Rugby: U15s through to the National Finals

“This was a true team effort with the boys evidencing the core values of the College in all they did.”

On Sunday 10th March Wellington College faced a Whitgift School side at a blustery Allianz Park with a place in the NatWest Cup final at Twickenham at stake. Whitgift had not lost a game in four years and had won the previous encounter between the two sides 18-3 so came into the game as favourites. But they did not count on the incredible spirit, determination and the sheer will to win of this Wellington College side who were simply superb on the day.

It was Wellington who began the brighter of the two sides, making in-roads on the edges of the Whitgift defence with slick passing releasing players. This was followed up with tenacious carries in the middle of the pitch that continued to puncture the Whitgift defensive line. Such was the quality of the play that an early try seemed almost inevitable, and so it was as Wellington surged into a 5-0 lead with Will A. crashing over from close range. This start provoked a reaction from Whitgift, and they took control of the next ten minutes, emerging with a try and a penalty to take a 10-5 lead.

But, throughout the game Wellington were able to control possession, with James L. and Samm D. exhibiting superb game control whilst the likes of Murdoch L., Henry S.-S., Joe L., Richie R.-F. and Dan W. made inroads with either power, pace or guile.

This period of dominance took its toll on Whitgift and Wellington took a 15-10 lead into half-time thanks to a try from Monty F. and a second for Will A. The second half proved to be a more tense affair, made more so after Whitgift levelled the scores at 15-15 with another try after 10 minutes. There was then some excellent defence with Mason A. & Louis H. making excellent tackles out wide whilst Johannes D., Gus S., Liam T. and Connor O’B. repeatedly put their bodies on the line in the tight exchanges. As the final whistle drew nearer Wellington found themselves camped in the Whitgift 22 but could not quite find a decisive score. As the seconds ticked away the Wellington boys had the presence of mind to check the situation should the game finish as it stood. Having been informed they would win courtesy of a superior try count (3-2) the boys calmly saw the game out and then the celebrations began.

Dan Richards, Master in Charge of Rugby, commented: “This was a true team effort with the boys evidencing the core values of the College in all they did”. Julian Thomas tweeted: “What a brilliant game of schoolboy rugby. Superb commitment from both sides. Well done to all involved and congratulations to the Welly team”.

Jack Murray, the U15 coach, is looking forward to the next stage of the journey: “The collective spirit and brotherhood that the U15s showed on Sunday was the difference between the two sides. The boys had prepared so well, exhibited a professional manner whilst also playing with a smile on their face. I couldn’t be more proud of the journey so far and all the coaches are excited about another chapter being written on Thursday 21st March”.

The players now look forward to an exciting day at Twickenham where they will face Northampton School for Boys in the final on what promises to be a great occasion.

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