NatWest Schools U15s Cup approaches round five

  • NatWest Schools Cup fifth round commences in January
  • Follow the fixtures and results here

With the fifth round of the U15 NatWest Schools Cup getting underway in January, takes a look at the schools still in contention for a place in the final.  

Langley aiming to go all the way 

Langley School from the Norfolk town of Loddon are putting themselves once more on the rugby map in this season’s NatWest Schools Cup. A trip to Uppingham in January gives Langley the chance to reach a second quarter-final in competition. 

This season's opportunity follows the encouragement of reaching the last eight four years ago when the eventual champions Warwick proved too strong, winning 33-5.

Warwick were even stronger the following season winning a Midlands area final, 59-5, before Langley lost out to Norwich, 24-21, in last season’s fourth round.

Langley have become a partner school for the Leicester Tigers academy and Director of Rugby Tim Malone said the idea was to develop rugby from “bottom upwards.”

The link has already seen former Langley captain Harry Mahoney join Leicester on a full time contract while England sevens candidate Gift Sankoh also started his career at the school. Aiming to follow in their footsteps are captain Tane Dunn and back Tyreece Simpson.

History of success

Warwick are looking to reach a fourth Under 15s final in five years following wins in 2013 and 2014 followed by a 15-6 defeat to QEGS Wakefield, in 2015.

However, Cheltenham should be very competitive opponents having already beaten Bromsgrove, 12-8, and Oakham, 21-12, en- route to the fifth round.

In the north section, QEGS Wakefield are also seeking a fourth final in five years after one Twickenham triumph over Warwick and two defeats by their arch-rivals.

QEGS host St Peter’s of York, the 2002 champions, who pipped Woodhouse Grove 7-5 in the fourth round.

Steve Williams, St Peter’s Director of Rugby, reported: “It was a terrific contest with nothing between the teams. The last 10 minutes were extremely tense with Woodhouse applying lots of pressure.”

St Peter’s had grabbed the crucial try just before half-time following a break by No 8 Oliver Tomlin finished off by prop Ethan Leigh-Howarth who broke two tackles to score under the posts.

Northern heavyweights

The other north section quarter-final play off, sees defending champions Sedbergh host St Ambrose from Altrincham.

Sedbergh have already had one scare by scrambling to a 5-0 win over St Edward’s of Liverpool in the fourth round. A 54-8 win against Lancaster RGS was more comfortable.

Wellington College, last season’s runners up, travel to Dean Close of Cheltenham in a south west regional final following a 34-10 win over RGS High Wycombe.

This win is the final part of an 18-match unbeaten run this autumn in all games which has seen 700 points scored.

Among the defeated are Sedbergh, 27-3, in a regular season match. The win over the High Wycombe featured three under-14s in Robbie Offord, Alex Teague and Monty Bradbury while prop Finn Baxter scored two tries.

Capital clashes

In the London & SE section, Hurstpierpoint will face Dulwich under lights at Brighton RFC. The Sussex school have played at the club previously. “It should create a really atmosphere,” coach Jack Emmerson said.

Hurstpierpoint, who had a pre-season trip to Normandy, have so far won 14 out of 15 in all games. A fourth-round win came against Trinity, 26-8.

“We played up hill in the first half and defended for 10 minutes solid before half-time to keep the score 7-5 at the break,” their coach said.

In the other London & SE section tie, Churcher’s, from Petersfield in Hampshire, host former champions Whitgift. “We are big underdogs but we do have home advantage,” said coach Bill Baker.

Churcher’s are finding form having avenged earlier defeats in regular season games to Oaklands and RGS Guildford by winning the Cup games.

NatWest Schools Cup – U15s Cup (fifth round ties scheduled to be played week beginning 16 Jan)

North Section

Sedbergh v St Ambrose

QEGS Wakefield v St Peter’s York,

Midlands Section

Warwick v Cheltenham

Uppingham v Langley

London & SE

Churcher’s v Whitgift

Hurstpierpoint v Dulwich

S & S West

Ivybridge v Sherborne

Dean Close v Wellington