After a thrilling day of U18 NatWest Cup and Vase action last weekend, it is the turn of the U15s on Sunday.
The day kicks off at 11.00 with the first Vase semi final, Bridgewater v Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, followed by the second Vase semi at 13.00, Bishop Vesey’s grammar school v Sir Thomas Rich’s.
Once mid afternoon arrives, the Cup takes over from the Vase, with four of the biggest names in schools rugby taking part. The first semi final between Millfield and Sedbergh kicks off at 15.00, with the second semi final between Warwick and Wellington College kicking off at 17.00.
U15 NatWest Cup & Vase Semi Final Fixtures:
U15 Cup (Sunday 6th March)
Millfield v Sedbergh – 15.00
Warwick v Wellington College – 17.00
U15 Vase (Sunday 6th March)
Bridgewater v Dr Challoner’s Grammar – 11.00
Bishop Vesey’s v Sir Thomas Rich’s – 13.00
U15 NatWest Cup – Semi Final 1 – Millfield v Sedbergh (15.00)
This is a huge game of rugby. These are perhaps the two most prestigious and well known rugby schools in the country, between them they have almost produced enough internationals to hold an international tournament of their own. Millfield boast three of the current England squad in Chris Robhsaw, Mako Vunipola, and Jonathan Joseph, Sedbergh may not have any players in the current England side, but some of England’s greatest names were once at the school including Will Carling and Will Greenwood.
The two sides have already met this season, a 22-0 win for Millfield in early December, so the Somerset side will likely head in as favourites, though as history suggests, games between these two are never straightforward.
Millfield are looking for a first Schools Cup title since the 2009 U15 Cup victory, while for Sedbergh it is a chance for their first ever Schools Cup Twickenham final.
Only two sides have beaten Millfield this year, Bromsgrove and Wellington College, though with Wellington on the other side of the draw and Bromsgrove having been knocked out by their opponents, Warwick, it looks like the final will be a big challenge should they progress.
Sedbergh, like their opponents, have also only lost twice. Like Millfield, they also lost to Wellington College, while their other loss, of course, was to Sunday’s opponents.
Routes to the Semis
Round 3: 56-0 v Gryphon
Round 4: 12-5 v Sherborne
Round 5: 43-0 v Bryanston
Round 6: 25-7 v Truro
Round 7: 20-3 v St Peter’s Gloucester
Quarter Final: 19-6 v Woodhouse Grove
Round 3: 64-0 v QES Kirkby
Round 4: 48-8 v Keswick
Round 5: 47-5 v RGS Lancaster
Round 6: 22-8 v Grammar School at Leeds
Round 7: 42-3 v St Ambrose College
Quarter Final: 34-17 v Whitgift
U15 NatWest Cup – Semi Final 2 – Warwick v Wellington College (17.00)
Another monstrous game of rugby, these two sides seem inextricably drawn to each other in this competition. Warwick have been in the final of the last three U15 NatWest Cups, and on each occasion they have beaten Wellington College en route to Twickenham.
There was, therefore, no chance of them being kept apart this year either, it seems.
Warwick’s recent record in this competition is simply staggering, three finals in a row is an outstanding achievement, especially as at U15 level schools only have the players for a year, unlike U18 where they are available for two. All three of those finals were against QEGS Wakefield, with Warwick winning the first two and losing the second.
They will therefore be motivated to get back to having stewardship over the Cup again, particularly after their U18 side lost to QEGS in last week’s semi final.
Warwick have just four losses to their name this season, to Dulwich College, Sedbergh, who sit on the other side of the draw, and twice to Bromsgrove. Though having drawn against them in the quarter final to progress, Warwick will feel like the must be a side on the up.
Wellington College will prove a formidable opponent though, they have beaten both sides on the other side of the draw, Millfield and Sedbergh, and have done so comfortably as part of their march to a superb unbeaten season.
