NatWest Schools Cup 2015-16: Bromsgrove defeat QEGS Wakefield to retain Under-18 crown at Twickenham

0
602

Bromsgrove became the sixth school team in the history of the Rugby Football Union's NatWest Schools Cup to retain the main trophy on Wednesday with a hard-fought, attritional 18-10 victory over Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield, at England's hallowed rugby headquarters.

Bradford Grammar, Colston's, Oakham, Whitgift and Dulwich College and now Bromsgrove, superbly drilled by Tony Windo, have all held the trophy in successive years. Given Bromsgrove's recent form, they went in to Wednesday's game as favourites.

QEGS reached Twickenham for the eighth time at both U18 and U15 level, but it was not until last year that their Under-15 side broke the jinx after six defeats and a draw. It will have been heartache again for Trevor Barker's superb side who stretched every sinew to dethrone their rivals.

NatWest Schools Cup 2015-16: Bromsgrove defeat QEGS Wakefield to retain Under-18 crown at TwickenhamMaking inroads: Blake Edwards, the Bromsgrove outside centre, takes on the QEGS defence Photo: SCHOOLSPORTSPHOTOGRAPHY.CO.UK

Both teams have had outstanding seasons and the standard of the game was testimony to that. Bromsgrove began well, fly-half James Taylor making good use of early territorial advantage with a tenth minute drop goal, after several attacks on the wide outside.

Six minutes later QEGS bounced back with a deserved try, wing Joe Gatus going over after a period of pressure, which paid off handily. The Yorkshire side were quickly back on the offensive, extending their lead with prop Nathan Youngs going over from a 13-man rolling maul on the Bromsgrove line. Tom Stephenson was unable to convert for a second time, however.

Back and forth the match see-sawed, like two boxers going toe-to-toe, fierce commitment and tackling from both teams. It was thrilling fare from both teams, the ball run through hands and recycled effortlessly, and of admirable standard.

NatWest Schools Cup 2015-16: Bromsgrove defeat QEGS Wakefield to retain Under-18 crown at TwickenhamIn at the corner: Joe Gatus crosses for QEGS Photo: SCHOOLSPORTSPHOTOGRAPHY.CO.UK

With eight minutes remaining in the 35-minute half, Bromsgrove's waves of attacks paid off with a try for the ubiquitous No8 Beck Cutting. The conversion attempt was narrowly missed by Taylor. At 8-10, Bromsgrove found some ascendancy, discovering their irresistible rolling maul, but it was QEGS who then threw everything at the defending champions with clean off loads as they looked to counter-attack at every opportunity.

As the first half counted down, it was the Midlands school, though, who found the perfect denouement, a sequenced passing move through the backs saw left Cooper Bent go over in the left hand corner to give Bromsgrove a 13-10 lead for the first time in the final minute before the turnaround.

NatWest Schools Cup 2015-16: Bromsgrove defeat QEGS Wakefield to retain Under-18 crown at TwickenhamWigging it: QEGS supporters keep warm with colourful head gear Photo: SCHOOLSPORTSPHOTOGRAPHY.CO.UK

QEGS began the second half brightly, running the ball almost to the Bromsgrove line with vim and vigour, before Bromsgrove's powerful driving pack took them back in to the Wakefield half of the Twickenham pitch.

Again, defending champions Bromsgrove moved to within striking distance with their meticulous rolling maul, and as platy unravelled, several phases of play saw the unstoppable Cutting break through again for his second try. The outstanding player was named man of the match.

NatWest Schools Cup 2015-16: Bromsgrove defeat QEGS Wakefield to retain Under-18 crown at TwickenhamMaking inroads: Blake Edwards, the Bromsgrove outside centre, takes on the QEGS defence Photo: SCHOOLSPORTSPHOTOGRAPHY.CO.UK

Trevor Barker, whose QEGS team made their ninth Twickenham appearance in this competition, admitted that his charges had "lost their shape at times in attack" but was delighted that his team "had given their all against a very good Bromsgrove side", reasoning that QEGS gave the defending champions "they're toughest examination of the season".

The stand-out forward Cutting said afterwards: "They [QEGS] were a brilliant side, both teams worked really hard all season. And you saw that in the game out there. We trained so hard we were sick at times. To have scored two tries at Twickenham feels amazing. The tap and go is unusual for me, but I could not resist it when I saw the line. It was a case of seizing the day."

Cutting, a member of Worcester Academy, will return with the team next year. "We would love to win it again," he added, "but there were so many nerves before this final. As we now know, it's easier to win the Cup than retain it."

Tony Windo, director of rugby at Bromsgrove concluded: "Last year was a special achievement but it is very special to retain the Cup. I quoted the All Blacks and Dan Carter about how they always look to build something, and create continuity. That's what we want. If I'm brutally honest, I thought we underperformed, but that's just me being a grumpy old coach."

Bromsgrove U18
15 George James, 14 Christophe Fostier, 13 Blake Edwards, 12 Joe Hunt, 11 Cooper Bent, 10 James Taylor, 9 George Wootten; 1 Harry Ferguson, 2 Henry Walker (c), 3 Harrison Fowke, 4 Jack Weston, 5 Lawrence Weston, 6 Joe Morrice, 7 Harry Lloyd-Jones, 8 Beck Cutting
Replacements: George Smith, Will Lockhart, Tom Trow, Jonny Howcroft, Oliver Wilkinson, Jonty Thornton, Connor McStay

QEGS U18
15 George Thompson, 14 Joe Gatus, 13 Connor Field, 12 Tom Allott (c), 11 Seb Wood, 10 Tom Stephenson, 9 Sam Tovey; 1 Nathan Youngs, Jack Levine, 3 Jacob Glover, 4 Tom Kay, 5 Elliot Ward, 6 Harry Watts, 7 Joe Selim, 8 Harry Clarke
Replacements: Harvey Farrar, Bradley Young, Edan Kelly, Finlay Wotton, Alex Armstrong, HArry Graham, Henry Longhurst

Players from the 2015-16 NatWest Schools Cup are being offered the chance to attend an Academy Day at England's training base. Go to englandrugby.com/natwestschoolscup to register and for more information

The Telegraph is the media partner of the NatWest Schools Cup. Keep up to date at telegraph.co.uk/rugby

Read more

Related posts:

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here