This weekend sees Allianz Park host the U18 and U15 Schools Cup and Vase semi finals.
Saturday will see the U18s take centre stage, with the Vase fixtures kicking off first, 11am and 1pm, ahead of the Cup games at 3pm and 5pm. Then on Sunday the U15s take over, with the U15 Vase starting at 10.30am followed by the second semi final at 12.15pm, with the U15 Cup semi finals at 2pm and 3.45pm.
We will cover the U18 and U15 Cup semi finals elsewhere, here the focus is on the U18 and U15 Schools Vase semi finals.
U18 Schools Vase Semi Finals:
Samuel Whitbread v Worksop College – Saturday, 11am, Allianz Park
Samuel Whitbread (Midlands A)
Quarter Final: 45-5 v Newcastle School for Boys
Last 16: 20-7 v Aylesbury Grammar
Round 4: 20-3 at Bishop’s Stortford College
Round 3: 27-0 v St George’s Harpenden
Round 2: 97-0 v Sir John Lawes
Round 1: w/o at North Hertfordshire College
Worksop College (North B)
Quarter Final: 15-3 v Bishop Vesey’s Grammar
Last 16: 44-14 v Austin Friars
Round 4: 53-7 v Bolton
Round 3: 55-0 at Birkdale
Round 2: Bye
Round 1: 64-0 at Wales High School
Samuel Whitbread and Worksop College will kick off the weekend’s semi final action when they run out for their 11am kick off at Allianz Park. For Samuel Whitbread it kicks off the start of a spectacular weekend, for their U15s are also in action at Allianz Park in the own Vase semi on Sunday.
This U18 Samuel Whitbread group has plenty of experience to draw on, last year they reached final of the U18 Bowl, where they lost to an excellent St George’s College side. This is a step up though, the Vase is the big brother of the Bowl and Allianz Park will be bouncing. In Worksop College they face a side that breezed through their North B section of the draw and have played some sensational rugby all year.
They were tested in the quarter finals by a good Bishop Vesey’s side but came through without conceding a try, 15-3. Indeed in this Vase run Worksop have only 24 points across five games. Samuel Whitbread have been even more miserly in defence, conceding just fifteen points, including only five in their quarter final against Newcastle School for Boys, where they scored 45 of their own.
Both sides are ready for this one and it is going to be a massive game, with the huge carrot of an appearance at Twickenham Stadium the reward.
Dauntsey’s v Hayes – Saturday, 1pm, Allianz Park
Hayes (London & South East B)
Quarter Final: 16-15 v St George’s College, Weybridge
Last 16: 24-13 at Dartford Grammar
Round 4: 31-0 v Cardinal Newman
Round 3: 24-17 v Sutton Valence
Round 2: 77-19 v St Olave’s Grammar
Round 1: 19-10 at Chislehurst & Sidcup
Dauntsey’s (South West A)
Quarter Final: 20-10 v The Oratory
Last 16: 17-8 at Plymouth College
Round 4: 33-5 at St Laurence
Round 3: 57-6 at Warminster
Round 2: Bye
Round 1: 51-5 at Sheldon
The other semi final, kicking off at 1pm, is massive too, Hayes v Dauntsey’s. These two side were both knockout last year but a Langley side that swept all before them en route to winning the Vase last year. With Langley in the Cup this year though, these two have taken advantage in style.
For Dauntsey’s it is a second year in a row at Allianz Park for a Vase semi final, last time was not a great experience for them given Langley’s performance, but the sheer experience of having been there could be beneficial. Their progress has been impressive, up against some good sides such as Plymouth College and The Oratory, they have come through sharply.
So too, though, have Hayes. Hayes are a remarkable story, just a couple of years ago few outside of their local area would have heard of them. Now though they are a fast rising force, barely losing any games in the last couple of years, and just this week with two players named in the England Counties U18 squad.
