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Three brothers will be trying to help Trent College’s bid to reach Twickenham this year as they prepare to welcome Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College in round two of the Under 18s Natwest Schools Vase on Thursday (13 October).
Trent College, who won the national Vase competition at Twickenham in 2014, knocked out De Lisle College, Loughborough, 29-0 in the opening encounter of this year’s regional group phase, to set up the home clash with Welbeck DSFC, from Leicestershire.
Siblings Jack (Y13), George (Y12) and Ben Dickinson (Y11), will, for the first time, feature in the Trent College 1st XV this term. All three brothers train in the Leicester Tigers Academy and Elite Player Development Group squad.
Hooker Jack is one of five full Premiership Academy players in the Trent College ranks this year, with Andrew Brown also part of the Tigers Academy, while Emmet McDonnell, Charlie Livesey and Ethan Benstead are with Northampton Saints.
Full-back Brown has stepped up to captaining his school this year having accrued a wealth of experience playing in Leicester’s Singha Premiership Rugby Sevens team over the summer and recently in a Tigers ‘A’ league game.
The Natwest Cup and Vase is the biggest schools rugby tournament in the world, with over 1,000 entries in both the U18 and U15 competitions from across England, Wales and the Isle of Man.
There is a new format for this year’s competition - schools have chosen to enter either the Cup or Vase, with teams knocked out in the first round of each going into Plate (Cup) or Bowl (Vase) competitions. The finals for both the Cup and Vase trophies will take place at Twickenham, the home of England rugby, next spring.
Trent College’s U15s went down 26-38 to Leicester Grammar School in round one of the Natwest Schools Cup and now the prospect of a fierce local derby with Nottingham High School looms in the U15s plate next Tuesday (11 October).
Adam Benstead, Trent College Director of Sport and U15s coach, explains: “The format of the competition has changed to accommodate more schools and to try and make the competition a little fairer. The path still leads to Twickenham in both competitions so the same massive incentive is there.
“The regional phase of the Vase will be completed before Christmas, and although it would be a bonus to go into the national knockout phase beyond that, we have shown before that if you get some momentum behind you anything is possible.”
Steve McGinnis, Trent College Head of Rugby and U18s coach, added: “The U18s look strong again this year as in addition to the Academy boys, we also have a number of other players around high level academy environments, including George Finney, who controls the team at 10, and is currently part of the Nottingham Rugby Academy.
"It is also great to have Fred Hendry Briars and Sam Beresford return to the squad having missed a significant part of last season through injury.”
The NatWest Schools Cup has served as a springboard to launch the careers of some of England’s brightest stars such as Tom Wood, Manu Tuilagi and Marland Yarde.