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Our First XV have made school history after securing their place in the semi-finals of the Under 18s NatWest Vase national schools’ rugby competition.
Unfortunately, our Under 15s saw their hopes of landing an U15 NatWest Cup final four spot narrowly ended 27-22 - after recovering from 27-12 down - by Whitgift School, a powerhouse of school rugby.
The NatWest Schools Cup competition is the premier tournament in schools rugby, where 1,000 teams across the country at U15 and U18 level compete regionally then nationally for the chance to advance to the finals day at Twickenham in March.
All schools that enter play for a main Cup, and there is also a Vase for teams knocked out in the early rounds, culminating in a Twickenham final too.
The First XV booked their place in the U18s Vase semis for the first time ever thanks to a nail-biting victory at Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School in Sutton Coldfield on Friday 14 February. Although the game finished tied at 10-10, Trent progressed through to the next round as they scored more tries than Vesey’s, two tries to one.
In horrendous storm force conditions, Trent were grateful to Ben Trembling and Will Allman, who went under the posts for the crucial scores, while the team’s defence was tremendous throughout against a heavyweight Vesey’s pack. To really keep nerves frayed with the score at 10-all, Trent missed a conversion in front of the posts when the wind blew the ball off the tee, just as George Boden was about to strike it!
The boys will now go head-to-head with Queen Elizabeth's Hospital Bristol at Allianz Park - home of Saracens Rugby in North London – on Sunday 9 March (2.15pm) for a place in the U18s NatWest Vase final at Twickenham.
Our Trent College team will already know who their possible final opponents will be before they lock horns against QEH Bristol, with the other semi between Wirral Grammar School and Exeter College kicking off at 12pm on the same day at the same venue.
Mr Benstead, Director of Sport said: “To have reached the Vase semi-finals is a massive achievement for the U18s and they will be spurred on by the prospect of a Twickenham appearance when they take on QEH Bristol. They overcame terrible conditions, which more suited the opposition pack, and tried to play out wide. Overall they deserved the semi-final place.”
A host of England and British Lions stars have played in the NatWest School Cup in the past including England captain Chris Robshaw, scrum-half Danny Care, centre Manu Tuilagi, flanker James Haskell, and forwards Tom Croft and Courtney Lawes.
Bob Reeves, RFU President, said: “Over the years many of those competing in the Cup and Vase have gone on to play at the highest level and international stars often talk of their first experience of playing at Twickenham Stadium being alongside their school friends and how momentous and memorable the experience was for them.”
None of this season’s U18s Vase last four made it to the quarter-finals stage last year, although Wirral were semi-finalists in 2011-12. None have ever reached the Vase final before although Exeter College won the U18s Cup in 2004-2005.
Good luck to our U18s for their next game, and well done to our U15s for their achievements.