- Second weekend of semi-final action with the U15 Cup and Vase
- All matches streamed LIVE on rfu.com
Photo: RFU Archive
Emanuel School are billing their semi-final of the Daily Mail RBS Schools U15 Vase against Felsted from Essex on Sunday (March 10) as “The Dream Lives On”.
The Emanuel U15s from the school in Battersea Rise, south London, won their national quarter-final against Sherborne School with a performance full of fight, commitment and pride to win 17-5 with all the scores in the second half.
The team captained by Joel Stanley now stands one win away from a final at Twickenham Stadium, having begun their season in September with an inspiring trip to Oxford that included a visit to the famous rugby ground at Iffley Road, and taking in the Aviva Premiership match between London Welsh and Leicester Tigers.
The squad has forged a fine team spirit, having been through four years together, and many of the boys play club rugby for Harlequins, Rosslyn Park, Richmond, Wimbledon and Ironsides, with two county representatives for Middlesex and one for Surrey.
Emanuel’s opponents in Sunday’s (March 10) semi-final at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry are Felsted School from Essex who have made it past Newport Grammar, Hockerill College, Robert Clack, Beths Grammar, Wimbledon College and Katharine Lady Berkeley's School to reach this stage.
Andrew le Chevalier, who is in his third year at director of rugby at Felsted, invited the U18s’ captain Charlie Kingham to help the 15s in their final training sessions before the semi-final.
“Charlie has a very good rapport with the team and I took him out there as both a different voice and a role model to them,” said Le Chevalier, a former Wasps, Swansea and Grenoble prop who was also player-coach at Henley, Ealing and Barking.
“Charlie has been there, done that now in terms of getting to a final and he was able to help the boys with the defensive system we have been bringing in recently.”
Photo: RFU Archive
Warwick U18 back at Broadstreet to support younger generation
From the Midlands, Warwick School’s Under 18 players will be back at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry on Saturday, March 9 but this time it will be as spectators to support the school’s Under 15 team as they attempt to reach the final of the Daily Mail RBS Schools Cup.
Last Saturday Warwick were beaten 13-10 by Northampton School for Boys in the Under 18 semi-final, this weekend the Under 15s will have the chance to make up for that disappointment when they take on Bromsgrove School in another all-Midlands encounter (11am).
“The Under 15s had a training session last Saturday morning but then they came over to Broadstreet on the supporters’ coaches,” said Warwick coach, Tom Pierce.
“I was there in the stands last week and it was very disappointing to go out having gone into a ten-point lead. It was a real shame but we have another chance to get to Twickenham this week.”
Warwick were beaten by Bromsgrove in a regular fixture earlier in the season but Pierce, a former first team flanker at North Walsham, believes his side have improved significantly since then.
nbsp;“As a squad we are completely unrecognisable from when we played them earlier in the season. One of the key things is the work ethic and our eagerness to learn and improve.
Meanwhile Tony Windo, Bromsgrove’s director of rugby, will tell his players to forget their win over Warwick earlier in the season.
“That event has gone, we have to focus on this match,” said the former Gloucester and Worcester Warriors prop.
“It’s an old cliché, I know, but it’s still very valid. This is probably the biggest match that the boys have ever played in so the focus has to be on this weekend rather than what happened earlier in the season.”
Strength in teamwork – QEGS Director of Sport, Trevor Barker
Amongst the other semi-finalists are Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Wakefield (QEGS) whose appearance in the later stages is taken almost as the norm, despite never having registered an outright win in the competition.
Photo: RFU Archive
Which is why Saturday’s semi-final of the Daily Mail RBS Under 15 Cup at Broadstreet RFC, Coventry (1pm) between QEGS and Bishop Heber High School from Malpas in Cheshire is something of a David v Goliath encounter. QEGS are well-established, with four appearance in the finals since 1995/6, Bishop Heber are unknowns at the Semi-final stage.
There is also a distinction between the way the two teams have approached their meeting. QEGS have trained every day, polishing their skills in the hope of bringing them to a fine edge for Broadstreet. They have also had a session with former Great Britain RL international Paul Broadbent, whose career in the professional game spanned 17 years, during which he played over 450 first grade games for teams including Sheffield Eagles, Halifax, Hull and Wakefield.
“Paul’s presentation was very enjoyable and I’m sure it will have both entertained the lads and also helped in their build-up to the game,” says QEGS Director of Sport, Trevor Barker. “We have no injury problems and I’m really pleased with the way our training has gone.
“This has been a very successful year group – they were unbeaten from being Under 9s to Under 13s – and while you can never predict what happens in a semi-final, if we play at our best, it will take a good team to beat us. Last year we won the Yorkshire Under 14s Cup and as Under 13s the team reached the quarter-finals of the Rosslyn Park Sevens, so there are some very talented players in the squad, but without doubt our strength is in our teamwork.
Daily Mail RBS Schools U15 cup competitions semi-finals at Broadstreet RFC, broadcast LIVE on RFU.com
U15 Cup, Saturday March 9:
Warwick School v Bromsgrove School, 11am
QEGS Wakefield v Bishop Heber HS, 1pm
U15 Vase, Sunday March 10:
Emanuel School v Felsted School, 11am
Royal Latin School v Kirkham GS, 1pm
Ticket prices: £3 Adults, £1 Juniors.
Daily Mail RBS Finals Day, Twickenham, Saturday, March 23. Live on RFU.com
U15 Vase – 11am
U15 Cup – 12.30pm
U18 Vase – 2pm
U18 Cup – 3.40pm