- Sackey’s tries have helped Emauel through to last four
- Felsted Under 15s aiming to join their 18s at Twickenham
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.
A tour of Oxford’s colleges, the Bodleian Library and other sights communicated messages about hard work and its rewards, and after just one win from their first four matches the team went 15 unbeaten.
Top try scorer is Ben Sackey with 17 in the Vase including two against Sherborne while Sol Bailey-Smith is Emanuel’s top scorer in the Vase with 49 points.
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.
Head coach Dougal Hand has a background with England Colleges, Northern Colleges and Sussex U18s.
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.
As a one-term rugby school the Felsted U15s comprising boys from Years 9 and 10 have shown great spirit to train on in the New Year.
Now Felsted are looking for a notable Daily Mail RBS Schools double at Twickenham Stadium this season, as their U18s won through to the final of their Vase competition with a 31-27 win over St.Ambrose College at Broadstreet RFC last Sunday (March 3).
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.”
The 15s have been coached during the season by Richard Feldman and Francis Barrett – and Feldman has been nurturing rugby players at the school for more than 30 years.
“We have been renowned for cricket and hockey,” said Le Chevalier, “and rugby has come to join them.
“Getting to one Twickenham final is a first for Felsted and a dream come true for me, and what a bonus it would be if we could make it a double.”
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.