feel of being somewhat signed and sealed at this point. However St Columba’s were not about to stop striving for the win, this is Cup rugby after all and as anyone who has followed any of the NatWest tournaments this year will say; anything can happen in the NatWest.

Sadly for the visitors though they could only muster one further score as The Leys withstood wave after wave of pressure, occasionally mounting some spectacular long-range efforts of their own.

St Columba’s try was well deserved though, and it was fitting that it came from their scrum half, Stanford, after some sniping work at the breakdown. He had been one of their shining lights throughout the game.

The Leys will not have been too disappointed to have let that score in though, a 34-17 victory was an excellent result for the home side, and caps a fine week for the school, which also saw two of their stars named in the Independent School Lambs Northern XV to play the Southern XV this Sunday.

For their teammates though, the next challenge is Nottingham High School for a place in the regional final – a game that if they won would see them into the National draw for the quarter finals.

Final Score 34-17

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