- Defending champions in NatWest Schools U15 Cup semi-final
- Warwick aim to emulate U18 school mates
Warwick School will face a tough assignment when they attempt to defend their NatWest Schools U15 Cup title and emulate their U18 side, who are already through to a Twickenham final, against Wellington College in the semi-finals at Allianz Park on Saturday, March 15 (2pm).
Warwick knocked out Wellington in last season’s U15 Cup quarter-finals but both schools have each suffered just one defeat this season.
Warwick still have the nucleus of last season’s triumphant side that beat QEGS Wakefield available to them and coach Tom Pierce believes that experience has made them even stronger.
“To be honest, individually we are probably stronger than last year in certain positions. However, the boys are well aware that that counts for absolutely nothing in cup rugby,” Pierce said.
“The most impressive development with this year's team is their hard work for each other, which perhaps wasn’t there at the very start of the season.
“Last year we had five boys involved in the cup-winning side and I am sure that experience and knowledge will be really beneficial to the side. This season we also have four boys from the U14s playing up, which has really helped to develop our game.
“Wellington will pose a very strong challenge indeed. They have had a very good season on a competitive fixture list.
“We had a really tight match last year against them and they had some younger players too, and as we know from last year it is all about producing our best performance on the day, there are no easy matches at this stage of the competition.
“I am expecting a really fast and hopefully entertaining rugby match for all the supporters travelling down to Saracens.”
Warwick’s U18 side were well-supported when they beat Durham in their semi-final, also at Allianz Park, on Saturday, March 8 and they are now through to NatWest Schools Finals Day at Twickenham on March 29.
Meanwhile Wellington College coach Dan Rosen can sense the excitement building in the team and the school having not reached this stage for a few years now.
He added: “The squad is obviously very excited. We haven't reached the semi-final for a few years and so there is a real buzz about the unknown. There is a really good atmosphere and sense of unity.
“This year’s team is no better or worse than previous years. The most pleasing aspect about this team is their desire to work for each other and play their part. There is no arrogant individual that is bigger than the team and that goes a long way at U15s.
“Warwick are an excellent side and have a lot of their victorious side from last year returning. We expect them to be well organised and play with pace and dynamism.”
In the opening semi-final on March 15, 2003 winners Whitgift will meet last year’s beaten finalists QEGS Wakefield.
Semi-finals draw in full - Allianz Park
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
U18 Cup – Saturday, March 8
Durham School 15 Warwick School 20
RGS High Wycombe 3 Dulwich College 7
U18 Vase – Sunday, March 9
Wirral Grammar School 13 Exeter College 17
QEH Bristol 7 Trent College 41
If you missed the U18 semi-finals live stream, you can watch these matches on www.rfu.com/rfutv
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