- Felsted have reached the semi-final of the Under 18 Cup
- Former pupils have returned to help the school make history
- Read a guide to the final stages here
Felsted have already made history in this year's NatWest Schools Cup, reaching the semi-finals of the U18 Cup competition for the first time. But they aren't done yet.
On Saturday, 4 March they will meet Warwick School at Allianz Park for a place in the final and the Dunmow-based school have turned to two emerging England players to help their push for a place at Twickenham.
England Under 20 fly-half Max Malins and Charlie Kingham, a Loughborough University student who has represented the England Sevens Academy, helped Felsted reach the final of U18 Vase four years ago.
Despite leading 15-0 against Yarm, they eventually lost 17-15 but director of rugby Andrew Le Chevalier has invited the two former pupils back to support their Cup campaign.
“A number of old players have been helping out at training including Max and Charlie," said Le Chevalier. "Their knowledge of what to expect in a big game helps get the team in the right frame of mind.”
Le Chevalier hopes this season the Cup run will end in triumph rather than the disappointment of 2013 when both the U18 and U15 sides lost in the finals.
Two of that U15s team are now in their final year and have a second chance to grab Twickenham glory.
“I’m trying to use my experience to guide the boys in the big matches,” said Le Chevalier, a former Wasps prop. “The players need to understand what it’s like to come out and play in a big atmosphere.
“They’ve got to get used to the atmosphere and use it as a motivation. If you silence the opposing supporters you know you are doing well.”
On the rise
Felsted are something of an emerging force in schoolboy rugby and are linked to the Saracens academy.
"We are blessed with 22 friends. It’s a real good team ethos."
Prop Hugo Brown and back-row Mikey Barton feature in a team who have made their mark on the competition by toppling former champions Whitgift before beating Manchester Grammar School in the quarter-final.
“The team last year was phenomenal," said Le Chevalier. "We were blessed with size, power and speed. This time we are blessed with 22 friends. It’s a real good team ethos."
He believes Felsted’s recent success has made opponents wary. “Other schools are certainly looking at what we are doing and we do have boys coming to us to further their rugby.”
However, they might well start as underdogs against Warwick who have one of the most formidable records in the competition.
Warwick won back-to-back U15 titles in 2013 and 2014 and were runners-up in the U18 Cup in 2014, losing 53-5 to Dulwich College.
The other Cup semi-final pits holders Bromsgrove, seeking a third title running, against Bishop Wordsworth’s School of Salisbury.
Before the Cup games, the two U18 Vase semi-finals see The Perse School from Cambridge meet Trent College while Silcoates meet Royal Latin in the other game.