- Whitgift expecting a strong challenge from RGS High Wycombe
- Attentions switch from England duty to schools action
Photo: Getty Images
Whitgift School will give their three England Under-18 internationals a night off from training but otherwise the trio are treated just the same as the rest of the squad aiming for success in this weekend’s semi finals of the Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 18 Cup.
Anticipation is rising at 16 schools around England in the knowledge that their rugby teams in the semi finals of the four Daily Mail RBS Schools Cup competitions are each just one win from a dream date at Twickenham Stadium.
The London & South East region is well represented with London Wasps and England international Danny Cipriani’s old school Whitgift from Croydon, Surrey facing RGS High Wycombe in the last four of the Under 18 Cup.
And in the Under-18 Vase, there is an Essex v Norfolk clash with Coopers' Company and Coborn taking on Norwich School.
Whitgift wing Marland Yarde scored five tries in the 58-7 quarter-final defeat of Bishop's Stortford High School, and followed that with two tries for England Under 18 in their 33-16 victory over France at Newbury last Sunday (February 21).
Yarde was joined in England U18 colours by school team-mates George Merrick and Elliot Daly, and Whitgift coach Chris Wilkins has given them a rest from this evening’s training (Monday).
Wilkins was part of a Whitgift group who cheered Yarde, Merrick and Daly on in the England match at Newbury. Fellow coach Adrian Norris, strength and conditioning coach Ross Munro and headmaster Dr Christopher Barnett were joined in the crowd by a number of the boys’ fellow students.
"It was great to support them, and Marland’s been putting the ball over the line for us all season but the main thing for us is to recognise the players who have been winning good and quick ball to enable him to do it," said Wilkins.
"There are plenty of players in our squad who do not have the same representative honours but who are just as important to Whitgift.
"We want to improve in every match. We have targets in winning quick ball, tackling, defence and converting try-scoring opportunities and if we hit those targets we feel the results will take care of themselves."
It has worked well so far this season for Whitgift - who won the U15 Cup in 1999 and 2003, the latter with Cipriani in the side - with 22 wins out of 24 including a tour to New Zealand.
In the U15 competitions, Hampton School will need to get past Wellington College to reach Twickenham in the U15 Cup, while Brighton College will meet Hertfordshire’s St Columba’s College in the last four of the U15 Vase.
All the semi-final matches are played on neutral ground at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry over the weekends of February 27/28 (Under 18s) and March 6/7 (Under 15s).
Finals day in the four Daily Mail RBS Schools Cup competitions is at Twickenham Stadium on March 31, 2010.
v St Columba's College (1pm).