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Home > News > John Cleveland comeback secures Daily Mail U18 Vase
Your News John Cleveland comeback secures Daily Mail U18 Vase

Hampton School 15 John Cleveland College 23

Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 18 Vase final, Twickenham Stadium

Harlequins director of rugby Dean Richards was a happy spectator as his old school John Cleveland College carried off the Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 15 Vase at Twickenham Stadium.

Richards, the former Leicester Tigers, England and British & Irish Lions No.8, took time out from preparing for his club's Guinness Premiership match against Worcester this evening (Wednesday) to watch John Cleveland - from Hinckley in Leicestershire - come from behind after trailing 12-6 at half-time.

The win was a sweet return to the home of England Rugby for John Cleveland; seven of their players were in the U15 team defeated in the cup final here three years ago. "Those players' experience was passed on to the other boys who were here for the first time," said Dave Heybrock, master in charge of rugby. "But the truth was they were all pretty nervous. We were disappointed to have lost in the early rounds of the U15 Cup, as we felt we had a chance to win it, but we put that one defeat aside and this has made up for it."

Hampton had made the short journey to Twickenham with confidence after a 52-19 semi-final win over King Edward VI, Stratford, and the school which also has a fine reputation in football and rowing took the lead when quick passing from fly half Zafar Ansari and full back Joe Grindle made a try for inside centre Brook Driver at the right hand corner. Driver added the tricky conversion.

The early lineouts were rarely won cleanly, and John Cleveland's danger man - Manu Tuilagi, the sixth of the rugby-playing brothers from the famous Samoan family - did not see much of the ball. Full back Joe Glover landed a penalty for John Cleveland but a kick to the corner spelled danger for 'JCC' and, at the lineout, Hampton's Scottish Exiles lock Fraser Wem palmed the ball to loose-head prop Josef Wasinski who crashed over for a 12-3 lead.

John Cleveland reduced the deficit to six points with a 30 metre dropped goal by fly half Ryan Oakes in first-half added time and that gave them heart for the second half, as they pegged Hampton back and Tuilagi - a member of the England Under 18 squad - had two dangerous runs, forcing the play into Hampton's 22. In almost a carbon-copy of Wasinski's try, nine minutes into the second half on the same spot, the ball was fed from a lineout to John Cleveland prop Jack Loveday who powered over, with Glover converting.

In front for the first time, John Cleveland kept up the pressure and Tuilagi scored three minutes later, sprinting on to a cross-kick from Oakes to take the ball on the bounce and race away from his opposite number, Jack Palmer. Another Glover conversion made it 20-12 to John Cleveland, and Tuilagi made a try-saving tackle on John-Henry Smith. But Hampton - who had lost influential flanker Callum Burke injured in the first half - were not done yet, and a penalty by Driver and a yellow card to Glover with 10 minutes showing on the clock kept the result in the balance.

With normal time up, Driver - who had missed earlier from long range - landed a penalty goal from the 22 and Hampton still had hope. They knocked on, though, when trying to run the restart back, and conceded two penalties in quick succession, in the scrum and for hands in a ruck. With Glover still in the sin-bin, Oakes missed the first, then the full back trotted back on to convert the final kick and send John Cleveland's supporters into delirium.

"We must give a lot of credit to Hampton," said Heybrock. "It was a very tense last few minutes." Stephen List, the John Cleveland captain, said: "I am proud of all our lads, we showed a lot of heart to come back."

The Hampton captain, Morgan Browne, said: "All season we have had that never-say-die attitude, and we gave our all again but it turned out it wasn't enough." And fly half Ansari joined his skipper in congratulating John Cleveland, adding: "The adrenaline buzz when we ran out of the tunnel at Twickenham and heard the support behind us was incredible, we have really enjoyed the day."

Hampton School: J Grindle; D Gyandoh, J-H Smith, B Driver, J Palmer; Z Ansari, O Parker; J Wasinski, J Edwards, T Williamson, A Pollock, F Wem, M Powell, C Burke, M Browne (capt).

Replacements: E Allinson, S Lumsden, B Hopkinson, M Ward, T Brocket, S Boatman, S Girdwood.

Tries: Driver, Wasinski; con: Driver; pen: Driver.

John Cleveland College: J Glover; M Tuilagi, J Hyde, S List (capt), B Bonnin-Ward; R Oakes, T Cox; J Loveday, D Parr, R Bower, R Moore, W Sansome, T Morris, G Oliver, M Nurse.

Replacements: M Robinson, E Moule, W Allard, J Rowan, J Chamberlain, S Crooks, N Oatridge.

Tries: Loveday, Tuilagi; cons: Glover 2; pens: Glover 2; drop: Oakes.

Referee: L Pearce.

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