- Relive the action from the U18 Schools Cup semi-finals
- Eight teams competed across the Cup and Vase tiers
Allianz Park hosted the U18 Schools Cup semi-finals as eight teams battled it out for the four available spots in the Cup and Vase finals at Twickenham.
Warwick and QEGS, Wakefield school were victors in the Cup competition while Wirral and Langley progressed to the Vase final. Both finals will be held at Twickenham on 14th March.
Warwick comeback to beat Whitgift
Defending champions Warwick staged an impressive comeback to beat Whitgift 15-10 in a tense U18 Cup match at Allianz Park.
The game remained scoreless for the entire first half with neither team able to break the deadlock.
It took 40 minutes before any points were scored when Whitgift’s Joe Parkes nudged his side ahead from in front of the posts, moments after Reece Brown had been denied in the corner by a try-saving tackle.
And Whitgift made it 10-0 when prop Jonathan Benz-Solomon, a Harlquins Academy player, smashed his way over the line with Parkes adding the extras.
Warwick kept the game within reach when fly half Fred Lowe opted to go for goal following an infringement at the ruck from Whitgift after 50 minutes.
And there was a try moments later from Warwick’s Zach Shirley, who capitalised on an overlap in the left corner but the conversion was missed leaving the score at 10-8 to the Croydon side with 15 minutes left.
Warwick’s comeback continued when they again forced an overlap in Whitgift’s defence and Kieran Curran sprinted over.
The conversion was added to give them a 15-10 lead with less than 10 minutes on the clock.
Whitgift weren’t able to equal the scores as the clock ticked down and Warwick were able to book their place at Twickenham once again to try and defend their title.
QEGS Wakefield book their place in the final
Warwick school will meet QEGS Wakefield in a repeat of the 2015 U15 Cup final between the same group of students after QEGS beat Northampton School for Boys (NSB) 19-12.
NSB scored the first points of the game when some nice handling put outside centre Jake Johnson through for a try out wide which full back Tyler Mills converted.
QEGS pulled a score back almost immediately through number 8 Edan Kelly and fly half Tom Stephenson added the extras to draw the scores level at 7-7.
QEGS then pulled ahead with a well-worked move through the backs putting winger Harry Thompson in for a converted try to give them a 14-7 lead.
But with seconds left on the clock in the first half NSB’s Joe Heslop flung a pass out to winger Oliver Sleightholme who showed great skill to beat his opposite man and touch down.
The conversion was missed making it 14-12 at half time to QEGS.
It stayed that way for the rest of the second half until, with three minutes left until full time, Joseph Gatus capitalised on QEGS’ dominant territory and possession to score in the corner.
The conversion was missed giving NSB two minutes to score a converted try to level the scores. But the try never came and QEGS will head to Twickenham.
Wirral heading to HQ
Wirral held off a Ripon comeback to book their place in the U18 Vase final.
Wirral got off to the perfect start when Man of the Match Tom Roebuck collected a chip ahead and then sprinted in from the halfway line before converting his own try to give his side a 7-0 lead.
Ripon responded after 15 minutes when number 10 Joe Scatchard sprinted through a gap to touch down. However the conversion was missed and from the restart Scatchard was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle.
Wirral made use of the extra man, scoring through second row Sam Gregory with the reliable boot of Roebuck making it 14-5 with the score staying that way until half time.
Scatchard was once again at the centre of everything in the second half for Ripon and after 45 minutes made a scintillating break from halfway to score.
The try was unconverted so Wirral still had a 14-10 and they soon made it 21-10 when second row Tom Lockwood used his strength and then reach to score under the posts.
With just five minutes left on the clock and the game almost won for Wirral, Ripon flanker James Willis picked and went from a ruck and was able to run in uncontested. Scatchard added the extras to bring the score to 21-17.
And while Ripon showed plenty of ambition in the final moments, they weren’t able to get the final score with the game finishing 21-17 to Ripon.
Langley in comfortable victory
Langley school will play in the U18 Vase final after a comprehensive win over Dauntsey's school.
Langley’s number 10 Tom Poole scored the first points of the day when he opted to go for goal from a penalty and duly slotted the kick.
Dauntsey’s came straight back and after 15 minutes found the try line after going through the phases. Second row Robert Andrews crashed his way over to score the first try of the game.
However the conversion was missed and they ten had Rahul Patel sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle.
That allowed Langley to capitalise on gaps in defence and Tane Dunn was able to sprint through to dot down for his first of the game. Poole added the conversion to bring his side’s lead to 10-3.
And it was soon 15-3 as Langley shifted the ball wide out to winger Simone Panella who sneaked over in the corner.
Just before half time Langley put themselves in an even stronger position when Oliver Ashworth crashed over to score. The attempted conversion hit the uprights making it 20-3 at half time.
Dunn put the result beyond doubt in the second half when he surged through Dauntey’s defence to score his second, with Poole adding the conversion to bring the score to 27-3.
Ashworth then added a second of his own before prop Frank Scott dived over for a try of his own with the score finishing 41-5.