Indeed they have barely looked like losing all season. The closest they came was actually in this competition, a 19-16 victory over Colston’s before Christmas. Before that no side has come within seventeen points of them. They have gone past forty points on eight occasions, and on one of the most competitive circuits around.
The last won this competition back in 2008, and remain the only side to win the U15 and U18 competition in the same year. That is not possible now as their U18 side do not enter, but on form over the season, their U15s are in a very strong position to repeat the success of those 2008 legends.
Routes to the Semis
Round 2: 50-0 v Lutterworth
Round 3: 30-5 v KES Stratford
Round 4: 13-7 v Rugby
Round 5: 22-3 v RGS Worcester
Round 6: 27-10 v Newcastle-Under-Lyme
Round 7: 24-8 v Northampton School for Boys
Quarter Final: 12-12 v Bromsgrove (through as away side)
Round 3: 66-0 Kennet
Round 4: w/o v Lord William’s
Round 5: 56-5 v Reading Blue Coat
Round 6: 19-16 v Colston’s
Round 7: 43-14 v Ivybridge Community College
Quarter Final: 20-3 v Dulwich College
U15 NatWest Vase – Semi Final 1 – Bridgewater v Dr Challoner’s (11.00)
These two schools have done superbly well to get to this stage of the competition, both have gone further than ever before, and now have the chance of reaching a first ever Twickenham final.
They might not be the most recognisable names in schools rugby, but these two schools have put in some outstanding performances to get here. Bridgewater have beaten the likes of Audenshaw and St Edward’s College, and only got knocked out of the Cup by an incredibly tight 22-20 defeat to Lymm High School, one of the strongest rugby schools in the region.
Dr Challoner’s, meanwhile, have been truly outstanding, beating some of the most recognisable names in schools rugby, such as Clifton College. In fact, that 32-0 win over Clifton in the last 16 of this competition has to be one of the most eye catching results in the entire competition, and will likely fill the Amersham based side with a huge amount of confidence heading into Allianz Park for this semi final.
Routes to the Semis
Round 4: 28-14 v Christleton
Round 5: 38-14 v St Edward’s College
Round 6: 50-0 v Audenshaw
Round 7: 52-5 v Rodillian
Quarter Final: 20-3 v Devonport High
Round 3: 31-5 v Windsor Boys
Round 4: 46-0 v Reading School
Round 5: 50-0 v Desborough College
Round 6: 31-0 v Dauntsey’s
Round 7: 32-0 v Clifton College
Quarter Final: 28-10 v Manchester Grammar
U15 NatWest Vase – Semi Final 2 – Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School v Sir Thomas Rich’s (13.00)
This looks like a pretty heavyweight tie for a Vase semi final, both in previous years could have made big dents in the main competition.
Bishop Vesey’s have been in fine form this year, losing just four times, and one of them, of course, was the Cup tie that knocked them into the Vase. There have been big wins over established rugby schools such as Adams Grammar and a particularly strong effort over Solihull.
Sir Thoams Rich’s, meanwhile are chasing a return to Twickenham, having been there in 2012 for the U15 Vase final. They lost that day, 17-5 to Dauntsey’s, so will be desperate to go one better this year.
Their record has not been quite as good as their opponent’s though, having lost twelve, won eleven, and drawn one this season. Their Vase run has been outstanding though, and they will fancy carrying that form through to Allianz Park on Sunday as they look to emulate that 2012 side and reach Twickenham again.
Routes to the Semis
Round 3: 61-7 v Arden Academy
Round 4: 28-5 v Princethorpe College
Round 5: 13-3 v KES Stratford
Round 6: 43-10 v Adams Grammar
Round 7: 9-7 v St George’s, Harpenden
Quarter Final: 19-15 v New Hall
Sir Thomas Rich’s
Round 3: 15-15 v Cleeve
Round 4: 17-10 v Chosen Hill
Round 5: 48-0 v Churchdown
Round 6: 23-10 v Woodlands Academy
Round 7: 24-7 v Trent College
Quarter Final: 19-13 v Chislehurst & Sidcup GS