Your Schools Rugby 2019/20 Dream Team!

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Coach Logic

After two days of voting following an extensive process of submissions and regional selection, you have voted for your Schools Rugby 2019/20 Dream Team.


A staggering number of you voted, 23,205 in total, and yet with just minutes left in the process the votes were still incredibly tight in some areas. Millfield’s Will Joseph missed out on a place in the midfield by 3%, Murray Redpath of Sedbergh missed out on the scrum half berth but just nine votes, Cranleigh’s Ollie Corbett was only 2% away from a starting place in the second row, while in the back row both Wellington College’s Lucas Brooke and Kirkham Grammar School’s Ollie Leatherbarrow were only 1% each away from breaking into the starting XV.


Closest of all though was hooker. Sedbergh’s Lawrence Mason was the leader overnight but as dawn broke Whitgift’s Joe Vajner caught and then passed him, only for Mason to surge back. In the end, after 2,329 votes cast in the position, incredibly the two finished absolutely level with 918 votes.


That left us with the unenviable task of having to making the casting vote between the pair. On the one hand the superb Mason, scorer of 8 tries in 11 games and a truly outstanding support player in particular, on the other hand Vajner, Whitgift skipper, U18 international, and a player of unbelievable commitment.


In the end we just went the way of Vajner, leadership just giving him the edge plus the feeling that Mason high pace game would be an absolute nightmare for opposition from this Dream Team bench. Vajner beasting you for 50 minutes before Mason comes on and tears you apart. Some combination!


Looking at the side as a whole, the North and South East regions certainly dominated, thirteen players in the starting fifteen came from those two regional sides, with just one each from the South West and Midlands in the starting team, Tom Carr-Smith of Sherborne at scrum half and Emeka Ilione of Rugby in the second row.


Overall the side is a wonderful reflection of the sheer quality that we have seen across the schools rugby world this season, not just through the quality of this side but the quality of those than missed out, players such as Millfield’s Wales U20 international Dan John and his England U18 schoolmate Ewan Richards, Abingdon maverick Charlie Atkinson, his namesake Seb of Bromsgrove in the midfield, or any one of a staggering number of back rowers. Not just those that missed out in this voting stage, but those that even missed out on our regional sides that are of international quality, stunning players such as Warwick pair Harry Spencer and Jack Forsythe.


It has been a joyous season to observe, enjoy, and talk about from our point of view, and at the end of it all you have selected a side that you would certainly have no problem with paying to see – indeed within the year you will be paying to see a number of these schools rugby stars in action in the pro ranks!


Schools Rugby 2019/20 Dream Team:


15 Oliver Melville (Sedbergh), 14 Cassius Cleaves (Wellington College), 13 Oscar Beard (Cranleigh), 12 Tom Lanni (Sedbergh), 11 Kitan Ojo (Epsom College), 10 Jamie Benson (Hampton), 9 Tom Carr-Smith (Sherborne), 1 Phil Brantingham (RGS Newcastle), 2 Joe Vajner (Whitgift), 3 Fin Baxter (Wellington College), 4 Emeka Ilione (Rugby), 5 Carwyn Tuilupotu (Sedbergh), 6 Makeen Alikhan (Epsom College), 7 Guy Pepper (Barnard Castle), 8 Olly Tomalin (St Peter’s, York).

Replacements: 16 Lawrence Mason (Sedbergh), 17 Theo Bevacqua (Eastbourne College), 18 Mark Dormer (RGS Newcastle), 19 Ollie Corbett (Cranleigh), 20 Lucas Brooke (Wellington College), 21 Murray Redpath (Sedbergh), 22 Fin Smith (Warwick), 23 Will Joseph (Millfield).

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