They have had a tough route through in the Vase, not least in the quarter finals against the reigning Bowl champions, St George’s Weybridge, but they have answered every question asked of them, winning that one 16-15 to add to victories over other big contenders such as Dartford Grammar and Sutton Valence.
Choosing between the two is a real challenge, which ought to mean that we are set up for a truly fantastic game of rugby on Saturday early afternoon.
You can watch the U18 games below:
U15 Schools Vase Semi Finals:
Arden Academy v Samuel Whitbread – Sunday, 10.30am, Allianz Park
Arden Academy (Midlands A)
Quarter Final: 22-13 at Ullswater
Last 16: 19-7 v Bishop of Hereford
Round 4: 46-0 v Welland Park
Round 3: 36-0 v Bablake
Round 2: 50-0 at Fairfax
Round 1: 50-0 at Kenilworth
Samuel Whitbread (Midlands B)
Quarter Final: 62-10 v King’s Grantham
Last 16: 12-0 v Saffron Walden
Round 4: 34-5 at St Columba’s College
Round 3: 31-7 at St George’s, Harpenden
Round 2: 50-0 at Hitchin
Round 1: 50-0 v Knights Templar
The U15 Schools Vase semi finals start with Arden Academy v Samuel Whitbread at 10.30am on Sunday. For Samuel Whitbread it will be an interesting one, a day after their U18s face Worksop College in the U18 version of the same tournament at the same stadium. Will they be impacted by the result of that 1st XV game?
Judging by their results so far, nothing should phase them. In six games they have conceded just 22 games. They only time they have really been truly tested was in the last 16 where they beat Saffron Walden 12-0. However they backed that up with a stunning 62-10 quarter final victory. This is a serious side.
So too are Arden Academy though, they strolled through the first four rounds of their Midlands A section conceding zero points and scoring over 180 of their own. The last 16 and quarter final brought slightly stiffer tests though they still came through them well, 19-7 and 22-13.
It feels like it should be a spectacular game, at the moment Samuel Whitbread are carrying a lot of momentum with two sides both in these semi finals, but come kick off on Sunday morning, that will count for little.
Dartford Grammar v Cardinal Newman, Sunday, 12.15pm, Allianz Park
Dartford Grammar (London & South East B)
Quarter Final: 19-14 at Forest School
Last 16: 26-12 v Robert Clack
Round 4: 41-22 v UCS
Round 3: 32-10 v Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar
Round 2: 48-5 v Hurstmere
Round 1: 50-0 at Beth’s Grammar
Cardinal Newman (London & South East A)
Quarter Final: 14-10 v Penryn College
Last 16: 12-7 v St Clement Danes
Round 4: 29-24 at Reigate Grammar
Round 3: 12-5 v Warden Park
Round 2: 50-0 v Shoreham Academy
Round 1: 50-0 v Blatchington Mill
The other semi final kicks off at 12.15pm and features two sides that have been playing excellent rugby, Dartford Grammar and Cardinal Newman. Both sides have really had to scrap hard to reach these semi finals, Cardinal Newman breezed through the opening two rounds before a tough 12-5 win over Warden Park.
Since then they have really had to work for each victory, winning a thriller at Reigate Grammar in round 4, 29-24, before a tight 12-7 victory over St Clement Danes in the Last 16 and a 14-10 victory in the quarter finals over last year’s Bowl semi finalists, Penryn College.
Those tight games should prepare them for the high pressure stage that is Allianz Park and the semi finals though, tight games are the closest you get to the pressure that will be felt on Sunday.
Dartford Grammar have been made to work too though, like Cardinal Newman they came through the first two simply enough but have had to work since. Chislehurst & Sidcup upped the ante a bit in Round 3, with Dartford winning 32-10, before tries galore in a 41-22 game against UCS. Then came the big test, 26-12 v Robert Clack in the last 16 and a really tough 19-14 victory away at Forest School in the quarter finals.
Passing those big tests is massive for both sides, who will surely take huge confidence from overcoming those obstacles, setting up for a superb game on Sunday.
You can watch the U15 games here: