As this month long English Schools Rugby season draws to a close over the next two days, Reed’s v Felsted will be the focus of our Live Stream on Friday evening.
Kicking off at 5pm, the game will be one of the last of Friday’s fixtures to get underway and it should provide the perfect crescendo to a busy day of school rugby as these two fantastic sides go head to head in what will be the last game of schoolboy rugby ever for the majority of players on either side.
Both should be reasonably close to full strength, a rare event given the U18 Academy clashes over the last month, and will each bring huge passion, emotion, and enjoyment to the field, without doubt.
It is Felsted’s first game of the season, in fact, it is their first game since December 2019. A startling statistic that really brings home the effects of the Covid pandemic on school sport. Under the guidance of former Wasps prop Andrew Le Chevalier though, you can be certain that they will be well prepared and looking to play a brand of exciting, fast, and attacking rugby – a former prop he may be, but there is a reason that he plays such a key role within the Lambs Rugby organisation and their ‘fast and free’ style of play!
Reed’s, on the other hand have had a bit of rugby in this mini-season, facing Harlequins ACE side Gordon’s on a couple of occasions. ACE opposition always make for tough games, but Reed’s acquitted themselves well and those games should stand them in good stead for Friday evening. Like Felsted, we can expect a side full of attacking verve and ambition – Head of Rugby Tony Talbot is another of the coaching staff from the Lambs, like Le Chevalier a seasoned Lambs tourist, and we can expect to see plenty of that philosophy seeping through to his side.
The Lambs, by the way, have an Old Boys side turning out tomorrow evening at Maidenhead, among them former Felsted player George Hitchcock.
There might be familiarity on the touchlines, but there will be little on the field. These two are rare opponents in the long form of the game, certainly this side of the millennium this will be their first fifteen-a-side meeting. They have some history on the 7s field though, with Felsted regular competitors at the Reed’s 7s tournament, winning in 2016.
The reality is that, familiar or not, this game is all about celebration. Celebration at being back playing, at the school careers (on and off the field) of those involved, of the efforts that every player has put into the shirt over the years. It is a chance for those U6th players to go out one last time and give everything alongside their mates one final time, to represent the shirt, the school, and the rugby history that it encapsulates. It is also a chance for those L6th players involved to experience 1st XV rugby, it is different to other school rugby and comes with an emotion and pressure that is on a fresh level, Friday night’s experience will be huge as they look ahead to the 2021/22 season.
Most important of all, though, it is about the joy that the game can bring. After so long without it this is a chance for these players to go out and enjoy the game they love, expect both sides to try things with the ball in hand, and expect both to be ruthlessly physical too – across every game this season, the desire in the tackle has been massive. After a year where touch was the only option on offer, boys have clearly been relishing the chance to impose themselves physically!
These are two proud sporting schools, with fantastic recent rugby pedigree, the likes of Theo Vukasinovic, Max Malins, and Ehren Painter among those strutting their stuff in the Gallagher Premiership as old boys of these schools. For those wearing the shirts on Friday, this is their chance to add to that legacy.
Reed’s v Felsted – Live Stream, Friday 28th May, 5pm Kick Off (streaming from 4.45pm)
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