Epic encounters in schools' rugby cup semi finals
By Laura Taylor, Mar 9 2020 01:42PM
Two stunning fightbacks saw Whitgift and Warwick reach the final of the RFU National Schools U18 Cup.
Reigning champions Whitgift were 20-7 down to Sherborne School in the second half of their semi-final clash.
But after clawing back the deficit to 23-21 with just two minutes to go, full back Ben Fitzgerald kicked a vital penalty to give his Surrey side victory and devastate the large home crowd.
It was a similar situation at Northampton School for Boys who held a 23-20 lead over Warwick School with just minutes to go.
However tries from Elliot Tanner and a last-gasp score from William Banfield saw the Midlands powerhouse win 32-23 and secure their fourth U18 final in four years.
Northampton – the only state school left in the competition and backed by 1,500 fans – were left deflated but proud of a massively successful season.
Another incredible semi-final – this time in the U15 cup – saw Ivybridge Community College secure their place in the final by the narrowest of margins.
After drawing 22-22 with Harrow School, the Devon side but went through having scored the first points of the game.
After going 5-0 and 12-3 up, their public school visitors rallied to lead 17-12 at half-time. But a remarkable comeback saw Ivybridge tie it up at 17-17 and then 22-22 to go through to Twickenham on the new RFU rule.
It’s the first time a Devon school has reached the U15 cup final and proved the first defeat in two years for the current national sevens champions.
Their opponents in the showpiece final will be Stowe School, who proved just too strong for Oakham School, winning 15-5.
Both the U18 and U15 final will take place at Twickenham on Thursday March 19.
Entries for the inaugural School Sport Magazine National Schools U14 Rugby Cup have opened. Enter by emailing [email protected] or visiting www.schoolsportmag.co.uk
(For full reports on the finals, check out the next edition of School Sport Magazine next month)