- Warwick School have made seven appearances in Schools Cup finals in the past decade
- The school missed an historic double last season
- Spotlight On focuses on a different grassroots club or side each week
This season marks the 30th anniversary of the Schools Cup and in that time a few notable dynasties have been built.
Colston’s winning six on the bounce in the 1990s and Dulwich College’s three successive triumphs in the U18 Cup ending in 2014 are notable examples.
Over the last decade however, another school has been gradually etching their name in Schools Cup history.
Warwick School, founded 1103 years ago and the country’s oldest boys-only school, have appeared seven times in Schools Cup finals across the U15 and U18 competitions since 2007.
This year they narrowly missed the chance to become the first school since Wellington College in 2008 to win the U15 and U18 Cup double.
A 25-12 loss to Wellington for the U15s in the final this season kept that record in Berkshire, but Warwick can still achieve something historic this season by becoming the first school to get two sides in both finals in successive years.
|Schools Cup 2017/18|
|861 sides entered this year's competition|
|There are nine different 'tiers'|
|They are the Champions Trophy, U18 Cup, U18 Vase, U18 Plate and U18 Bowl|
|In the U15s teams compete across the Cup, Vase, Plate and Bowl|
A comfortable start
While still a long way away, that record is still on for Warwick after both age groups comfortably came through round one.
The U18s began their campaign with a 50-0 win over King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys while the U15s followed suit with a 50-0 win of their own away to Lawrence Sheriff School.
For Director of Rugby Tom Pierce however, the chance to make history doesn’t factor in plans for this year’s campaign.
“We don’t feel any pressure but as coaches we do feel that there is an expectation in performance here which keeps standards up. I think the boys really relish the cup runs as well.”
In the 11 years that Pierce has been at the school, there has been an increased focus on match preparation by schools across the country including more attention to detail when it comes to match analysis and strength and conditioning but for Pierce the fundamental part of school rugby is enjoyment.
“For a lot of people, playing school rugby are some of the best years of their rugby lives.
Delighted to welcome Eddie Jones back to Warwick to run a training session for players & coaches. Thank you Eddie! pic.twitter.com/KK5y7gyMVd— Warwick School (@warwickschool) May 20, 2017
“The Schools Cup is brilliant because for those boys who want to go on to play professionally if gives them a chance to get in the spotlight while for others it will be an amazing experience that they will never forget.”
And while Warwick may now be considered one of the most consistent schools in Schools Cup history, Pierce remembers that it wasn’t always that way.
“2007 was the real turning point for us. Before then we hadn’t appeared in national finals but then Charlie Hayter [England Sevens player] led us to the U18 Cup final which we won.
“Since then we have really kicked on and it sort of set a precedent for the success we have had since.”
For Warwick to continue that success this season there will be plenty of hurdles to overcome before the final at Twickenham next year.
“There are some big games for both teams in the next round, it will be a real challenge for our teams but we can’t wait and the idea of potentially going to Twickenham again is exciting for everyone.
“Seeing the boys run out on that pitch is incredible and the whole day, win or lose, is fantastic. It is that feeling that we strive for.”