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Home > News > Daily Mail U18 Vase Final news
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Your News Daily Mail U18 Vase Final news
29
MAR

DAVE Heybrock, director of rugby at Leicestershire's John Cleveland College, faces an anxious wait over the weekend to discover whether he will be able to field his expected side in the Daily Mail RBS Schools Under-18 Vase final against Hampton School at Twickenham on April 1 (2pm).

Prop Ryan Bower and wing Manu Tuilagi are on duty for England's Under-18 Five Nations Festival side against Japan High Schools at Exeter on Sunday and seven more of their team-mates are playing for Hinckley in their National Colts Cup semi-final at Middlesbrough.

"We have got our fingers crossed that they all come through without any problems," Heybrock said.

"It's a busy period but our preparations have gone well so far and we just hope that everyone comes through the weekend OK."

Bower and Tuilagi, the youngest of five brothers who have played for Leicester Tigers, were unavailable for JCC's semi-final win over Giggleswick School at Broadstreet two weeks ago.

JCC could not secure their release for the game but they will both be available for the trip to Twickenham.

"We've secured their release from Leicester and from England so they are available to us for the final," Heybrock said.

The final will be the third game in a week that Tuilagi and Bower have been involved in as they also played for Leicester Academy in their win over Japan HS at Plymouth on Wednesday evening.

Around half of the JCC squad have already played in a Twickenham final having been beaten by Langley Park Boys School from Kent in the Under-15 Vase three years ago. Heybrock believes that the will be wiser for that experience.

"I think having played at Twickenham before has to be an advantage from a psychological point of view," he said.

"You know what the atmosphere is like and, knowing what to expect, you should be more focused on the game. I think one or two of the players lost their focus when we were there last time and they were 15 year-olds."

Heybrock kept an eye on Hampton's semi-final win over King Edward VI, Stratford while he was preparing his players for the Giggleswick match and believes that the final will be between two evenly-matched sides.

"My first impression is that they are quite similar to us in may ways," he said. "They have a big set of forwards but also some good backs who are run by a good fly-half.

"I think that we should have a better pack and defence than Stratford had. They missed some tackles at the start of the second half and conceded some soft tries.

"But I am quietly confident and it should be a good final."

Hampton, who have only a short trip to make to Twickenham include flanker Callum Burke, a member of the Ireland Under-18 Clubs side, and Scotland Under-17 lock Fraser Wem in their squad.

The fly-half who impressed Heybrock is Zafar Ansari, who has already played cricket for England Under-17s and Surrey's second XI.

Hampton's sporting reputation has been based on rowing and football but coach Zoran Higgins hopes that their success in reaching the Daily Mail RBS Vase final will give rugby in the school an important boost.

"I am in my fourth year at Hampton and the performance in the semi-final was the best I have seen," he said.

" In fact it was the best rugby performance I've been involved with, which includes playing in the first team at Richmond, Staines, Bath University and Bath Under 19s.

" We had talked a lot about putting the match into perspective. It was Comic Relief the day before and the boys had watched pictures of children starving in Africa, and they realised this was just a game of rugby. An important game, but just a game. They went out and enjoyed themselves and it worked."

Higgins did not have much time to celebrate the semi-final win as he was back in the stand at Broadstreet to watch the JCC v Giggleswick match and to make notes on their final opponents.

"John Cleveland have a massive physical presence, with four players contracted to the Leicester Academy, and what's concerning me is that they also have two players to come back from England's U18 Five Nations squad," he said.

"We will be up against it, and winning the collisions will be a key thing for us and very difficult to do.

" We need to be brave and fast up on the tackle line but that is easier said than done. We have got really good skilful players and we don't want to get annihiliated in the physical contest. There is no point in setting unrealistic goals. We aim to remain competitive well into the second half and see what happens.

"The main thing is the team have worked very hard to get to Twickenham. The cup run has been good for the school.

"People outside Hampton knew us for football and rowing but rugby has been played here for 50 or 60 years and always popular, and reaching the final has increased our exposure.

"Having three sports at the school, with a free choice for the boys, means each of the teams is perhaps a little closer knit than normal. They worked hard for each other and that's what creates a good team spirit."

Also in action at Twickenham next Wednesday on Daily Mail RBS Schools finals day are The Leys and King's Macclesfield in the Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 15 Vase (11am), Judd school versus Millfield in the Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 15 Cup (12.30pm) and St Peter's Catholic HS, Gloucester v Truro College in the Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 18 Cup (3.30pm).

John Cleveland College's route to the final:

First Round: v Campion School walkover

Second Round: v Lutterworth GS 53-3

Third Round: v Woodlands School 45-8

Fourth Round: v King Edward VI, Aston 23-0

Fifth Round: v King Edward VI, Five Ways 28-7

Quarter-finals: v North Devon College 33-0

Semi-finals: v Giggleswick School 33-15

Hampton School's route to the final:

First round: v Isleworth & Syon 50-0

Second Round v Reed's 15-6

Third round: v Latymer Upper 25-3

Fourth round: v SEEVIC 17-14

Fifth round: v Cranbrook 20-0

Quarter-finals: v Sir Thomas Rich's School 12-7

Semi-finals: v King Edward VI, Stratford 52-19

Also in action at Twickenham next Wednesday on Daily Mail RBS Schools finals day are The Leys and King's Macclesfield in the Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 15 Vase (11am), Judd school versus Millfield in the Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 15 Cup (12.30pm) and St Peter's Catholic HS, Gloucester v Truro College in the Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 18 Cup (3.30pm).

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