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Home > News > Daily Mail RBS Schools Cup news from the Midlands
Your News Daily Mail RBS Schools Cup news from the Midlands

WARWICK School will have two teams in the semi-finals draw of the Daily Mail RBS Cup competitions on Monday after the school’s Under 18 Cup team edged through a dour but compelling quarter-final struggle at Wilmslow High School.

The Midlands side went through on the ‘away side’ rule in the event of a draw after the scores finished level at 10-10 with both teams scoring a converted try and a penalty goal.

When the visitors went ahead after five minutes with a try by fly-half Henry Stride after a handling error by Wilmslow had created a kick-and-chase, it seemed that with a stiff breeze at their backs, Warwick might build a decent lead.

But though full-back Josh Hickman converted, Wilmslow put up an impenetrable, tenacious defence for the remainder of the half to prevent their opponents from extending their advantage.

With the elements in their favour, Wilmslow drew level with a smart piece of work from scrum-half Wilf Noden, whose slick reverse pass allowed prop Rob Taylor to complete a Chris Ashton-style finish for a try that Noden goaled.

When Noden then slotted a 40-yard penalty to put his side in the driving seat, it looked as though a clear head and a dose of pragmatism might see Wilmslow home, but these attributes were crucially lacking. Warwick, however, showed great resolve to impose themselves on the game territorially and with time running out, Wilmslow committed the crucial infringement that allowed Hickman to level the scores with a penalty.

Having failed to play the kicking game effectively when they had a winning lead to protect, Wilmslow then found Warwick both resilient and disciplined during the final onslaught, a gritty rearguard keeping the home side at arm’s length and earning a semi-final place in the process.

“Can we call it a typical cup tie and leave it at that?” said Warwick director of rugby Mark Nasey. “The pressure of cup rugby showed. Wilmslow tried to play their natural game and stay on their feet and move the ball about and to be honest, they didn’t do it as well as they can.

“That’s just the pressure of Cup rugby and I was disappointed with some of our decision making and what we do in our systems also fell away today.

“I didn’t think 7-0 at half-time was enough, but early in the second-half we got territory and had a shot at the try-line, but we had a rush of blood with a quick tap when we should have maintained pressure. We let them off the hook, they came back and scored a good try, but I still felt confident that if we could get into striking distance we had a good shot.

“In the closing stages we had to dog it out and we did that very well, although it was pretty ugly rugby. We showed a lot of character and good discipline in the last three minutes when we held them off.”

That last-gasp tenacity was a feature of the previous day’s 18-17 win by Warwick Under 15s, who snatched a try at the death against visitors Wellington College to win a place in the last four.

Fly-half Josh Grimes was Warwick’s hero with two tries, the second of them the late winner. Full-back Will Stride had earlier kicked Warwick into the lead with two penalties.

They led 13-5 at half-time but Wellington rallied strongly in the second half and went 17-13 up with 15 minutes to play.

Warwick follow Bromsgrove School, who beat RGS Hugh Wycombe last week, into the Under 15 Cup semi-finals draw.

Northampton School for Boys are also through to the semi-finals of the Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 18 Cup for the first time after they ended King’s School. Macclesfield’s unbeaten run this season with a 3-0 home win.

A penalty from fly-half Connor Bullivant, who played for England South Under 16s in last season’s Wellington International Festival was all that divided the sides.

“It was a titanic struggle. A 3-0 win has never been so exciting,” said Mark Lee, NSB’s master in charge of rugby.

“King’s were unbeaten and they had a huge pack but we coped really well. They had some big runners but our defence was heroic but by hitting them at source and hitting them early we stopped them getting the initiative.”

NSB thought they had scored a try when wing Rotimi Segun, who was this week named in the England Under 16 training squad, got over the line but the score was disallowed.

Bullivant struck his penalty before half time but NSB’s plan to use the wind to keep King’s pinned in their own 22 in the second half did not quite work.

A couple of missed kicks gave King’s the opportunity to counter attack and put NSB’s defence to the test again.

Having won two tough away games at Oakham and King’s Worcester in the preceding rounds, NSB now have a trip to Broadstreet RFC near Coventry to look forward to for the semi-finals on March 2.

In the Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 18 Vase Loughborough GS’s dreams of a trip to Twickenham ended with 27-11 home defeat by Yarm School in the quarter-finals.

The Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 18 Vase semi-finals will be played at Broadstreet in March 3 with the Under 15 Cup semi-finals at Broadstreet on March 9 and the Under 15 Vase semi-finals on March 10.

Finals day is at Twickenham Stadium on March 23 when the order of play will be: Under 15 Vase final at 11am, Under 15 Cup final at 12.30pm, Under 18 Vase final at 2pm and the Under 18 Cup final at 3.40pm

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