- Trinity through to face Dulwich
- Warwick march on in Under 15 section
Trinity booked a home tie against champions Dulwich thanks to an excellent team performance which overhauled Berkhamsted 27-12 in the sixth round of the NatWest Schools Cup.
The Croydon school’s Under 18 side must now beat their London rivals, who are seeking a fourth successive title, next month make the quarter-finals of this national competition for the first time.
“We can’t wait for Dulwich,” was the reaction of Trinity’s head coach Aaron Liffchak about the seventh-round tie clash – featuring the last 16 teams left – which is scheduled for the week beginning Jan 26.
Dulwich, who beat Chislehurst and Sidcup GS, 26-0, toppled Trinity only 10-7 in a regular Saturday fixture earlier in the season.
Liffachak praised the performance of Berkhamsted in stretching his team who needed a try from wing Gabriel Ibitoye, a member of the Harlequins academy, to cancel out an early score from Timi Sanusi.
“It was a very good game and we needed to defend very well throughout,” Liffachak added. Trinity had gained a hold on the tie by half-time, leading 24-5, thanks to further tries from fly half Charlie Fatoma, who also kicked 12 points, and No 8 and captain Bryan Hotston.
In the other half of the London and South East section, St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, booked their place in the last 16 by winning 37-11 against Dartford GS.
Full back Tom Emery collected 22 points, including two tries. Other scores came from prop Luc Jeannot, wing Owen Betts and centre Cam Ives.
St Joseph’s reward is a home tie against the winners of another all-London pairing in St Benedict’s or Whitgift, the former holders, who have arranged their sixth-round tie for Saturday, 17 January.
Hymers College have also earned a home seventh-round tie after a close-fought Yorkshire derby against Pocklington. The Hull team came through 11-7 winners and are now seeking to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2002.
Two long-distance penalty goals shots from centre Morgan Faulkner kept Hymers ahead alongside a try from captain and lock Harrison Dodds.
Hymers now await the winners of another delayed tie in Worksop College and Lymm.
In the other north area section, the sixth-round ties involving Wilmslow HS-Stonyhurst and St Peter’s of York-Newcastle School for Boys will take place next month.
In the Midlands groups, Bromsgrove continue to show impressive form. They followed up a 23-13 over Warwick, the runners-up last season, by overpowering Bloxham, 50-13.
Bromsgrove now await the winners of the The Leys-Stamford match next month while in the other midlands section Oundle, who beat Gresham’s 22-18, will host King’s Worcester, 11-0 winners over Northampton School for Boys.
Another team to top the half century were Dauntsey’s, the Wiltshire school, who beat former winners St Peter’s of Gloucester, 54-10.
Their unbeaten team – 15 wins and some 654 points so far – has relied mostly on the power of their pack. The result was a remarkable five tries for lock Andrew Duckworth from a series of forward ploys.
Duckworth, the school’s head boy, has so far scored 17 tries this season and forms a powerful partnership alongside captain Will Britton, who is in the Bath Rugby Academy and is pushing for England honours.
Dauntsey’s will host Sherborne, who beat them in the competition by a point last season, in the last 16 while in the other south west section the RGS High Wycombe-Hampton tie will be played next month. The winners of that match will face an away trip to either Monmouth or Gryphon, the Dorset comprehensive.
In the Under 15 section, champions Warwick march on, beating Ellesmere College 24-0.
But recognition is also due to a London comprehensive, The Rutlish, based in Merton, who reached the sixth round for the first time.
Though beaten 57-12 by Brighton College, Rutlish defeated some esteemed rugby schools in the earlier rounds, including a 21-17 win over Hampton and 5-0 victory over King’s College, Wimbledon.
Liam Shanahan, a former Scotland Under 18 player, is the coach who helped launch rugby properly only three years ago. “We are established now and the boys are enjoying the sport. They train and play mostly in their own time which shows how committed they are,” he said.