The U18 NatWest Cup and Vase semi finals saw some outstanding rugby played at Allianz Park.
Players from all eight sides on show impressed, making choosing just fifteen for our ‘Team of the Day’ a real challenge. One position with a raft of impressive performances was scrum half, where George Wootten, Sam Tovey, and James Costin-Pratt could all easily have been chosen.
Unsurprisingly, the team is dominated by QEGS Wakefield and Bromsgrove, the two U18 Cup semi final winners, with Bromsgrove taking the most plaudits due to that stunning 50-24 win over Whitgift, who were not without some impressive moments themselves.
Here’s out team – let us know what you think, and who you would pick, @FifteenRugbyXV
U18 NatWest Cup & Vase Semi Finals – Team of the Day
15 George Grieve (Bloxham)
A solid performance all round from Grieve, rounded off by a brilliant try at the end of the game to level the scores at 20-20, only for NSB to go though as the first try scorers. Grieve deserved better luck.
14 Joe Gatus (QEGS Wakefield)
Gatus had a good game for QEGS Wakefield on the wing in their win over Warwick, he was happy to get stuck in and capped the performance off with a smartly taken try.
13 Conor Docherty (St Ambrose College)
Docherty claimed a brace in victory over Pangbourne College, but his performance was about more than just tries. He challenged the defence all day and was ferocious in his own defence.
12 Jake Johnson (Northampton School for Boys)
Another centre to bag two tries, once again though, this was not just about the tries. Johnson played like a New Zealand ‘second five-eighth’, happily taking on game management duties, and executing well.
11 Cooper Bent (Bromsgrove)
Bent claimed two tries in a barnstorming Bromsgrove performance, but was tenacious in every aspect of the game, and put in some brave and important tackles too. Deserves more of his brilliant backline colleagues alongside him in this team – all were outstanding.
10 Sam Morley (Whitgift)
Perhaps a controversial choice given the struggles of his side against Bromsgrove, however their second half rally was highly impressive, and Morley’s role in that was key. Most of what Whigift did well stemmed from him.
9 Thomas Walsh (St Ambrose College)
On a great day for scrum halves, Walsh was perhaps the pick of the bunch. His tussle with Costin-Pratt was one of the great battles of the day. Walsh’s footwork was sublime, and his speed electric. One of the most deserving try scorers of the day.
1 Harry Ferguson (Bromsgrove)
Bromsgrove’s front row gets in en mass because they are used in a way that not other side used theirs, or at least not to that extent. Not only is their set piece superb, but their energy and involvement in the loose is immense. Ferguson got through a monumental shift.
2 Henry Walker (Bromsgrove)
Hardly enough superlatives for this man. The abrasive hooker almost never gets tackled by the first man, and has the handling skills to release those around him too. His try, after a neat pass to his teammate beforehand, showed that.
3 Harrison Fowke (Bromsgrove)
Another Bromsgrove front row who gets through an almighty shift. Fowke is as likely to be found out on the wing as he is in tight to his teammates in the middle of the field. Carries like a tank.
4 Elliot Ward (QEGS Wakefield)
Ward might not have been captain, but he was the beating heart of this QEGS performance, tackling, carrying, and being a general nuisance to the opposition. A real force of nature on the day.
5 Lawrence Weston (Bromsgrove)
A towering presence in the middle of the Bromsgrove pack. He dominated the lineout, commanded the unstoppable driving maul, and was a beast around the pack. He will be key in the final.
6 Joe Morrice (Bromsgrove)
A toss up between Morrice and QEGS’ Harry Watts, Morrice just edges it for the sheer workload he got through in keeping Bromsgrove on the front foot. Put in a real shift.
7 Harry Lloyd-Jones (Bromsgrove)
Lloyd-Jones collected a pair of tries off the back of the maul, but he would be the first to acknowledge the efforts of the rest of his pack there. What he did exceptionally was to link his forwards and his backs, keeping his side on the front foot and spoiling any Whitgift momentum.
8 Harry Clarke (QEGS Wakefield)
Clarke carried, carried some more, got up, and then carried again. If Ward was smashing holes in brick walls for his side to run through, Clarke was a foot behind absolutely smashing the wall down. His workload was immesnse.