U15 NatWest Cup Semi Final Previews

Saturday sees the U15 NatWest Cup semi finals take place at Allianz Park.

 

The four teams will be competing for the chance to head to Twickenham on Wednesday 29th March to play in the U15 NatWest Cup Final. All four sides look very strong, and we should therefore have two brilliant semi finals on our hands.

 

Warwick v Ivybridge Community College – 3pm kick off

 

Both Warwick and Ivybridge have made their way to the semi finals with relative ease, only being tested, really, twice each, Warwick early on to Solihull and Northampton School for Boys, Ivybridge later on against Sherborne and, to an extent, Dulwich College.

 

That just shows how well these two sides have been playing. This is the new look NatWest Cup, with a Vase competition that is separate to the Cup right from the start, and therefore with a much tighter and more competitive Cup from round 1 onwards.

 

We saw in the U18s that all of the semi finalists had really had to work throughout the competition, so for these two to buck that trend is highly impressive.

 

Saturday will be fascinating, Warwick are chasing greatness, if they have not already achieved it. Their U18s are already in their final, if the U15s could join them there and both were to win they would be just the second ever side to do the double, following Wellington College in 2008.

 

They had an opportunity to do it back in 2013, the U15s achieved their part in the bargain, but the U18s missed out to that wonderful Dulwich College team. That was the start of a glorious period for Warwick at U15 level, they won it again in 2014, before reaching the final in 2015. They missed out last year, and this group will no doubt be determined to get their school back to Twickenham and to continue that phenomenal record at U15 level.

 

Ivybridge will not let them have it all their own way, and while they do not have the same pedigree in this competition, they have been highly impressive this season and for a few years before.

 

This group is clearly a special one too, last year they won the inaugural HSBC Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s U14 competition, and this year that group are looking for a similarly impressive achievement at fifteen-a-side level.

 

Interestingly, that final at Rosslyn Park last year was against this Warwick group, could that play an important psychological part?

 

Warwick

 

Route to the Semis

Quarter Final: 27-0 v Langley

Round 5: 34-5 v Cheltenham College

Round 4: 49-12 v Denstone College

Round 3: 27-17 v Northampton School for Boys

Round 2: 36-21 v Solihull

Round 1: 47-0 at Bloxham

 

NatWest Cup Record

U15 Cup Winners, 2013 & 2014, Runners Up, 2015.

U18 Cup Winners, 2007, Runners Up, 2013, Finalists, 2017.

 

Ivybridge

 

Route to the Semis

Quarter Final: 30-19 at Dulwich College

Round 5: 29-21 v Sherborne

Round 4: 50-0 v Taunton

Round 3: 40-7 v Devonport HS

Round 2: 53-10 v St Peter’s, Exeter

Round 1: 55-14 v Richard Lander

 

NatWest Cup Record

U15 Cup Quarter Finalists, 2015

 

Wellington Collge v Whitgift – 5pm kick off

 

These are two teams with some serious NatWest Cup pedigree, between them they have five U15 titles and six runners up spots, not to mention three U18 titles too.

 

Interestingly in one of those U15 finals, 1999, the two sides met, with Whitgift winning a close game 18-12. Wellington College bounced back from that defeat though, lifting the title in 2000.

 

There are parallels, therefore, with this year for Wellington. They reached last year’s final and were many people’s favourites. However they were caught short by Sedbergh, who were outstanding on the day. Like in 2000, Wellington College are chasing a chance for silverware after that disappointment, albeit the players are different to last year, such is the nature of U15 rugby.

 

Perhaps more to the point is that the two sides have actually already met this season, back in September, with Wellington College beating Whitgift 46-7.

 

The assumption has to be that things will be much closer this time around, Whitgift have been battle hardened since then, and on the road to this semi final they have beaten some of the biggest names in the sport, such as Epsom College, Harrow, and the reigning Champions, Sedbergh.

 

They reached last year’s quarter finals, and while going one better is an achievement, they will be going all out to return the school to Twickenham. Fourteen years is a long time for this huge rugby school to go without an U15 National title, and they will want to add a third U15 title to their collection.

 

The signs all point to a brilliant semi final, that result earlier in the season and the school’s collective determination to avenge last year’s final defeat perhaps suggest that Wellington may have the edge, but these are two of the greats in schoolboy rugby, and you can bet it will be a cracker.

 

Wellington College

 

Route to the Semis

Quarter Finals: 41-13 at St Peter’s, York

Round 5: 44-0 at Dean Close

Round 4: 34-10 at RGS High Wycombe

Round 3: 37-0 v Marlborough College

Round 2: 48-19 v Reading School

Round 1: 74-0 v Windsor Boys’

 

NatWest Cup Record
U15 Cup Winners, 1994, 2000, 2008, Runners Up, 1988, 1996, 1999, 2010, 2016

U18 Cup Winners, 2008

 

Whitgift

 

Route to the Semis

Quarter Finals: 11-5 at Sedbergh

Round 5: 33-0 v Churcher’s College

Round 4: 24-8 at Harrow

Round 3: 27-10 v St John’s Leatherhead

Round 2: 39-0 at Epsom College

Round 1: 31-24 at London Oratory

 

NatWest Cup Record

U15 Cup Winners, 1999, 2003, Runners Up, 1997

U18 Cup 2010, 2011

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