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Trent College are two games from Twickenham after romping into the U18 Natwest Schools Vase quarter-finals with a stunning 61-7 win over Hereford Sixth Form College last Thursday (1 December).
This is the first time the Long Eaton school has reached the last eight of the national competition after winning the Vase for the first time in the school’s history at the home of England rugby in March 2014.
In making it through to the quarter-finals, Trent College have effectively won the Midlands B group and could now be drawn against the winners of any of the seven other regional groups. The draw will be made in January with ties to be played on Wednesday 3 February (TBC).
First half tries from Arjun Nath, captain Andy Brown, Charlie Livesey and Emmet McDonnell, who was also on stage playing a lead role in the Trent College Drama Scholars’ production of The Crucible last week, handed the hosts a 26-7 cushion over their visitors from Hereford at the break.
With loose-head prop, Fred Hendry-Briars, showing particularly fine form in a dominant Trent College scrum, a second try for Leicester Tigers Academy prospect, Brown, and further scores from Brandon Joss, Harvey Doleman and Ben Goddard cemented a sound victory, backed by the ever-reliable boot of Ben Dickinson.
Steve McGinnis, Trent College Head of Rugby and U18s coach, said: “We will need to raise our game in the next round in February if we are to continue to move forwards. The team has fantastic potential but needs to earn the right to go wide. They very much prefer to play an expansive style of game, but now have to look at developing more 'front foot' ball through their strong forwards too.
“The teams in the last eight are all of a strong pedigree and a home draw will be a distinct advantage. There is much work to be done in the coming weeks, but this team has exciting prospects."
The Natwest Cup and Vase is the biggest schools rugby tournament in the world, with over 1,000 entries in 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.
The 2016-17 U18 Natwest Vase Final is scheduled to be played at Twickenham on Wednesday 29 March. The last time Trent College reached the Vase final they secured a nail-biting 17-16 victory over Exeter College to lift the trophy.