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U18 NatWest Cup Quarter Final Previews

The NatWest Schools Cup quarter finals begin tomorrow, with three of the four games taking place.

The competition is now in its National phase, having been split into eight different regions up until the end of the last 16, and with eight strong sides remaining it is set to be an exciting round of Cup rugby.

Below, we briefly preview each quarter final as well as looking at a few stats and past performances.

Bromsgrove v Dauntsey’s

Wednesday 11th February, 14.30

Last 5 Meetings – N/A

Route to the Quarter Finals:

Bromsgrove

Round 2: Bye

Round 3: 75-0 v Kind Edward’s, Lichfield

Round 4: 61-17 v Solihull

Round 5: 23-13 v Warwick

Round 6: 50-13 v Bloxham

Last 16: 23-15 v Stamford

Dauntsey’s

Round 2: Bye

Round 3:  59-3 v Corsham

Round 4: 50-0 v Bournemouth

Round 5: 45-0 v Lord Wandsworth College

Round 6: 54-10 v St Peter’s Gloucester

Last 16: 13-11 v Sherborne

2014 NatWest Cup Record:

Bromsgrove – N/A

Dauntsey’s – Round 5

Best Cup Run:

Bromsgrove – 2015, Cup Quarter Finals; 2001, Cup Round 2 (Rarely Entered)

Dauntsey’s – 2015, Cup Quarter Final; 2014, 2005, 2001 Cup Round 5; 2012, U15 Vase Winners (Current U6th)

Preview:

Bromsgrove are absolutely one of the favourites for this year’s tournament. Their non-cup record has been superb and has seen them beat sides of the quality of St Joseph’s Festival and Champions Trophy winners, Millfield. Their Cup form has also been outstanding, beating Solihull, Warwick, Bloxham, and Stamford and is the mark of an impressive side.

Dauntsey’s are the surprise package who ought really to be surprising nobody, they went through the regular season unbeaten and their current U6th won the U15 Vase in 2012, always a sign of promising things to come at 1st XV level. That said, the secret is surely out now and there will be no chance of Bromsgrove taking them lightly, especially with an excitable home crowd in attendance.

Dauntsey’s run has seen them put fifty points on past Champions St Peter’s Gloucester as well as a win against Sherborne in the last 16, two highly impressive results.

XV Favourites:

Bromsgrove, but write off Dauntsey’s at your peril.

Dulwich College v Hampton

Wednesday 11th February, 14.30

Last 5 Meetings:

Dulwich 7-15 Hampton (2014)

Dulwich 34-26 Hampton (2013)

Dulwich 11-5 Hampton (2013 NatWest Cup Semi Final)

Dulwich 25-14 Hampton (2012)

Dulwich 15-12 Hampton (2012 Schools Cup Last 16)

Route to the Quarter Finals:

Dulwich

Round 2: Bye

Round 3: 47-0 v Ravens Wood

Round 4: 34-0 v New Hall

Round 5: 14-5 v John Fisher

Round 6: 26-7 v Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar

Last 16: 21-16 v Trinity

Hampton

Round 2: Bye

Round 3: 51-0 v Chesham Grammar

Round 4: 38-13 v Pangbourne College

Round 5: 29-7 v Bishop Wordsworth’s

Round 6: 20-8 v RGS High Wycombe

Last 16: 34-20 v Monmouth

2014 NatWest Cup Record:

Dulwich – Champions

Hampton – Quarter Finalists

Best Cup Run:

Dulwich – 2014, 2013, 2012, Cup Champions

Hampton – 2013, Cup Semi Finals; 2009, Vase Runners Up

Preview:

Dulwich’s grip on this trophy has lasted three seasons and shows no sign of slackening at the moment. They are a superbly coached outfit whose game management and maturity of play is as good as any out there, allowing them to play out these high intensity Cup games so well.

If anyone can stop them though, you sense that Hampton might fancy it, twice in the last three seasons they have faced Dulwich before the South East London side went on to lift the trophy, and twice they so nearly knocked them out. In 2012 Dulwich just got through by a three point margin, while a six point win in the 2013 semi final was the only time that Dulwich side looked at all troubled.

Hampton have also already beaten their hosts this season, 15-7, and not by fluke, it was a well executed game plan that nullified Dulwich’s threat. All of which suggests that maybe things are just beginning to sway Hampton’s way, yet both have had terrific seasons, and when it comes to this competition Dulwich just seem to know exactly what it takes to win.

There is a sense that this is going to be the tie of the round, both have had tough routes here, Dulwich seeing off John Fisher and Trinity, and Hampton facing RGS High Wycombe and taking an extraordinary victory at Monmouth.

