QEGS Wakefield into 3rd U15 NatWest Cup final in a row

QEGS Wakefield reached their third U15 NatWest Cup final in a row after a hugely impressive victory over Wirral Grammar School.

The 29-5 victory was built on a physical and functional first half performance, draining Wirral legs, before cutting loose in the second half to build an impressive result that sees them return to Twickenham for that record equaling third time in succession at U15 level.

The first half was a particularly tight and tense affair, with Wirral Grammar School arguably dominating the possession and territory but a combination of brutal and well executed defence and clinical attacking play from QEGS saw them dominate the scoreboard.

First they landed a penalty after five minutes or so through all-action man Max Hanson, their openside flanker, before a fifteen minute period of total Wirral domination. However QEGS’ defence was so aggressive and fast that no matter how hard they tried and how many waves of attack they had, Wirral simply could not cross the line.

That defensive pressure then paid off after twenty-one minutes as QEGS on a rare foray into the Wirral 22 began to exert some pressure of their own, securing a series of penalties and drives, impressively started given that the lineout has no lifting, and really putting the pressure on Wirral.

That pressure shortly turned into points as blindside flanker Sachin Gogna went driving over from short range. With his back row partner Hanson slotting the extras from wide on the left hand side, his side were leading 10-0 as they headed in for the break some five minutes or so later.

The feeling was though that with a little bit of luck in their favour, or tiredness in QEGS legs, Wirral had the ability to score some tries, certainly they had threatened enough in that first half, though QEGS’ physicality in defence was always likely to be a huge obstacle to overcome.

As it was though, QEGS were the side who seemed to grow in the second half, and they got off to the perfect start as number eight Edan Kelly went blasting over within two minutes of the restart to take QEGS out to a 17-0 lead thanks to the extras from Hanson.

Wirral did briefly hit back, setting up some pressure in similar fashion to the first half, however this time there was a difference as they found their try scoring hero this season, Will Tyrer, who crashed over for a remarkable 33rd score of the season. An incredible statistic.

At 17-5 down that could have been the start of a comeback, however QEGS seemed to up their intensity upon conceding, putting real pressure on QEGS as they tried to make sure that any comeback was nipped in the bud.

That pressure forced Wirral into conceding penalties in dangerous territory and they eventually paid the price for that, with Ben Thomas seeing yellow for collapsing a QEGS maul.

QEGS kept plugging away, forcing Wirral to kick from deep, and from one such clearance kick they created one of the tries of the semi final stage as wing Jacob Mounsey collected a Wirral kick before beating six defenders on a sixpence to race away underneath the sticks – a truly stunning finish and some excellent footwork.

Five minutes later it was another kick return that was to prove the real killer moment for Wirral as QEGS captain Tom Stephenson reacted first to some confusion around a bouncing ball on the halfway line, evading any would be tacklers to race away and score a spectacular try.

With Hanson converting, that took the score out to 29-5. While there was plenty of time remaining, it felt as though that really was the end for Wirral, who had been superb at times, but had just not been able to penetrate the QEGS defence often enough, for it had been superbly organsied and physical beyond their years.

For QEGS it is a third attempt in a row at Twickenham in this U15 NatWest Cup, they are yet to lift the title and will be desperately hoping that this is their year. Indeed in 7 final attempts across the Schools Cup competitions, just once have they got their hands on the trophy, back in 1998 in a share of the Cup with RGS High Wycombe.

Surely QEGS’ time must be coming soon? If they keep this type of performance up, it just might.

Full Time: QEGS Wakefield 29-5 Wirral Grammar School

QEGS Wakefield

15 Harry Thompson 14 Eddisson Munoz 13 Joseph Gatus 12 Harry Kelly 11 Jacob Mounsey 10 Tom Stephenson 9 Alessandro Longo 8 Edan Kelly 7 Max Hanson 6 Sachin Gogna 5 James Crabtree 4 Jack Mann 3 Daniel Paxman 2 Connor Stevenson 1 Jasper McGuire.

Replacements: 16 Theo Fulton 17 Rahaam Parikhaah 18 Will Towler 19 Callum Scott 20 Oliver Wigglesworth 21 Elliot Sanderson 22 Neville Sawadye.

Wirral Grammar:

15 Stephen Higgins 14 Muhammed Hyatt 13 Jack Nelson 12 Will Tyrer 11 Sam Wood 10 Lucas Titherington 9 George Manger 1 Matthew Austin 2 Cameron Peberdy 3 Calum Heslop 4 Sam Gregory 5 Charlie Carter 6 Ben Thomas 7 Sean Hayes 8 Josh Kenyon.

Replacements: 16 Ben O’Connor 17 Jacob Ainscough 18 Will Sass 19 Morgan Christian 20 Joe van Eker21 Andrew Galliers 22 Jamie Taylor.

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