QEGS Wakefield Under-15s fell at the last hurdle to lose 31-8 to Wellington College in the National School’s Cup Final at Twickenham.
Large crowds, a fantastic atmosphere and all at the home of English rugby – as far as finals go, for any rugby player aged 15 and under, this is the pinnacle.
The build up for the match started well away from the capital, as QEGS supporters converged at 6:30am to embark on the four hour coach journey down to Twickenham Stadium. Despite the early start, there was a buzz in the air.
In the pouring rain Wellington College got the game underway. A couple of strong early carries from QEGS seemed to settle any potential big stage nerves but were eventually penalised for over playing deep in their own half as Wellington won an early penalty. Opting not to take the kickable penalty goal, they instead chose to kick to the corner. From the resulting line-out, the sizeable Wellington forwards stayed patient before powering over from short range to open the try scoring.
QEGS responded well though, eventually working their way up the field where they won a penalty in Wellington’s half. Opting to kick for goal, it was Will Hunter, shifted inside a position after usual fly-half and captain, Lance Barker was ruled out of the final with concussion, who was given the goal kicking duties. A great strike brought QEGS three points and a roar from the on-looking crowd. With only six minutes on the clock, the final was in full swing.
It looked like the scoreboard wasn’t going to be troubled again in the first half as the wet conditions began to play its part on both teams’ handling. However, minutes before the break, Wellington went over again. Having applied serious pressure to the QEGS line, their patience eventually paid off as they were able to work multiple phases before scoring through their towering second-row.
In the second half, both sides landed a try each. Wellington’s came from some great play from their number 14 to dive in in the corner before QEGS responded to keep themselves in the tie. A penalty kick to the corner led to a lineout on the Wellington 5m line. A feature throughout the season, QEGS were once again able to set their driving maul and muscle themselves over through semi-final try scorer, Rufus Helm.
Any chance of a comeback was then snuffed out as Wellington’s power and size began to take its toll on a tiring QEGS defence and despite a colossal effort to keep them at bay, Wellington scored a succession of unanswered tries to just take the match out of QEGS’ reach.
The final score finishing QEGS 8 – 31 Wellington College.
Although they fell short on the day, this Under-15 squad has delivered an absolutely outstanding season. They can be proud of being the second best team in the country, a title that can’t be contested having beaten Sedbergh, St Peter’s York, Warwick and Ipswich school on their way to the final – arguably the toughest cup run the school has ever faced.
Hold your heads up high boys, it’s been a monumental effort from everyone involved.
We should finish this piece with one final thank you to everyone who has provided support for the boys throughout the season. Parents and guardians, staff, coaches and the pupils, you have all contributed massively to the team’s success and we hope you have enjoyed the journey with them.
This time it wasn’t to be, but one thing you can say about this school… we will definitely be back!