The first full weekend of the school season certainly produced plenty of talking points and exciting results.
It also once again demonstrated our terrible prediction ratio in our weekly preview!
After such a strong and surprising weekend though, it made sitting down last night to have a think about our Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend pretty tough. There were simply so many strong performances, excellent comebacks, and dogged display to choose from.
Nevertheless, we eventually managed to settle on five, and here they are:
Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend
Epsom are always a strong side, but they have lost a lot of very good players over the last few years. We therefore were hesitant about backing them too strongly over a St Paul’s side this weekend that had finished 9th in the Daily Mail Trophy last year with a young side, including a win over Wellington College.
How foolish we were made to look then when Epsom absolutely stormed to a 41-0 lead, with the game effectively over at half time. Indeed two early tries from Epsom College took the sting out of the game almost before it had got started. A stunning performance.
The pressure is on QEGS this year, they were the U18 NatWest Cup finalists last year and have a 1st XV this year that is compromised of an U6th that were U15 NatWest Cup finalists, and a L6th that won it. Much therefore is expected of this group.
Having a lot expected of you and delivering on that expectation are two very different things though, and an opening fixture against an RGS Lancaster side that really impressed last year made for a potentially difficult start. QEGS are either immune to pressure or thrive on it though, because they absolutely stormed to a 46-0 victory over the side from across the Pennines.
Sedbergh v Whitgift is always a big game, these are two huge rugby schools that have made a habit of winning big games and big tournaments. This year’s encounter felt particularly important though after both arrived having won the two biggest pre-season festivals the weekend before, Whitgift winning the President’s Cup and Sedbergh winning at Tynedale.
It looked like Whitgift might be the stronger as they strode out to an 11-0 lead, however Sedbergh showed exceptional strength, character, and skill to turn that around for a 14-11 win that will have plenty of schools around the country taking notice. A truly excellent comeback.
Warwick v Bromsgrove saw the back to back U18 NatWest Schools Cup champions travel to Warwick, who’s side consist of an U6th who are U15 NatWest Cup winners and a L6th who were runners up.
It was a true battle of titans, and one that would tell us a lot about the season to come. Both were therefore under a huge amount of pressure, but it was Warwick who came out on top and Warwick whose ability to rise to the occasion on Saturday sees them into our Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend after a 15-7 victory.
Wilmslow High School
The NatWest Vase might be the younger brother to the NatWest Cup, but even so the finalists tend to be pretty decent. So a St Ambrose College side that came second in the Vase last year with all of their major players still being eligible this year were expected to be a tough nut for Wilmslow to crack.
Someone obviously forgot to mention that to Wilmslow High School though, as the regulars in the NatWest Cup national stages decimated their opponents for a 53-0 away win and a place in our Top 5.