U18 NatWest Cup champions Bromsgrove cruised to the final with a staggeringly dominant semi final display against Whitgift.
The Midlanders back-to-back NatWest Cup dream remains very much alive after a 50-24 win at Allianz Park this evening, where they blew what it, in fact, a very good Whitgift side off the park.
At this point, it is hard to imagine many people outside of Yorkshire who would not back them to join that elite group of back-to-back Schools Cup winners.
It was not just the size of their win that impressed, but the manner of it. Six first half tries, the first inside of four minutes. Whitgift never had a chance to even settle, let alone find any sort of rhythm. This is a side, remember, whose only defeats this season have been to Wellington College, Sedbergh, and Millfield, three of the best around.
Bromsgrove are unbeaten though, and on this evidence, it’s not hard to see why. They defend as a unit and with huge aggression, and going forward they have it all, their maul is a work of art that even the great Dulwich side’s would have raised a glass to, they can attack short and hard through their athletic and powerful forwards, or wide through some electric backs. Stopping them is a task few could handle, especially on Allianz Park’s pristine 4G surface.
The key to it all, though, is the ruck. Their ball presentation and clearance of the tackle area is as good as you will see at schools level. It is almost impossible to remember a time when scrum half George Wootten did not have the ball delivered to him on a plate all game.
Credit must go to Whtigift though, at 38-0 down at half time many teams would have wilted, and when Bromsgrove scored yet another try through that driving maul just a couple of minutes into the half, there was a genuine fear that that might happen.
That it did not was a great credit to them, in fact, not only did that not happen, but for much of the second half, especially once both sides had made their swathes of substitutions, Whitgift were perhaps the better side, certainly in the last ten minutes. A huge amount of the praise there must go to their supporters, who were magnificent to the end, cheering every little half triumph. As a side that is down and out on the field of play, that sort of support means an awful lot.
Their four second half tries, through, Rordan Daws, Fergus Donnelly, Funsho Ajayi, and the excellent Sam Morley brought an awful lot more respectability to the score, and showed just why they were in this semi final.
Bromsgrove did not need to prove their value here though, they were simply outstanding, they will take some stopping. Hooker Henry Walker was typically abrasive yet deft in his handling, scoring one excellent try from short range as he exchange passes with Tom Ford, another multi-talented forward, Ford ended up kicking the conversion for Bromsgrove’s final try, through Lawrence Weston, the giant second row.
Wing Cooper Bent grabbed an excellent brace, while the maul claimed two for openside Henry Lloyd-Jones, a menace all day.
Blake Edwards, the strong and pacy outside centre claimed a first half score, with flanker Joe Morrice being the other scorer.
In all there were eight tries, eight magnificent tries for their own individual reasons. Most importantly though, they were magnificent because they were collective efforts, none were random individual scores, these were all borne of excellent rugby.
The question that remains now is this; what can QEGS do to stop this Bromsgrove juggernaught? If anything this was even more impressive than their last 16 dismantling of Bedford Modern, and Whitgift are a much more proven side than they are.
Twickenham on 16th March is certainly the palce to be if you are a Bromsgrove fan.
Back- to-back titles would elevate this Bromsgrove side into that Schools Cup elite, Whitgift are already there after their 2010 and 2011 efforts, Bromgrove would dearly love to be there, and on this evidence, they deserve to be.
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15 George James, 14 Christophe Fostier, 13 Blake Edwards, 12 Joe Hunt, 11 Cooper Bent, 10 James Taylor, 9 George Wootten, 1 Harry Ferguson, 2 Henry Walker, 3 Harrison Fowke, 4 Beck Cutting, 5 Lawrence Weston, 6 Joe Morrice, 7 Harry Lloyd-Jones, 8 Tom Ford (C).
Replacements: 16 George Smith, 17 Will Lockhart, 18 Jack Weston, 19 Jonny Howcroft, 20 Oliver Wilkinson, 21 Jonty Thorton, 22 Connor McStay.
15 Noah Ferdinand, 14 Tom Griffiths, 13 Jack Forrest, 12 Alex Hogg, 11 Funsho Ajayi, 10 Sam Morley, 9 Toby Wright, 1 Ryan Bodkin, 2 Will Fitzpatrick, 3 Alex Wiehe, 4 Lasha Jaina, 5 Dom Adkins, 6 Sid Holland (c), 7 Santos Geldenhuys, 8 Cameron Wilkins.
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Diaz-Alywin, 17 Cameron McClymont, 18 Elliot McDevitt, 19 Rordan Daws, 20 Harry Wilson, 21 Fergus Donnelly, 22 Nick Lucena.