This Saturday the latest games from the Taylors’ Tens at Merchant Taylors’ School in Northwood will be live streamed here at NextGenXV.
With a return to rugby just around the corner, Merchant Taylors’ have had an in-school tournament running through November and over the course of the next two weekends the knockout games will take place.
Since parents and friends are still unable to populate the touchlines, our cameras will bring the action right to your living rooms as we bring you the U17, U16, U15, and U14 semi finals, play-offs, and finals over the next two Saturdays, beginning with the U14 and U15 games this Saturday and the U16 and U17 games on Saturday 12th December.
Despite it being an internal competition it should provide plenty of interest for viewers from around the world of school rugby as the excitement builds towards a return to competitive contact rugby next term.
The tournament takes inspiration from the RFU’s Ready4Rugby adapted rules, but with some further variations including 2 bonus points for a kick to score and for a try that started in your own half.
Each age-group has four teams, which are aligned through the age-groups, and the team names take their inspiration from the 2021 British and Irish Lions tour, with each team named after Old Merchant Taylors’ who represented the Lions, and in keeping with the Lions theme each player was sent a selection letter ahead of the beginning of the tournament. The four Old Merchant Taylors’ from whom the teams take their names are:
Ronald Cove-Smith: A 4 Test Lion in 1924, former England Captain and Grand Slam winner with 29 caps, and a Cambridge Blue who was entered into the World Rugby Museum Hall of Fame in 2001.
John Raphael: Captain of the Lions in 1910, including Argentina’s first ever Test match, and an England international.
Doug Baker: A 4 cap Lion in 1955 with 4 England caps and 8 appearances for the Barbarians, along with an Oxford Blue.
Edward Newman Fuller: Part of the Lions squad led by Raphael in 1910 despite never winning an England cap, gained a Cambridge Blue and also a stunning cricketer, playing five years of school 1st XI cricket.
Each year group is divided into one of these four teams, with tables produced for each year and also a combined set of standings across the age-grades. As it stands in the combined table Cove-Smith lead the way on 33 points with ten wins from 12 ahead of Baker on 27 points, whose use of the bonus points keeps them in touch despite have won half as many games. They lie two points ahead of Fuller, with Raphael chasing from a further six points behind.
Saturday’s games will be the U14 and U15 Semi Finals, 3rd Place Play-Offs, and Finals. Cove-Smith lead the way in both age-groups and will play Baker at both ages. Raphael and Fuller will meet in the other two semi finals, though at U14 level Fuller are the 2nd place side taking on Raphael in 3rd and vice versa at U15 level.
In the group fixtures at U15 level Cove-Smith beat Baker 16-5 while Raphael enjoyed a 22-9 victory over Fuller, meanwhile in the U14 games things were pretty similar, a 12-5 win for Cove-Smith and a 20-12 victory for Raphael. As we all know though, when knockout rugby begins the tension, drama, and excitement increase and anything can happen. Throw into the mix law variations that each group of players is getting more and more familiar with, and we should have some fantastically open and competitive games on our hands.
With the likes of Wasps’ Will Porter, the USA’s Will Magie, and double Cambridge blue Oli Smart as recent leavers, this should be a fantastic chance to see some of the next exciting youngsters at Merchant Taylors’, and with players involved as Wasps, Saracens, and London Irish, there are plenty to be excited about!
10.00 Cove-Smith v Baker (U14 Semi Final)
10.20 Cove Smith v Baker (U15 Semi Final)
10.40 3rd Place Play Off (U14)
11.00 3rd Place Play Off (U15)
11.20 Final (U14)
11.40 Final (U15)