- Hayter backing Warwick for another NatWest Schools Cup triumph
- Wasps centre helped U18 school side to victory in 2007
Photo: Richard Lane Photography
London Wasps centre Charlie Hayter is hoping for another chance to see his old school Warwick run out at Twickenham on NatWest Schools Cup finals day this season, having missed out on seeing their under 15s win the cup last season, making them the first Warwick School side to win the trophy since he captained the U18 side to a memorable win in 2007.
Hayter played a man-of-the-match role in a thrilling 24-23 win against a Barnard Castle School side captained by Northampton Saints back row Calum Clark that year, arguably the best final there’s been.
It was an occasion that gave him a hunger to play professionally, and is certainly something he still remembers both vividly and fondly: “It was a great day, we went into the game as underdogs,” said Hayter.
“Nobody expected us to do anything outside of everyone within the team. We had been in quarter-finals before, but it was our first final.
“I guess it was one of those games where everything went right for us; we won the toss for the home changing room, won the toss for the kick-off, everything went right on the pitch as well.
“It was my first time playing at Twickenham, as I think it was for most of the boys bar playing a bit of touch at half-time during an international, so it definitely inspired me to want to taste it again.”
The Nottingham University Geography graduate has had to work hard to fight his way up through the leagues into the Premiership environment at London Wasps. Spells at Stourbridge, London Scottish, Nottingham and Moseley eventually lead to a brief spell at Worcester Warriors before London Wasps snapped him up last season.
But he is in no doubt as to the value the Schools Cup success added to his career, and his old school.
He added: “I think playing in the Cup helps you to discover yourself as a player. It’s as close as you can get at schools level to tasting what professionals go through as everything is on the line each time you play, you have no second chances.
“It was such a great experience playing with mates at Twickenham who you’d been playing with for seven years.
“I definitely think the win helped put the school on the map a little bit. It gave people a confidence in the school, and I think people started to look at it for its rugby.
“That and the work Mark Nasey (Director of Rugby) has done there in bringing a real professional approach to rugby at the school with the backing of the headmaster.”
It’s hasn’t been all about the rugby though. The enduring friendships forged through tough Cup matches have been just as special for the hard-running centre.
“I still see quite a few of my mates from my schooldays. We’ve all stayed in touch and meet for a beer every so often, and it does still come up in conversation.
“To see a Warwick side in the final again this year would be brilliant, it would definitely bring a lot of old boys down to watch.
“I know quite a few who went last year. I wanted to go myself but I couldn’t as I was playing. I did manage to catch some of it on the live stream.”