- Repeat of last year’s final sees Warwick School play QEGS Wakefield in U15 Cup
- Watch all of the finals streamed live on www.rfu.com/natwestschoolscup
Photo: Capture the Event
For the first time in the tournament’s history, the NatWest Schools U15 Cup final will be a repeat of the previous year, as Warwick School once again take on QEGS Wakefield.
Unlike last year, where QEGS were the leading side in the North and one of the favourites for the tournament, the Yorkshire School have gone about their business under the radar, “overachieving” according to their head coach Gary Pickersgill.
They’ve been made to work hard for each and every win from day one. They began with a third-round win against Silcoates (27-13), followed by wins against Harrogate GS (53-3, fourth round), Woodhouse Grove (8-0, fifth round), Wilmslow (17-0, sixth round), Lancaster (20-7, seventh round), before a closely fought match against Croydon in the quarter-finals saw them win by the narrowest of margins, 7-5. They progressed to their second final in a row after beating schools rugby giants Whitgift School 19-17 in their semi-final.
Pickersgill is hoping that the weather won’t deter supporters like it did last year, he said: “Last year we had 12 or 13 coaches booked to go down to Twickenham, and then the snow came, so they were all cancelled which meant we had very little support.
“So this year, hopefully we’ll be able to have a few more people down to support us! Last year we were one of the favourites to get to Twickenham and probably the favourites in the final to win.
“You could probably say there are some similarities between us this season and Warwick last season. They came through quarter-finals and semi-finals that they weren’t expected to win, including beating the all-conquering Bromsgrove side, and ended up winning at Twickenham.
“So yes I’ve told the boys that; you try to use any psychological motivation you can for games like this. I say we’ve definitely overachieved this season, but they just keep managing to do it!
“Warwick will look at the side they’ve got this year, and will probably say they’re stronger than they were last year. But it’s certainly a game that’s up for grabs and we won’t be going to make up the numbers.”
Meanwhile Warwick, with slightly more expectation this year as champions, had to come through a stern examination in the semi-final from Wellington College to win 12-8.
On their way to the finals this year they have notched up some impressive scores, beating both Kenilworth School and Rugby School in convincing fashion, 50-0 in the third and fourth rounds respectively, Bromsgrove School (36-11, fifth round), Bishop of Hereford (45-3, sixth round), Aylesbury Grammar (22-15, seventh round) and Langley School in the quarter-finals, 33-7.
Head Coach, Tom Pierce, said: “I am sure the boys have taken great confidence from the result against a very good Wellington side, however the boys were all disappointed with aspects of their performance.
“We were pleased with the excellent start and finish, but we’re all desperate to get a whole 80-minute performance in the final.
“Of course with two Warwick sides in a final, there is an amazing feeling around the school and everyone is talking about it now.
“I don’t think preparation will be too difficult; the boys are all very excited about Twickenham, and focused on improving their performance levels against a strong QEGS outfit.”
NatWest Schools Cup Finals Day, March 29 - free entry
U15 Vase: Altrincham Grammar School v Graveney School – 11am
U15 Cup: QEGS Wakefield v Warwick School – 12.30pm
U18 Vase: Exeter College v Trent College – 2pm
U18 Cup: Warwick School v Dulwich College – 3.40pm