Mar 29, 2020

U18 & U15 Schools Vase Semi Final Previews


This weekend sees Allianz Park host the U18 and U15 Schools Cup and Vase semi-finals. 

Saturday will see the U18s take centre stage, with the Vase fixtures kicking off first, 11 am and 1 pm, ahead of the Cup games at 3 pm and 5 pm. Then on Sunday the U15s take over, with the U15 Vase starting at 10.30am followed by the second semi-final at 12.15pm, with the U15 Cup semifinals at 2 pm and 3.45pm.

We will cover the U18 and U15 Cup semi-finals elsewhere, here the focus is on the U18 and U15 Schools Vase semi-finals.


U18 Schools Vase Semi-Finals: 

Samuel Whitbread v Worksop College – Saturday, 11 am, Allianz Park 


Samuel Whitbread (Midlands A)

Quarter Final: 45-5 v Newcastle School for Boys

Last 16: 20-7 v Aylesbury Grammar

Round 4: 20-3 at Bishop’s Stortford College

Round 3: 27-0 v St George’s Harpenden

Round 2: 97-0 v Sir John Lawes

Round 1: w/o at North Hertfordshire College

Worksop College (North B)

Quarter Final: 15-3 v Bishop Vesey’s Grammar

Last 16: 44-14 v Austin Friars

Round 4: 53-7 v Bolton

Round 3: 55-0 at Birkdale

Round 2: Bye

Round 1: 64-0 at Wales High School


Samuel Whitbread and Worksop College will kick off the weekend’s semi-final action when they run out for their 11 am kick off at Allianz Park. For Samuel Whitbread, it kicks off the start of a spectacular weekend, for their U15s are also in action at Allianz Park in the own Vase semi on Sunday.

This U18 Samuel Whitbread group has plenty of experience to draw on, last year they reached final of the U18 Bowl, where they lost to an excellent St George’s College side. This is a step up though, the Vase is the big brother of the Bowl and Allianz Park will be bouncing. In Worksop College, they face a side that breezed through their North B section of the draw and has played some sensational rugby all year.

They were tested in the quarterfinals by a good Bishop Vesey’s side but came through without conceding a try, 15-3. Indeed in this Vase run, Worksop has only 24 points across five games. Samuel Whitbread has been even more miserly in defence, conceding just fifteen points, including only five in their quarter-final against Newcastle School for Boys, where they scored 45 of their own.

Both sides are ready for this one and it is going to be a massive game, with the huge carrot of an appearance at Twickenham Stadium the reward.


Dauntsey’s v Hayes – Saturday, 1 pm, Allianz Park 


Hayes (London & South East B)

Quarter Final: 16-15 v St George’s College, Weybridge

Last 16: 24-13 at Dartford Grammar

Round 4: 31-0 v Cardinal Newman

Round 3: 24-17 v Sutton Valence

Round 2: 77-19 v St Olave’s Grammar

Round 1: 19-10 at Chislehurst & Sidcup

Dauntsey’s (South West A)

Quarter Final: 20-10 v The Oratory

Last 16: 17-8 at Plymouth College

Round 4: 33-5 at St Laurence

Round 3: 57-6 at Warminster

Round 2: Bye

Round 1: 51-5 at Sheldon


The other semifinal, kicking off at 1 pm, is massive too, Hayes v Dauntsey’s. These two sides were both knockouts last year but a Langley side that swept all before them en route to winning the Vase last year. With Langley in the Cup this year though, these two have taken advantage in style.

For Dauntsey’s it is the second year in a row at Allianz Park for a Vase semi-final, last time was not a great experience for them given Langley’s performance, but the sheer experience of having been there could be beneficial. Their progress has been impressive, up against some good sides such as Plymouth College and The Oratory, they have come through sharply.

So too, though, have Hayes. Hayes is a remarkable story, just a couple of years ago few outside of their local area would have heard of them. Now though they are a fast-rising force, barely losing any games in the last couple of years, and just this week with two players named in the England Counties U18 squad.

