- Sam Olver recalls his school boy rugby memories
- 'I found it hard at first'
The Olvers of Oundle are pooling knowledge in another crack at trying to bring Cup glory to the Northamptonshire school.
Sam Olver, a member of the England under-20 squad which won the Junior World Cup in 2014, is helping out at his former school in this season’s NatWest Schools Cup alongside his father, John, the former England hooker who is head coach.
Oundle travel to Warwick later this month for a place in this season’s quarter-final at stake for two of the strongest teams in the Midlands.
For Olver junior, his guest coaching sessions follows his own time at the school when he was a player coached by his father.
He laughs at the memories of debating rugby with his father during a time at the school when the under-15s reached the quarter-finals in 2010 of this national competition.
“I found it quite hard at first,” admitted Olver junior. “Me and my dad did disagree on certain things, but in the end it was OK.
“If we had a disagreement about rugby I had to keep quiet and bring it up afterwards at a time when we were not with the team. We always came round in the end.”
Olver junior also has painful memories of that 2010 quarter-final, away to QEQS Wakefield, because he had sustained a “slight fracture” in his wrist.
He added: “It was very frustrating. But I still played. The match went down to the wire as we were pressing to pull the game round but we just missed out and QEGS won 13-7.”
A year later Olver junior was in the under-18s as a fifth former when the team lost to Leicestershire rivals Oakham, 13-17, in the fifth round.
“It was the year Oakham went to on to reach the final. They had Charlie Walker, who is now on the wing for Quins, playing. They lost out in the final to Whitgift.”
Olver junior eventually became captain of Oundle and remembers gaining the scalp of Harrow in one regular season game. “Their captain was Maro Itoje and I always remind him of who won!” he added.
The pair went on to play for England under-20s with the Saracens lock captaining the team to a 21-20 success over South Africa in the final.
“That was unbelievable experience and one I will never forget. Maro led the team and it is great to see how well he is doing for Saracens.”
Olver junior himself is awaiting his chance at Northampton in a powerful squad where senior fly halves Stephen Myler and JJ Hanrahan stand in his way.
“You just have to keep working hard and hope the chance will come along,” Olver junior said.
In between A League games this month for Northampton, he is looking forward to helping out at Oundle alongside father John and Simon Hodgkinson, the former England fly half, who is the main backs coach.
“I was very lucky to have Simon guide me when I was playing as well as my father. Now I help out when I can. Warwick will be very tough opponents but there is no reason why we can’t win.”
The present Oundle team remains a little bit of a family affair Olver junior’s cousins, Tom and Ben, are regulars in the back row and were part of the team who lost to Bromsgrove in the semi-final last season.
And Bromsgrove went on to be champions, dethroning holders Dulwich, in the final. This season they are aiming for a double and host Bedford Moderns for a place in the quarter-finals in the week of Jan 27.
To watch the NatWest Schools Cup quarter-finals live draw, tune in to EnglandRugby.com on 29 January 2016. Make sure you follow @SchoolsCup and @NatWest_Rugby on Twitter for more information which will be announced in due course.