Trinity made it back to back titles at the Seaford 10s on Sunday, adding to their 2022 title with an epic run to the title here in 2023 despite missing some of the most storied names of the season.
The likes of Josh Bellamy, Conor Byrne, Lucas Friday, and Will Peart-Smith were all absent, and yet Trinity were able to lean on the depth, quality, and defensive strength that has been the hallmark of a season that has seen them claim the NextGenXV Schools Rugby Table top spot, go through the regular season unbeaten, reach the St Joseph’s Festival final at the first time of asking, and mount an impressive defence of their Schools Cup title, which is currently at the semi final stage.
The likes of Sam Medcraft and Finlay Kennedy were among those that stepped up with outstanding performances, but none more so than the ultimate hybrid man Rom Matebalavu, the Harlequins U18 who is as comfortable on the wing as he is at number 8. Matebalavu was outstanding through as Trinity topped their group before beating Epsom College and Ipswich in back to back knockout games as they claimed the title and Matebalavu secured the player of the tournament gong, won by Bellamy last year.
Ipswich, on their tournament debut, did brilliantly to reach the final, topping their group before holding back the outstanding hosts Seaford College in the semi finals, 7-5. Seaford had really had to work to get there, topping their group on points difference from Felsted after the two sides had drawn 0-0.
Epsom College fell by the same margin to Trinity in their semi final, 7-5, Trinity’s toughest challenge of the day, indeed through the group stage Epsom College had collected many of the plaudits.
Ipswich’s route the final had necessitated a victory over Christ College in the groups, last year’s finalists. They achieved that, but once in the Plate Christ College were in inspired form, winning 17-7 v Felsted in their semi final ahead of a 19-12 victory over Marlborough College in the final to lift the Plate. It was fitting too that the exceptional Gethin O’Callaghan claimed try of the tournament for them, a genuinely outstanding centre.
RGS High Wycombe claimed the Vase, having finished third in Pool 3. They beat Bishop Wordsworth’s 12-5 in the semi final before a tight 7-5 effort over Solihull in the final. He Bowl, meanwhile, became a round-robin after a late drop out.
Overall it was just a brilliant day, showcasing the very best of schools rugby on and off the field, with friendships made, competitive rugby played, and so much high-skill and ambition on show.
Trinity come away with the major silverware, and rightly so after a might day’s play, but all sixteen sides deserve plenty of plaudits for their play and their efforts, and Seaford College deserve enormous credit for creating an event that is now one of the key staging posts on the schools rugby calendar.
Between now and the end of term, how many more of those major titles might Trinity be in contention for. On evidence so far, they are going to be more than a match for most.
Cup – Trinity
Final: Trinity 21-7 Ipswich
Semi Final: Trinity 7-5 Epsom College, Ipswich 7-5 Seaford College
Plate – Christ College
Final: Christ College 19-12 Marlborough College
Semi Final: Christ College 17-7 Felsted, Marlborough College 24-14 Gordon’s
Vase – RGS High Wycombe
Final: RGS High Wycombe 7-5 Solihull
Semi Final: RGS High Wycombe 12-5 Bishop Wordsworth’s, Solihull 29-17 St Benedict’s
Bowl – Round Robin
Player of the Tournament: Roma Matebalavu (Trinity)
Try of the Tournament: Gethin O’Callaghan (Christ College)
Final Group Standings
|4||Cardiff & Vale College||0||0||3||0|
|3||RGS High Wycombe||1||0||2||3|
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