They have had a tough route through in the Vase, not least in the quarterfinals against the reigning Bowl champions, St George’s Weybridge, but they have answered every question asked of them, winning that one 16-15 to add to victories over other big contenders such as Dartford Grammar and Sutton Valence.

Choosing between the two is a real challenge, which ought to mean that we are set up for a truly fantastic game of rugby on Saturday early afternoon.


U15 Schools Vase Semi-Finals: 

Arden Academy v Samuel Whitbread – Sunday, 10.30am, Allianz Park


Arden Academy (Midlands A)

Quarter Final: 22-13 at Ullswater

Last 16: 19-7 v Bishop of Hereford

Round 4: 46-0 v Welland Park

Round 3: 36-0 v Bablake

Round 2: 50-0 at Fairfax

Round 1: 50-0 at Kenilworth

Samuel Whitbread (Midlands B)

Quarter Final: 62-10 v King’s Grantham

Last 16: 12-0 v Saffron Walden

Round 4: 34-5 at St Columba’s College

Round 3: 31-7 at St George’s, Harpenden

Round 2: 50-0 at Hitchin

Round 1: 50-0 v Knights Templar


The U15 Schools Vase semi-finals start with Arden Academy v Samuel Whitbread at 10.30am on Sunday. For Samuel Whitbread, it will be an interesting one, a day after their U18s face Worksop College in the U18 version of the same tournament at the same stadium. Will they be impacted by the result of that 1st XV game?

Judging by their results so far, nothing should phase them. In six games they have conceded just 22 games. They only time they have really been truly tested was in the last 16 where they beat Saffron Walden 12-0. However, they backed that up with a stunning 62-10 quarterfinal victory. This is a serious side.

So too are Arden Academy though, they strolled through the first four rounds of their Midlands A section conceding zero points and scoring over 180 of their own. The last 16 and quarterfinal brought slightly stiffer tests though they still came through them well, 19-7 and 22-13.

It feels like it should be a spectacular game, at the moment Samuel Whitbread is carrying a lot of momentum with two sides both in these semifinals, but come kick off on Sunday morning, that will count for little.


Dartford Grammar v Cardinal Newman, Sunday, 12.15pm, Allianz Park


Dartford Grammar (London & South East B)

Quarter Final: 19-14 at Forest School

Last 16: 26-12 v Robert Clack

Round 4: 41-22 v UCS

Round 3: 32-10 v Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar

Round 2: 48-5 v Hurstmere

Round 1: 50-0 at Beth’s Grammar


Cardinal Newman (London & South East A)

Quarter Final: 14-10 v Penryn College

Last 16: 12-7 v St Clement Danes

Round 4: 29-24 at Reigate Grammar

Round 3: 12-5 v Warden Park

Round 2: 50-0 v Shoreham Academy

Round 1: 50-0 v Blatchington Mill


The other semifinal kicks off at 12.15pm and features two sides that have been playing excellent rugby, Dartford Grammar and Cardinal Newman. Both sides have really had to scrap hard to reach these semi-finals, Cardinal Newman breezed through the opening two rounds before a tough 12-5 win over Warden Park.

Since then they have really had to work for each victory, winning a thriller at Reigate Grammar in round 4, 29-24, before a tight 12-7 victory over St Clement Danes in the Last 16 and a 14-10 victory in the quarterfinals over last year’s Bowl semi-finalists, Penryn College.

Those tight games should prepare them for the high-pressure stage that is Allianz Park and the semi-finals though, tight games are the closest you get to the pressure that will be felt on Sunday.

Dartford Grammar has been made to work too though, like Cardinal Newman they came through the first two simply enough but have had to work since. Chislehurst & Sidcup upped the ante a bit in Round 3, with Dartford winning 32-10, before tries galore in a 41-22 game against UCS. Then came the big test, 26-12 v Robert Clack in the last 16 and a really tough 19-14 victory away at Forest School in the quarterfinals.

Passing those big tests is massive for both sides, who will surely take huge confidence from overcoming those obstacles, setting up for a superb game on Sunday.

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