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Home > News > First time Leys take on northern Kings in U15 Daily Mail final
Your News First time Leys take on northern Kings in U15 Daily Mail final

The Leys School will travel from the heart of Cambridge to the home of England Rugby, Twickenham Stadium, next Wednesday after reaching the final of the Under 15 Vase in their first season of participation in the Daily Mail RBS Schools Cup competitions.

To get a foretaste of the experience awaiting them, The Leys had a run-out at Grange Road - home to the Cambridge University rugby team - as coach Alex Welby explained: "We wanted to get the boys used having grandstands in their sight lines. The semi-finals at Broadstreet RFC has already given them a good idea of the routine of a finals day too."

Welby coached Wellington College to a Schools Cup final at Twickenham in 1994, before taking a break from the game for a while to coach chess. His return to rugby at The Leys, a Methodist school much less renowned than Wellington for its rugby, has been a revelation.

"This is all part of an educational experience for the boys," said Welby. "They love being a part of the team and, as a one-term rugby school, our last two matches have been the quarter-final and semi-final of the Vase.

"We have three players attached to Northampton Saints' Academy - fly half Will Hooley, outside centre Will McGahey and No.8, Olly Houghton - and I have been impressed by what they have learned there. I came back to rugby and found these boys of 14 and 15 who understood the playing of the game much more than I'd encountered before."

The Leys' ban on mentioning the word "Twickenham" before or during their semi-final - "one boy wanted to but he was shouted down," said Welby - is over now and they are looking forward to the big day.

King's, Macc - or to give them their full title, The King's School in Macclesfield - will make their 15-a-side debut at Twickenham Stadium in the Daily Mail RBS Schools U15 Vase Final.

As the only northern team from eight playing on the day they will be carrying with them the hopes of schools rugby not just in Cheshire but across the north west.

The school is over 500 years old and has a reputation to match with rugby steadily improving and the success of this year's U15s the best example of that. After getting to the last 16 of the Vase last year (losing to local rivals Sandbach), coaches John Percival and Mark Harbord have done a great job to keep improving their team.

King's, Macc had to endure a nail-biting 7-5 semi final win, narrowly defeating Coopers' Company and Coborn from Essex and Percival said: "We know The Leys will be a tough proposition at Twickenham. Watching them play before us in the semi final at Broadstreet, we could see they are well-drilled and strong and there is no doubt they will be hard to beat.

"I don't really believe in all that underdog stuff. You just play what's in front of you. We will give The Leys' team maximum respect and we know very well that we will have to be on our mettle to beat them.

"The school has been involved in sevens finals at Twickenham but this is a different level. We are taking eight coaches down and there is, as you'd expect, quite a lot of interest.

"We have a couple of lads carrying knocks but nothing serious, so I'm hoping we'll do well on the day. This team has been improving all season, they've been like sponges soaking up every word and experience."

The April 1 running order at Twickenham Stadium is as follows:

Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 15 Vase: The Leys School v The King's School in Macclesfield (11am)

Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 15 Cup: The Judd School v Millfield School (12.30pm)

Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 18 Vase: Hampton School v John Cleveland College (2pm)

Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 18 Cup: Truro College v St Peter's High School, Gloucester (3.30pm)

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