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Dulwich College Schools Cup Finalists Combined XV v Combined Opposition XV

With the NatWest Cup semi finals day done and dusted and finals day now just a fortnight away and Dulwich College in their 4th final in succession, we thought we would have a light hearted moment and put together a couple of ‘best of’ XVs from the 4 teams, a Dulwich College one, and an opposition XV.

The two XVs compromise Dulwich College’s players from their 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 finalists, while the opposition XV is made up of players from Old Swinford Hospital 2011/12, Northampton School for Boys 2012/13, Warwick 2013/14, and Bromsgrove 2014/15.

As you can see below, there were some pretty tough choices and some quality players from Dulwich College and the opposition schools miss out. Of course this just being a bit of fun, there’s sure to be a bit of disagreement, so let us hear who you would include in each side – via @FifteenRugbyXV www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby or the comment box below.

Dulwich College Schools Cup Finalists XV:

1 Beno Obano (2012 & ’13) – A powerful and devastating ball carrier, now at Bath. Immensely strong and an absolute no brainer for inclusion. Defenders hated seeing him oppositethem.

2 Dan Beese (2012) – A key man in their first Cup win, keeping out some top men in Billy Mostyn and Omar Nasir but was a key leader in a difficult first Cup campaign.

3 Jeremy Reason (2012 & ’13) – Top class player, played 6 in his first campaign, and propped in his second. Not a man whose channel you would want to run down.

4 Hector McKimm (2013 & ’14) – McKimm was a key cog in the famous Dulwich maul, directing the lineout and often finding himself scoring off those mauls, including 2 in the 2013 final.

5 Tom Marchant (2014 &’15) – Started in the second row last year, will start at 8 this year, Marchant is a classic Dulwich captain. A man you want in a dogfight, works hard, tackles everything, a proper leader.

6 Felix Maddison (2013 & ’14) – For Maddison, read Marchant. You feel Marchant may have picked up everything he knows from this man, who is a class act and a top class back row forward. Passion personified.

7 Dom Wroe-Wright (2012 & ’13) – Dan Lydiate would be jealous of Wroe-Wright’s ‘chop tackle’ it was that good. Yet another inspirational back row captain who always shone.

8 Josh Ibuanokpe (2012, ’13, & ’14) – Moves to No8 to accommodate Reason at prop, as he did throughout 2013. Ibuanopkpe is a triple Cup winner, played for England U18 and is now at Harlequins. An immense ball carrier.

9 Tom O’Flaherty (2012) – A top class player, and he would have to be to keep Pierre Thompson out. The creative genius of the 2012 side. A lovely 7s player too.

10 Ed Parsons (2012 & ’13) – Keeps out Matt Beese and Jon Waugh and with two starting XV winners medals, why not. Played a real heads up game and worked brilliantly in a 1st 5/8th & 2nd 5/8th tandem with Dom Fraser.

11 Reece Pinnock (2015) – His first semi final yielded a hat-trick and that has been how Pinnock’s form has looked all year. Tenacious, fast, and also a top defender. Look out for him in the final.

12 Dom Fraser (2012 & ’13) – Metronomic boot, tactically astute, and played an important leadership role too. He is probably one of the best schoolboy kickers we have seen in all honesty.

13 Jo Charnley (2012, ’13, & ’14) – Three winners medals says it all really. Had to move in from 13 to 12 when Fraser left, and he did so with ease taking helping Beese at 10 out admirably too.

14 Ed Berry (2014 & ’15) – Will start at 12 in this year’s final but played on the wing last year, Berry is keeping out some top players including Omar Malik, a star this year, and Anthony Ngezwu, who scored a hat-trick in last year’s final. Berry merits it though, he is a man you want in your XV in the big games.

15 Ali Neden (2013 & ’14) – The most exciting back across all four of these Dulwich sides. Neden could slice open defences at will, and often did. Reliable, fast, and in possession of an all round sportsman’s brain that helped him read the game brilliantly.

Replacements:

16 Billy Mostyn (2012 & ’13) – Excellent hooker, unlucky to miss out but having benched behind Beese in 2012 he knows the quality of the man. Excellent in 2013 as part of an all dominant front row.

17 Dom Fernandes (2013 & ’14) – Filled a Beno Obano sized hole in the 2014 starting line up and Dulwich’s forward power and quality looked no weaker. That says everything about this guy.

18 Luke Bliss (2014 & ’15) – On the bench last year, will start this year, he has formed a great partnership with Charlie Dee and is a passionate and forceful character in the engine room.

19 John Winter (2012, ’13, & ’14) – Finally got to start a final last year after two bench appearances, Winter was immense in last year’s semi final win over RGS High Wycombe alongside Funsho Olaleye, who is unlucky to miss out.

20 Pierre Thompson (2014 & ’15) – Unlucky to miss out on the starting spot, Thompson has been a key player over the last two years. His tactical awareness and eye for a gap, as shown in the semi final this year, are crucial for Dulwich.

21 Jon Waugh (2014 & ’15) – Waugh has been superb this year. He appears to be Sam Howard’s eyes and ears on the field, tactically superb, composed, and mature. Will be key in the final.

22 Omar Malik (2014 & ’15) – On the bench last year, Malik will start this year, and no wonder. His long rangy runs have caused opposition nightmares all year, while positionally he appears very aware too.

