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RGS High Wycombe edge out Hampton in U18 NatWest Schools Cup

14 February 2014

  • RGS High Wycombe's win against Hampton sees them through to semi
  • RGS remain on track for their first Natwest Schools Cup final
Action from RGS High Wycombe's tie against Hamptson School

Photo: Kate Wood

RGS High Wycombe’s quest to reach the U18 NatWest Schools Cup Final for the first time since 1999 was kept on the right tracks on Wednesday after they defeated Hampton School 6-0 at Maidenhead RFC in the quarter-final.

Despite the 3G pitch at Maidenhead providing an escape from the mud, the conditions thwarted any pre-match optimism of fast-flowing rugby.

Continuity was at a premium, but with the wind behind them, RGS were able to play in the right areas more than Hampton in the first half.

A penalty within a minute of the match starting gave RGS a 3-0 lead through Ben Wood's boot.

Hampton struggled to find their feet in the first half. Ill-discipline and handling errors prevented them from applying pressure on RGS through their high-tempo style.

When it comes to arm wrestles, not many sides have been able to live with RGS this season. Just as well that Hampton have such a resolute defence, which looked to have cracked half way through the first half, but held firm and RGS had to settle for another penalty from Wood (6-0).

With the wind behind them in the second half, 6-0 wouldn't have been a bad return for Hampton. But with around ten minutes remaining in the half conditions deteriorated, making their second half task a little more problematic.

Passing became almost impossible and Hampton kicks were often pushed too far by the wind, missing the targeted corners.

RGS soaked up a lot of the Hampton pressure, and even looked as though they might break clear through Ben Wood who released Ross Neal, only for the centre to be hauled down.

A break from Hampton centre Roman Malin-Hiscock looked to have finally unlocked the RGS defence, but the offload was dropped and danger was averted by RGS. If one passage of play summed up Hampton's afternoon it was that.

When the final whistle went, the RGS players embraced as they knew they had just come through a serious challenge.

RGS High Wycombe's head of rugby Simon Copeland said:"I thought the forwards were outstanding, going through a huge amount of work, and the back line defence was equally impressive.

"It's a shame that conditions didn't allow the game to flow but that was always going to be the case in the terrible weather. Hampton are an outstanding side as they have proved time and time again this season, with a terrific coaching set-up and some talented lads, but thankfully we did just enough to get through on this occasion."

Hampton's Head of Rugby Zoran Higgins added: "I was actually pleased after the first half. We wanted to play against the conditions first, and didn't want to be defending a lead with the forecast saying that the conditions were going to worsen.

"It's all about the details though and the handling and discipline let us down. We just tried to play too much, but fair play to RGS and their coaching staff, they dealt with the conditions better than we did." 

Teams

Hampton

1. Sam Curran 2. Alex Griffith-Jones 3. Demitri Moros 4. Dan Hewitt 5. Ben Gasrtka 6. Paul Van der Merwe 7. Matt Lundberg (vc) 8. George Fulton 9. Akira Takenaka (captain) 10. George Tunnacliffe 11. Alfie Battle 12. Roman Malin-Hiscock 13. Harry Hall 14. Dan Barley 15. Rory Chatterton

Replacements: 16. Cameron Sutherland 17. Joe Burdis 18. Jacob Goss 19. Zack Donohoe 20. Zack Santos 21. Will Attfield 22. Josh Amadi

RGS High Wycombe

1. Oli Butler 2. Andrew Burnett 3. Richard Gavin 4. Will Taal 5. Freddie Owen 6. Rahat Choudhury 7. Alex Murphy 8. Jack Statham 9. Owen Bennett 10. Ben Wood 11. Jordan Coupland 12.Ross Neal (captain) 13. Jake Banton 14. Louis Pow 15. Max Roddick

Replacements: Josh Avis, Tom Murphy, Joey Speed, Paddy Harlow, Tom Pearce, Mike Hemmings, Sam Spargo