Is there a more unlucky side in Schools Cup history than QEGS Wakefield? Seven times they have reached the final of either the U18 or U15 competition and the closest they have come to claiming the trophy was a share of the spoils after a 5-5 draw with RGS High Wycombe in 1998.
That final was RGSâ€™ third final in a row, a incredible feat and one that QEGS themselves would become the first side to repeat should they beat Wirral Grammar School in Sundayâ€™s U15 NatWest Cup semi final.
Yet QEGS have won neither of those finals over the last two years, losing out on both occasions to Warwick, who like QEGS are in the semi finals again this year and could also claim an historic third final in a row, and potential a third title in succession â€“ the motivation in the QEGS camp, one imagines, must be huge.
That is the scale of Wirral Grammar Schoolâ€™s task on Sunday, they are up against one of the most prestigious sides in schoolboy rugby, and a side who must, surely, have a chip on their shoulder at having never quite turned those trophy opportunities into silverware.
However Wirral ought to have little fear of that, for they are unbeaten this season winning all their games bar two, a draw earlier in the season, followed by a 15-15 draw with Northampton School for Boys in the quarter final of this competition, a draw which saw the North West side progress as the away team.
It has been an excellent Cup campaign for the Wirral side, beating schools of the size and strength of Kingâ€™s Macclesfield and Grammar School at Leeds. Already this is their most successful U15 campaign, but they will want more. Twice in the recent years their U18s have reached the Vase semi final, 2014 and 2012, but this crop of U15s will be desperate to go one better, you get the sense that they will not settle for just having done better than any other side the school as produced, they want to go all the way.
They are a determined group, their quarter final experience shows that. Down and out with barely any time on the clock they won a late penalty. Showing an understanding of the rules that many sides have failed to show in the past, they opted to go for the three, with Will Tyrer slotting the kick to secure a brilliant last gasp draw, sending his side through.
QEGS are no less of a determined bunch though. Like Wirral they are undefeated, winning every game. Their first three games of this competition were ruthlessly one-sided as they went past fifty every time, including against top sides like Hymers College and Nottingham High Shool.
They then showed their ability to close out tight games too in the 6th round and the last sixteen with 15-12 and 13-7 victories over quality teams in Durham and St Ambrose College.
Then game arguably the toughest test of all, an away quarter final at Dulwich Collge, triple U18 Cup champions. QEGS were completely unfazed though and the long trip appeared not to take anything out of their legs at all as the secured a superb 31-7 victory.
That brings us through to Sunday and what should be a mighty semi final between two sides who this year simply do not know how to lose, they find a way to get a result.
Can Wirral prevent QEGS from reaching a third final in a row? Certainly. Will QEGS let them? Not if they can possibly help it. It is going to be a classic.
QEGS Wakefield v Wirral Grammar School – U15 NatWest Cup Semi Final â€“ Sunday 8th March, 15.00, Allianz Park
Stats & Prediction
Route to the Semi Final:
Round 1: Bye
Round 2: Bye
Round 3: 50-0 v Hill House
Round 4: 59-0 v Hymers College
Round 5: 51-0 v Nottingham High School
Round 6: 15-12 v Durham
Last 16: 13-7 v St Ambrose College
Quarter Final: 31-7 v Dulwich College
Wirral Grammar School
Round 1: Bye
Round 2: Bye
Round 3: 38-17 v Birkenhead
Round 4: 22-13 v Calday Grange Grammar School
Round 5: 36-0 v Cockermouth
Round 6: 29-5 v Kingâ€™s Macclesfield
Last 16: 19-5 v Grammar School at Leeds
Quarter Final: 15-15 v Northampton School for Boys (progressed as away side)
2014 NatWest Cup Record:
QEGS Wakefield â€“ Runners Up
Wirral Grammar School â€“ Round 4
Best Cup Run:
QEGS Wakefield â€“ 1998, U15 Cup Shared Winners; 2014, 2013, 2006 U15 Cup Runners Up
Wirral Grammar School â€“ 2012, 2011, 1001, U15 Cup Round 5; 2014, 2012 U18 Vase Semi Finals
XV Prediction: QEGS Wakefield. This is a determined and well-coached bunch who are desperate to finally get that Twickenham win. Wirral are a top side though and will push them very hard.