Opposition Schools Cup Finalists XV:

1 Jake Byrne (Warwick 2014) – A top class prop and a cracking player in the loose too as he has shown this season.

2 Will Priestly (Warwick 2014) – A ball of muscle and energy as a L6th in 2014, even more so now.

3 Harrison Fowke (Bromsgrove 2015) -  Fowke is a strong and powerful prop and will give Dulwich a real test in the final in what has been one of their strongest areas through their successive Cup runs.

4 Huw Taylor (Old Swinford Hospital 2012) – Was only on the bench in 2012 as he was still just 15, a terrific player though. Represented England U18 & U20, plays for Worcester Warriors.

5 Justin Clegg (Bromsgrove 2015) – Clegg is part of the Worcester Warriors academy and is a tremendous engine in the Bromsgrove front 5. He will really challenge Dulwich physically.

6 Sam Smith (Old Swinford Hosptial 2012) – Played for England U18 and is in the Worcester Warriors set up, Smith was only a Colt in that 2012 final yet still shone.

7 Joe Blake (Warwick 2014) – His post match interview after the 2014 final was the most courageous and mature thing that this writer has seen in schoolboy rugby. A testament to the off field education at Warwick. A cracking rugby player too and an inspiring leader.

8 Ed Taylor (Old Swinford Hospital 2012) – Captained the 2012 side and represented England U18 that year too. A serious ball carrier.

9 Harry Bassett (Warwick 2014) – Top quality scrum half who was played for Gloucester in the A League despite still being at school this year. Tactically incredibly sound.

10 Luke White (Bromsgrove 2015) – Bromsgrove’s ace this season. White can turn a game in a flash of brilliance. Equally capable of sitting deep and directing proceeding’s or stepping up and running and passing his way around. Lightning fast feet.

11 Rotimi Segun (Northampton School for Boys 2013) – Started at centre in 2013 at 16 before moving to Stowe for 6th form. Has played England U16, 17, & 18 and is with Northampton Saints. Serious pace and balance but exceptional strength through the tackle too.

12 Conor Bullivant (Northampton School for Boys 2013) – Started at fly half in the 2013 final before, like Segun, moving for 6th form to Moulton College. Bullivant guided Northampton School for Boys brilliantly in 2012/13 and was absolutely key in their semi final victory.

13 Max Stelling (Old Swinford Hospital 2012) – A powerful and athletic centre who also had an excellent range of footballing abilities, as shown by England U18 picking him as full back. A nightmare to defend against.

14 Alex Nisbet (Bromsgrove 2015) – Nisbet is full of pace and will be looking to feed off White’s distribution in the final. Look out for him tracking any breaks through the line too, there’s no catching him if he gets on the end of something.

15 Will Stride (Warwick 2014) – In 2013 Stride picked up the U15 Cup, in 2014 he was starting in the U18 Cup final. If that does not tell you about the quality of the man then nothing will. Bags of pace, a brilliant step and an eye for a gap.

Replacements:

16 Henry Walker (Bromsgrove 2015) – Unlucky not to get the nod for a starting spot. Bromsgrove pack can mix it with the best for power and accuracy and Walker is a major part of that.

17 Ben Edwards (Old Swinford Hospital 2012) – A good player who perhaps did not get the recognition he deserved in the 2012 final as he found himself up against the most devastating front row in the country.

18 Matt Riley (Warwick 2015) – An excellent schoolboy rugby player, committed and passionate, Riley is still at Warwick having played in the 2014 final as a L6th. A genuine link between backs and forwards.

19 Jordan Ainslie (Warwick 2014) – Only on the bench in 2014 owing to only just having turned 16. Like Stride he played an U15 final in 2013 and an U18 final in 2014, quite an achievement. Naturally an openside, he has also played 13 for the Worcester Warriors U18s. A top class player.

20 Jamie Shillock (Warwick 2014) – Like Ainslie, only on the bench in 2014 but is a magnificent player, as adept at 10 as he is at 9. Superb for the Worcester Warriors U18s and also part of the England U18 Counties side, his game has kicked on massively.

21 Henry Stride (Warwick 2014) – Keeping Jamie Shillock on the bench tells you everything you really need to know about Will’s elder brother. A lovely runner with the ball who loves nothing more than attacking the opposition defence.

22 Jack Spittle (Northampton School for Boys 2013) – Life was made nice and easy for him with Bullivant and Segun inside him yet Spittle still shone outright. Understood his role perfectly and was always on had for an offload when the more celebrated names inside him broke. In sport timing is everything, Spittle had that.

There are so many top players from all sides that miss out, Bromsgrove’s Tom Ford is a top class player and will no doubt play himself into this fictional side during the final. That said Northampton School for Boys’ Ollie Hartfield had the game of his life back in 2013 yet such is the quality available that he does not quite make it.

Dulwich’s success is perhaps most obvious not through those selected but through those who are not included. Funsho Olaleye was incredible last year, particularly in that epic semi final, but there is no space for him, and it is a similar story with Omar Nasir. Others like Patrick Stuff, Anthony Bray, Baba Ajisebutu, Tom Rosier, Harvey Austin, and Matt Beese also merit inclusion somewhere, surely.

Those are our teams though, what do you think?

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