John Fisher won the prestigious National Rugby Awards School Team of the Year at Twickenham Stadium on Wednesday night.
They staved off competition from Warwick, Brighton College, Cranleigh, Howbridge Church of England Junior School, and the founders of the game, Rugby School, to claim the award.
It was a tough contest, with each school having strong claims to the title, but eventually the judges decided that John Fisher continued excellence in competing on a circuit as a state school that contains some of the best, most historic, and biggest budget schools in the country, simply could not go unrecognised.
Their annual derby against Whitgift is one of the most remarkable contests in schools rugby in this country, competing with some of the scenes often found in New Zealand and South Africa, with upwards of 2,000 spectators often at the 1st XV fixtures, which is the culmination of a day of play between the various age-groups and standards between the two schools.
There was more good news for schools rugby in Twickenham’s Rose Room as Rugby School’s Director of Rugby Simon Brown was handed the Coach of the Year award. Not simply the school coach of the year, but the national coach of the year, across all ages, sexes, and standards.
The former Harlequins and Barbarians player took Rugby to an unbeaten season in their 450th anniversary year, a year that culminated in a superb international tournament on their famous Close ground, where South African’s Hilton College won and Rugby School finished 3rd.
Once again though at the National Rugby Awards, the contribution and success of school rugby was a real highlights of the evening, whether at the most well known rugby school in the world or at a state school in Croydon.
National Rugby Awards School Team of the Year – John Fisher
National Rugby Awards Coach of the Year – Simon Brown (Rugby School)
For more information on the National Rugby Awards, please visit: www.nationalrugbyawards.co.uk