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Brilliant Warwick set up chance for third U15 Cup triumph in a row

Warwick are into their third U15 NatWest Cup final in a row after an expert victory over Brighton College in the semi final at Allianz Park.

Their 33-20 victory was built on some excellent pressure, and clinically capitalising on Brighton errors, setting up a third shot at the title, remarkably against QEGS Wakefield again, the side they beat in the last two finals.

It was a try a piece in the first half, with Brighton College scoring the first of what was a very tense first half, where aggressive defence and expert breakdown work dominated. The score came through outside centre Alife Beadle after some strong Brighton play saw them just held up over the Warwick try line.

From the resultant scrum Brighton spread their backs as far and as deep as possible, stretching the play to the maximum, before Beadle hit the line like an express train to coast across the line.

Warwick had scored two earlier penalties through Will Tanner, but Henry Simpson’s conversion put Brighton into the lead 7-6, a tight scoreline that reflected just how close the game had been up to that point.

A long injury break then ensued, and from the restart Warwick regained the lead through a third Will Tanner penalty, however no sooner had Warwick regained the lead than Brighton were back on the attack, securing a penalty of their own through the boot of Simpson to nudge just ahead, 10-9.

It was at this point that Warwick’s calmness at this level perhaps showed through. These players may not have played in those two previous Cup titles, but the know how and culture is there, and for the remainder of the half the took control, knowing that a score before half time could be crucial.

They hammered away for phase after phase, just knocking on the Brighton door until eventually it cracked, with the ever impressive number 8 Ollie Thornerywork shaking off one tackle before crashing over to score a superbly well worked try.

It put his side 14-10 ahead, and with the half time whistle coming straight after, it was the perfect time to score, giving Warwick a vital psychological boost.

It showed too as they came flying out in the second half, moving deep into Brighton College territory and keeping them under pressure. So much so that they forced Brighton to try to run it out of their of 22, allowing Will Tanner to step into the line and pluck the perfect interception to stroll home under the posts, allowing himself an easy conversion and giving his team a commanding 21-10 lead after just five minutes of play in the half.

From there Warwick just never looked like a side that were going to be beaten, such is the culture of success in this tournament at this school.

Five minutes later they were over again having stepped up the pressure immeasurably, to the extent that Brighton were having to try things that just were not looking like coming off. That pressure eventually told as winger Chris David stormed through to extend that lead to 26-10.

That is the thing with these perennial winners, as we saw with Dulwich College last night, they are experts at territorial pressure, and forcing scores even when they do not necessarily seem like they are imminent.

Brighton College are a classy outfit, and staying true to the attacking roots throughout the school, they were not about to stop playing rugby, and they got their just rewards for that just a minute later after a stunning Max Clark break allowed Alfie Beadle to barge over for his second, narrowing the gap to 26-15.

Once again though Warwick responded to conceding points by just stepping up the pressure, camping in Brighton territory for a good five minutes or so with forward drives before releasing winger Jacob Weeks, who showed great power and pace to round the defence and score in the left hand corner.

Tanner, who was having a blinder, landed the conversion to make it 33-15, effectively killing the game with just six minutes left on the clock.

Brighton are not a school or a team to give up though, and they plugged away right to the last, with number 8 Connor May getting his just rewards for a hard day’s work as he crashed over to make the final score 33-20.

It was a clinical day from Warwick though, the sort of performance that will have QEGS worried about a third Twickenham defeat to the West Midlanders in succession.

For Warwick, having two Cup triumphs in a row is extraordinary; a third at this age-group would be legendary. This age-group is not one where you mix and match ages, it is pretty much just one year at a time.

They already have the status of Schools Cup legends for having back to back titles and being in this final, if they win, they will be up there with Colston’s, Dulwich College, and RGS High Wycombe. True schoolboy greatness.

Full Time: Brighton College 20-33 Warwick

Warwick:

15 Colia Louis 14 Jacob Weeks 13 Will Tanner 12 Tom Fawcett 11 Chris David 10 Fred Lowe 9 Harry Hayward 1 Kieran Curran  2 Will Scrivens  3 Max Roberts 4 Jordan Edwards 5 Toby Adlington  6 Drew Hill 7 Tom MacDonald 8 Oliver Thorneywork.

Replacements: 16 Oliver Beque-Smith 17 Roger Jackson 18 Will Kelley 19 Oliver Wallis 20 Will Johnson 21 Ed McGovern.

Brighton College:

15 Jon Searle 14 Jamie Morley  13 Alfie Beadle 12 Zachary Davies 11 Henry Simpson 10 Edward Broome 9 Toby Smith 1 Michael Key 2 Jay Parvin 3 Ilya Dobroserdov 4 Daniel Swarbrick 5 Elliot Stiglitz 6 Cameron Abercromby 7 Noah Marshall 8 Connor May.

Replacements: 16 Max Clark 17 Jordan Davies 18 Antony McGowan 19 Tom Gogarty 20 Dominic Hewitt 21 James D’Orsaneo 22 Alex Mercer.

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