Following last weekend’s U14 and U15 competitions, the Taylors’ Ten at Merchant Taylors’ School returns on Saturday morning with the U16 and U17 competitions and once again they will be live streamed here at NextGenXV.
Last week certainly highlighted what we have all been missing this season with the lack of rugby and was a welcome return to some form of competition, this weekend’s U16 and U17 competitions are set to raise the levels even higher as players with more rugby experience are added to the fray.
As we saw last week the competition provided plenty of interest for viewers from around the world of school rugby, despite it being an internal tournament, with thousands of viewers tuning in for the live stream as excitement builds towards a return to competitive rugby next term.
There were some exceptional moments and incredibly tense games as you will see in the highlights below, with the prospect of the elusive ‘9 point try’ providing great entertainment.
As last week, Saturday’s rugby will take inspiration from the RFU’s Ready4Rugby adapted laws but with further variations, among them 2 bonus points for a kick to score and 2 for a try that starts 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.
In last week’s knockouts it was Raphael and Cove-Smith that took the spoils, Raphael beating Cove-Smith 15-0 in the U14 Final with Cove-Smith beating Raphael 15-7 in the U15 Final. Cove-Smith are in the driving seat to add another title in the U16 competition having won all three of their games during the November group stages, meanwhile in the U17 tournament it is Baker that are looking like the favourites having claimed 3 from 3 in November there.
Group Stage Results:
Week 1: Cove-Smith 9-0 Raphael, Baker 24-12 Fuller
Week 2: Cove-Smith 17-5 Baker, Raphael 0-15 Fuller
Week 3: Cove-Smith 19-5 Fuller, Raphael 0-5 Baker
Week 1: Cove-Smith 15-5 Raphael, Baker 24-7 Fuller
Week 2: Cove-Smith 10-12 Baker, Raphael 0-14 Fuller
Week 3: CoveSmith 0-10 Fuller, Raphael 12-17 Baker
As ever, though, knock-out rugby is a different beat an both of those unbeaten sides will face stern early tests, both face Raphael in semi finals in their respective age-groups to start the day off.
Live Stream Schedule:
10.00 Cove-Smith v Raphael (U16 Semi Final)
10.20 Baker v Raphael (U17 Semi Final)
10.40 3rd Place Play Off (U16)
11.00 3rd Place Play Off (U17)
11.20 U16 Final
11.40 U17 Final
Also at 10.00 on Pitch 2 will be Baker v Fuller in the other U16 semi final followed by Fuller v Cove-Smith in the other U17 semi.