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Trent College are one game away from the knock-out stages of the country’s most prestigious schools’ rugby competition after sealing two big wins in a week.
The school’s First XV scored 109 points, with just 21 against, on their way to Under 18 Natwest Vase round three and four victories over King Edward VI School, Stratford (70-12) and King Henry VIII School, Coventry (39-9) to secure a fifth round and Midlands B group 'regional final' decider against Hereford Sixth Form College in the week of 28 November.
Trent College won the U18 Natwest Vase at Twickenham in 2014 but have not made it beyond the regional knockout rounds since then. But back-to-back Vase wins in six days have now put Trent on the brink of the national Quarter Finals - last eight - in February. Not that anyone will be allowed to start getting ahead of themselves, Steve McGinnis, Trent College Head of Rugby and U18 Coach insists.
He said: “We had to work hard for the win over King Henry VIII last week, they competed well and made it very difficult for us. It was a challenge that we needed. We had an unusually slow start and found it difficult to maintain possession.
“I’m pleased we were able to finish strongly in the second half. We have a tight group of players who want to work for each other, but there is no way we will be taking anything for granted and we will continue to look at where we can improve.”
Two tries for Northampton Saints Academy prospect Emmet McDonnell and a try apiece for brothers Ben and Jack Dickinson, George Finney and Arjun Nath did the damage against King Henry VIII School, Coventry on Wednesday (16 November). The Thursday before it was Nath with three tries and Ben Dickinson kicking six conversions who topped the scorers as Trent College put King Edward VI School, Strafford to the sword.
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. It 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.