- Warwick set for semi-finals double
- NSB ready for first Under 18 Cup semi
Warwick School are no strangers to success in the Daily Mail RBS Schools Cup having won the Under 18 competition in 2007 but Mark Nasey, their director of rugby, believes that having both the senior and Under 15 sides through to this season’s semi-finals is a greater achievement.
The Under-18s face Northampton School for Boys in their semi-final at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry on Saturday March 2 (1pm) with the Under-15s taking on Bromsgrove School in another all-Midlands clash at Broadstreet a week later (11am).
“It’s a very busy period for us and we have also got our annual Warwick Sevens this Sunday,” said Nasey.
“But you can’t complain when you are having success. We’ve won the Under 18 Cup before but to have both age groups through to the semi-final is probably our best achievement.
“Earlier in the season you would not have said that either of them were a stand-out age group but they have continued to work hard, to develop and to progress and to have them both playing in the semi-finals is pretty impressive.”
With only a short trip to make to Broadstreet, Nasey is expecting Warwick to be roared on by a bumper crowd as they were six years ago when they beat St Benedict’s from Ealing at Castlecroft in Wolverhampton.
“I would expect our semi-final to have the bigger crowd than the first game between Dulwich College and Hampton School as we are so close to Broadstreet and it’s also not far from Northampton,” Nasey said.
Warwick have moved to within one game of another appearance in a Twickenham final despite having a side that has no stand-out individual players.
“We have no-one in the England Under 16 or Under 18 squads this season. We have a good solid side with some good lower sixth players who have been the glue in the team,” Nasey said.
NSB, who will be making their first appearance in an Under-18 Cup final, have a potential star of the future on display in centre Rotimi Segun who has just been named in the England Under 16 squad for the internationals against Italy Under 17s and Wales Under 16s in April.
Flanker Jacob Conner also played for England Under 16s last season and fly-half Connor Bullivant represented England South in last year’s Wellington International Festival.
But Mark Lee, NSB’s coach, insists that Warwick will still go into the semi-final as favourites.
“I want to keep us under the radar, we prefer being underdogs,” he said. “We will treat Warwick with the utmost respect. They are usually strong at every age group and we will treat them with the utmost respect.”
NSB have proved themselves to be tenacious opponents this season, winning tough away games at Oakham School and King’s Worcester, who were beaten semi-finalists last season. A hard-fought 3-0 win over King’s Macclesfield took NSB to Broadstreet.
“We are taking two coach loads of supporters with us and I’m sure that there will be other supporters who travel independently,” Lee said.
“The slight complication is that two of our teams have got matches against a touring team from Essex but they are going for a morning kick off which should give them enough time to get over to Broadstreet to support us.”
The most difficult task that Lee and Nasey will face in the build-up to the semi-final, is keep their players focused on events on Saturday rather than Finals Day at Twickenham on March 23.
“There’s an obvious sense of excitement at the moment and it’s case of keeping a lid on it,” Nasey said.
“But the great thing about this competition is that it allows you to have a dream and that is one of the important things in life.”