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QEGS through to second final is a row after beating Whitgift

QEGS Wakefield reached their second U15 NatWest Cup final in a row, despite some late drama from Whitgift at Allianz Park.

QEGS led 19-12 with just a few seconds left on the clock, after two second half tries had given them the lead.

However Whitgift’s outstanding outside centre Tom Griffiths, who had been on the charge all day, went blasting over on the left touchline to bring his side within two points. It left the toughest of conversions though and unfortunately for the Croydon side, that left them just two points short of levelling the game.

QEGS had been outstanding all afternoon though, with their second half performance from, fly half Henry Wright a particular highlight.

It was an even first half that ebbed and flowed brilliantly, it saw Whitgift score an early try through William Varcoe in the right hand corner after some great handline from his side’s backline

That signalled a little spell of Whitgift pressure, with QEGS having to work hard in defence. That pressure was soon to pay off as fly half Fergus Donnelly, who had an excellent game pulling the strings for the Croydon based side, strolled over to double his side’s advantage.

He then extended that to 12-0, and at that point one might have thought that Whitgift might run away with things, however buoyed by cries of ‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire’ from their travelling band of supporters, QEGS started to pick up some momentum of their own.

A huge 30 metre driving maul has to prove a bit of a turning point in the half – and we all saw how important the maul was in last weekend’s semi finals – QEGS smashed into Whitgift territory and the leaders were forced to haul the maul down, resulting in a yellow card for Whitgift prop Jumal Nelson.

QEGS took advantage brilliantly, keeping the momentum up to secure possession deep in Whitgift territory, before releasing inside centre Luke Adams. In a weekend where great centre play is rightly being celebrated, he pulled out some of his own as with a fend and an outside swerve that was almost O’Driscoll-esque, he drifted through to dive over and pull his side closer to the 2003 champions.

Henry Wright landed a good conversion to bring the scores to 12-7 as the two sides then began to even out as the half began to draw to a close.

Things still did not look ideal for QEGS though, however as the second half began they absolutely exploded out of the traps, really stepping up the pressure on Whitgift.

Henry Wright, as mentioned above, was the catalyst for that, probing with both his passing and running, as well as some testing kicks, and it was absolutely fitting that it was he who went over for the first try of the half, dancing past a couple of defenders to score beneath the posts, sparking utter pandemonium.

He converted his own try to give his side a 14-12 lead, which only served to ramp up his own side’s momentum even further. Straight form the kick off the were back in possession and back on the attack.

Slowly they worked their way into Whitgift territory, with yet move of the brilliant maul helping them along the way. It was Wright again who was to provide the spark. His dart at the line from close range was cut off just short but it created the space for his side’s hooker and inspirational captain, Nathan Young, to stroll over on the left hand side.

Whitgift are a top side though, and it had to be expected that they would come hammering back at some point. So it proved as with time ticking they really began to put the pressure of QEGS, setting up the position for that excellent Griffiths try.

Unfortunately for the 2003 champions though, it was not quite enough and it is QEGS Wakefield who go into the final, looking to avenge that 12-6 final defeat to Warwick last year and finally, at the fourth attempt, in the U15 Schools Cup outright.

On this evidence, they have every chance.

Final Score: Whitgift 17-19 QEGS Wakefield

Teams:

Whitgift:

1. Jumal Nelson  2. Matt Pearson  3. Gabriel Diaz-Aylwin  4. Louis Mack  5. Elliot McDevitt  6. Rordon Daws (captain)  7. Sam Payne  8. Cameron Wilkins;  9. Jonathan Noon  10. Fergus Donnelly  11. Funsho Ajayi  12. Harvey Kelly  13. Tom Griffiths  14. William Varcoe  15. Noah Ferdinand.

Replacements: 16. Dom Atkins  17. Cameron Klinger  18. Joe Dempsey  19. Michael Hanlon  20. Matthew Binns  21. Jasprit Soor  22. Charlie Websdale.

QEGS Wakefield:

1. Harvey Farrar  2. Nathan Youngs (captain)  3. Callum Farley  4. Ben Whyte  5. Sachin Gogna  6. Edan Kelly  7. Joey Selim  8. George Charnock;  9. Sam Tovey  10. Henry Wright  11. Chesachi Hani-Okaroafor  12. Luke Adams  13. Tom Jenkinson  14. Joe Gatus  15. Harry Clibbens.

Replacements: 16. Tom Hewson  17. Sufaan Rafi  18. Ben Eames  19. Max Henson  20. Tom Stephenson  21.Tom Alderton  22. Tom Macrow.

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