- RGS High Wycombe take on current holders Dulwich College in the U18 Cup
- Exeter College and QEH Bristol in U18 Vase semi-finals
Photo: RFU Archive
Three schools will be carrying the hopes of the South West this weekend as the NatWest Schools Cup Competition reaches the semi-final stage.
On Saturday, in the second of the U18 Cup semi-finals, RGS High Wycombe will take on Cup holders Dulwich College.
Dulwich have won the competition for the last two seasons, while RGS High Wycombe will feature Upper Sixth players who won the competition when they were U15s. Head of Rugby at RGS, Simon Copeland, is hoping they’ll be able to overcome recent injury problems to produce a good performance on the day.
“We are very excited about being in the latter stages of the NatWest Schools Cup once again” he said. “We know that we will face a seriously strong challenge from Dulwich College, but we would expect nothing less at this stage of the tournament.
“Playing at Allianz Park will make it a great occasion for all spectators, and we hope to be bringing a decent supporter base of our own to cheer on our lads.
“We have a few injury concerns at the moment, but we will cope with any losses as we have done all season.”
In the semi-finals of the U18 Vase on Sunday, Exeter College and QEH Bristol will represent the South West. Exeter College will meet Wirral Grammar Schools for Boys and although the two sides have not met before in the competition, neither of them is new in terms of experience in the latter stages. Exeter College won the U18 Cup when they beat St. Peter’s, York in 2005, while Wirral Grammar reached the Vase semi-final in 2012 when they were soundly beaten by The Leys School.
Exeter College’s Head of Rugby Jon Hill is hoping the experience they gained from winning a close quarter-final against Worth School at the same venue will give them a small advantage.
He said: ”We played against Worth at Allianz Park in a very close game, so we know what to expect from the pitch. There’s a massive amount of excitement among the players and around the college, there will be supporters’ coaches going over, so it’s our job to make sure we’re fresh and well prepared.
“We know nothing about Wirral. They’re a grammar school with lots of tradition so we won’t be underestimating them.”
QEH Bristol and Trent College will complete the second semi-final, and both will have high hopes of reaching Twickenham for the first time.
Head of Rugby at QEH Bristol, Paul Joslin, says his side will be no strangers to playing in front of a large crowd on the big occasion.“The boys did play in front of 1,000 people at a memorial game with Clifton College under lights at Clifton RFC last term” he said, “However, I am sure that this will be a whole new experience and one that they will remember whatever the result.
“We know little about Trent College but we are looking forward to an exciting game. The boys are really looking forward to playing at Saracens and there is a good vibe in the school about the whole experience.”
Watch the semi-finals streamed live at rfu.com/natwestschoolscup
Semi-finals draw in full – Allianz Park
U18 Cup – Saturday, March 8
Durham School v Warwick School: 12pm
RGS High Wycombe v Dulwich College: 2.15pm
U18s Vase – Sunday, March 9
Wirral Grammar School v Exeter College: 12pm
QEH Bristol v Trent College: 2.15pm
U15 Cup – Saturday, March 15
Whitgift School v QEGS Wakefield: 12pm
Warwick School v Wellington College: 2pm
U15 Vase – Sunday, March 16
Altrincham Grammar School v Lymm High School: 12pm
Graveney School v St George’s College, Weybridge: 2pm
Finals – Twickenham Stadium (Saturday, March 29)
U15 Vase: 11am
U15 Cup: 12.30pm
U18 Vase: 2pm
U18 Cup: 3.40pm
Entry is free
For more information, go to: www.rfu.com/natwestschoolscup, www.facebook.com/natwestrugby and twitter.com/SchoolsCup