XV Favourites:

Dulwich, but by a whisker, Hampton’s victory over Monmouth was a huge result.

Oundle v Lymm High School

Thursday 12th February, 14.30

Last 5 Meetings – N/A

Route to the Quarter Finals:

Oundle

Round 2: Bye

Round 3: 55-5 v Hills Road

Round 4: 48-8 v The Perse

Round 5: 34-5 v Trent College

Round 6: 22-18 v Gresham’s

Last 16: 52-12 v King’s Worcester

Lymm High

Round 2: Bye

Round 3: Walkover

Round 4: 57-0 v Merchant Taylors’

Round 5: 55-7 v Altrincham Grammar

Round 6: 24-7 v Worksop College

Last 16: 32-15 v Hymers College

2014 NatWest Cup Record:

Oundle – Round 3

Lymm High School – Quarter Finals

Best Cup Run:

Oundle – 2015, Cup Quarter Finals; 2011, Cup Round 5

Lymm High – 2015, 2014, 2012, 2009, Cup Quarter Finals; 2006, U18 Vase Champions; 2007, U15 Cup Champions; 2010, U15 Vase Champions

Preview:

This should be a very interesting game. Lymm have a strong pedigree in this competition and in their England half backs, Alex Mitchell and Mark Dixon, they have two guiding hands who could be absolutely vital. They have lost just once all season and beat an excellent Hymers College side in the last 16, a vital game as the rest of the Cup run had not yet challenged them too heavily.

Oundle are a very strong side too, within this tournament they do not have a huge reputation but on their circuit everyone knows that they are a rugby hotbed. Their results this season have been excellent and their 52-12 last 16 victory over King’s Worcester will have made everyone sit up and notice. Their back row is just about as good as any out there, where should make the competition between them and the Lymm half backs one of the most fascinating battles across all four matches.

For Lymm you sense this is a chance that they really want to take, first of all as it would complete ‘the set’ for them, having already won the U18 and U15 Vases and the U15 Cup. More important than that though, this is their third quarter final in four years, they will desperately want to convert this one.

XV Favourites:

Oundle, with home advantage and perhaps a slightly more battle hardening fixture list. Lymm’s quarter final experience could prove a key factor though.

St Joseph’s College v Wilmslow High School

Wednesday 25th February, 14.30

Last 5 Meetings – N/A

Route to the Quarter Finals:

St Joseph’s College

Round 2: Bye

Round 3: 57-8 v Brentwood

Round 4: 39-28 v Felsted

Round 5: 33-9 v Campion

Round 6: 37-11 v Dartford Grammar

Last 16: 20-12 v Whitgift

Wilmslow High

Round 2: Bye

Round 3: 20-10 v St Ambrose College

Round 4: 29-26 v King’s Macclesfield

Round 5: 17-6 v Ermysted’s Grammar

Round 6: 10-7 v Stonyhurst College

Last 16: 32-3 v St Peter’s York

2014 NatWest Cup Record

St Joseph’s – Round 5

Wilmslow High – Cup Round 3, Vase Quarter Final

Best Cup Run:

St Joseph’s – 2012, Cup Semi Finals

Wilmslow High – 2011, Cup Semi Finals; 2007, Vase Runners Up

Preview:

An interesting game from a coaching perspective as St Joseph’s College head coach Joel Unsworth used to coach at Wilmslow High School.

Both school have reached relatively recent semi finals, St Joseph’s in 2012 and Wilmslow High School in 2011, both going on to lose to the eventual Champions. St Joseph’s are a side best known in their region for their Festival and Cup exploits, their regular fixture list does not see them face too many household school names, but their October Festival sees the best in the business come to town. This year they reached the final of it, losing to Millfield, last year they won it, beating RGS High Wycombe – that is the standard of side we are talking about.

Wilmslow are a good team themselves though, they have consistently been knocking on the door of the national stages over the last few years, and they have even reached Twickenham before, finishing runners up in the Vase in 2007.

More importantly, in their run to this year’s quarter finals they have beaten Stonyhurst College and King’s Macclesfield, two of the strongest teams in the region. Wilmslow are a big threat this year, the long away trip could make life tough though.

St joseph’s have had to take some big scalps themselves though, their last 16 opponents were Whitgift, the 2010 and 2011 champions. St Joseph’s always looked in control though, and their passionate home crowd made a big difference too, you can expect more of the same in a fortnight’s time.

XV Favourites:

St Joseph’s College. On their own patch they really are one of the best supported sides around, add that to their quality and they are a tough nut to crack. Wilmslow have proved they have no problems in cracking a big scalp though.

Who do you think will reach the NatWest Cup semi finals? Have your say at @FifteenRugbyXV or leave a comment below. 

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