The NatWest Schools Cup finals day takes place at Twickenham Stadium on Wednesday.
After being whittled down from many hundreds of entrants, just eight teams remain to compete for the four trophies, the U18 Cup, U18 Vase, U15 Cup, and U15 Vase.
All four finals promise to be thrilling games of rugby between sides who have won many admirers throughout the competition – running out at Twickenham is an achievement and a great memory in itself for all concerned, to pick up a title is to join a very special elite of schools rugby teams.
The playing on the order on the day will be as follows:
11.00 – U15 Vase – Dr Challoner’s v Sir Thomas Rich’s
13.00 – U15 Cup – Sedbergh v Wellington College
15.00 – U18 Vase – Northampton School for Boys v St Ambrose College
17.00 – U18 Cup – QEGS Wakefield v Bromsgrove
U15 Vase: Dr Challoner’s v Sir Thomas Rich’s
Dr Challoner’s were perhaps one of the most unknown quantities in the competition heading into the semi finals but their 41-12 win over Bridgewater at Allianz Park certainly put them on the radar. They should, frankly, already have been there. Their run to the Vase final has seen them pass the forty point mark three times, their lowest score has been 28. Up until the quarter finals they had conceded just 5 points, and recorded a stunning 32-0 win over the mighty Clifton College.
Sir Thomas Rich’s are a very well established rugby school and will be a very tough nut to crack. The lost the 2012 U15 Vase final to Dauntsey’s, so will be desperate to surpass that side from four years ago and seal their name not only into their own history books, but into school rugby’s. Their run has been a much closer affair though, their win over Bishop Vesey’s in the semi final was a close one, as was their quarter final, while way back in round 3 they only squeaked through as the away side in a draw with Cleeve.
It should be a very interesting game of rugby, and a great way to kick off the day.
Routes to the Final
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
Semi Final: 41-12 v Bridgewater
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
Semi Final: 23-19 v Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School
U15 Cup: Sedbergh v Wellington College
This is perhaps the most heavyweight of the four finals, certainly these are two of the most prestigious rugby schools in the country, with more titles and accolades than most.
Oddly for Sedbergh, this is a first Schools Cup final, but that is unlikely to concern this side, they have looked incredibly professional in their march towards the title. Wellington College will mentally fancy themselves though, they have already beaten Sedbergh this season and will see no reason why they should not do so again, especially after beating their U15 Cup nemesis of the last few years, Warwick, in the semi final.
Both have conquered serious contenders in the national knockouts too, Sedbergh seeing off Whitgift and Millfield, with Wellington College knocking out Dulwich College, and of course Warwick.
The game is perhaps too close to call though, while Wellington may have that win in their pocket, there is no doubt, as many have said, that Sedbergh are a better outfit than back in November. Calling this one is no easy task, but what is certain is that we have a game that is, without question, between two of the best in the country.
Routes to the Final
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
Semi Final: 13-10 v Millfield
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
Semi Final: 7-3 v Warwick
U18 Vase: Northampton School for Boys v St Ambrose College
What a fascinating tie this one looks set to be, between two sides who were involved in thrilling semi finals.
Northampton School for Boys certainly have Twickenham experience, having been the losing finalists in the Cup to that mighty Dulwich College side in 2013, but will know they need to step up again from the semi final if they are to win. They played some thrilling rugby at times at Allianz Park, but almost let their shot at silverware slip away with Bloxham scoring late on to draw the game at 20-20, with Northampton going through by the most agonizing of means, as the first try scorers.
St Ambrose know that that margin must be ignored though, Northampton School for Boys are here, and they are a very good rugby team. So too are St Ambrose, who thrilled in their 28-12 semi final win over Pangbourne College, playing some outstanding rugby and setting us up for what we can expect to be a stunning third game of rugby on Wednesday.
Routes to the Final
Northampton School for Boys
Semi Finals: 20-20 v Bloxham
Quarter Final: 30-17 v St Geoerge’s College, Weybridge
Last 16: 32-7 v Hereford 6th form College
Round 5: 13-0 v Norwich School
Round 4: 37-12 v Welbeck
Round 3: 16-13 v Loughborough Grammar
Round 2: 5-0 v King’s Grantham
St Ambrose College
Semi Finals: 28-12 v Pangbourne College
Quarter Finals: 20-0 v Cooper’s Coborn
Last 16: 21-20 v Yarm
Round 5: 55-0 v Ripley St Thomas’
Round 4: 33-0 v Ashville College
Round 3: 49-7 v Hutton Grammar
Round 2: 80-5 v Falibroome Academy
U18 Cup: QEGS Wakefield v Bromsgrove
The Bromsgrove story is going to dominate this final, last year they picked up their maiden title, ending the mighty Dulwich College dynasty in spectacular style, now they have the chance to create on of their own by joining that elite band of back to back winners, the legends of the Schools Cup.
After seeing the way they dismantled a very good Whitgift side in the semi finals, many were asking just how anyone can stop this stunning Bromsgrove side, who seem to possess every weapon. A 50-24 semi final win is simply stunning, and the truth is that Bromsgrove would have been kicking themselves for allowing the margin to be so slender. They were that good.
QEGS Wakefield will believe though, and why not. They are already Schools Cup legends, this is their 9th final, though until last year they held a rather unwanted stat, they had appeared in seven finals without a win, until they beat Warwick to win the U15 Cup. They have lost three U18 Cup finals before, but this year they will feel very confident, this group of players lost in successive U15 Cup finals to Warwick, but beat them comfortably 21-12 in this year’s U18 Cup semi finals, so will believe that they are more than capable of bringing home the trophy.
They certainly are capable, but they will have to beat a side that is perhaps the best in the country in order to do so. It should be a cracker.
Semi Final: 21-12 v Warwick
Quarter Final: 20-0 v Truro
Last 16: 18-0 v St Peter’s, York
Round 5: 18-0 v RGS Lancaster
Round 4: 33-0 v Stockport Grammar School
Round 3: 29-10 v Ilkley Grammar School
Round 2: w/o v Rishworth
Semi Final: 50-24 v Whitgift
Quarter Final: 31-13 v RGS High Wycombe
Last 16: 48-8 v Bedford Modern
Round 5: 45-17 v Abingdon
Round 4: 22-8 v Solihull
Round 3: 50-20 v King Henry VIII, Coventry
Round 2: 56-5 v King’s Edward’s, Aston