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Coach Adam Benstead insists his Trent College U15s are just focusing on each game as it comes as the prospect of reaching the Natwest Schools' Vase Quarter-Finals looms ever closer ahead of the school’s sixth round clash with Wymondham College on Thursday (21 January).
Trent College have a long trip to Norfolk to face a school they have never played as they bid to book their place in the seventh and final round of the Midlands knock-out phase of the competition, before the serious business of the Quarter Finals and the road to Twickenham steps up a notch in February.
The U15s booked their clash with Wymondham College, near Norwich, following a comprehensive 26-0 fifth round defeat of Stamford before Christmas, courtesy of tries from Leo Scheja (two), Ben Dickinson and Alfie Tipping plus three Dickinson conversions.
But although Mr Benstead, Trent College’s Director of Sport, believes his full strength U15s’ will prove a tough test for anyone, they are keeping their feet firmly on the ground.
He said: “The boys are very confident and, despite a long journey to Norfolk, will hope to repeat their performance against Stamford. A win will put them one game away from the national knockout stages, but we cannot think that far ahead just yet. We must continue to respect every team we face and take each game as it comes; it could be all over if we underestimate the opposition.
“It was this sort of understated approach we adopted when our U18s went all the way to Twickenham in 2014, and ultimately lifted the U18s Natwest Vase for the first time in the school’s history, so we have experience of the value of not getting carried away before we have achieved anything."
Of Thursday’s opponents, Mr Benstead added: “We don’t know what to expect really, but believe it’s going to take a very good side to beat us or a terrible performance! The team is improving all the time and we have everyone back after injury, so will have the strongest squad possible. Christmas will have slowed the momentum, and trying to juggle Hockey and Rugby training in the first week back hasn’t been easy, but we relish the opportunity."
The NatWest Schools Cup and Vase competitions are the premier tournaments in schools rugby - all schools that enter play for a main Cup, while teams knocked out in the early rounds go into the Vase competition. 1,000 teams at U15 and U18 level enter the tournament.
The NatWest Schools Cup has been the breeding ground for a number of Premiership and England stars, with James Haskell, Mike Tindall, Manu Tuilagi, Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson and Lee Mears among the household names to have featured in Schools Cup finals over the years.
NatWest Schools Finals Day, featuring the U18 Cup, U18 Vase, U15 Cup and U15 Vase finals, will be played at Twickenham on Wednesday 16 March 2016. To find out more about the NatWest Schools Cup visit www.rfu.com/thegame/competitions/natwestschoolscup