Mar 29, 2020

U18 Schools Cup Final Preview: Warwick v Whitgift


The U18 Schools Cup final will see reigning back to back champions Warwick take on a Whitgift side that is looking to add to the Elliot Daly inspired U18 titles of 2010 and 2011.

Between the two schools, they have ten Schools Cup titles across U18 and U15 age groups, five each. When we talk of legends of the Schools Cup, these two schools are right at up near the top of that list.

The third title in a row for Warwick would elevate them into a very very special club indeed though. Only the great Colston’s side of the 1990s and Dulwich College’s 2012-2014 sides have ever won more than two in a row.

Already their achievement is extraordinary, especially when you look at it as a whole – across the U18 and U15 age-groups combined they have only once not been at Twickenham since 2013, in 2016.

In Whitgift though they face a side that knows all about Twickenham too. Back to back winners in 2010 and 2011, they returned again for U15 Cup glory last year, and while U18 finals may have been absent in more recent years, quarter and semi-finals have been frequent.

More pertinently, Whitgift is one of the very best teams in the country this year. Only Sedbergh and Wellington College have been them, and Sedbergh needed a last-second try to do it.

The real stat at play in terms of the actual game though is that these two have actually already met this season, back in mid-September at Warwick School. Whitgift took that one 23-19, which must send them into this final feeling good.

23-19 is close though, it could have gone either way, but it is a psychologically important result for Whitgift heading to Twickenham. That said, Warwick has all of that Twickenham experience to call upon, the experience will to faze them. In each of the last two finals, their ability to ignore the pressure of the big stage has been vital. If anything it has raised their game, their intensity in the defeat of QEGS Wakefield last year was genuinely extraordinary.

Warwick’s semi-final win was impressive, Woodhouse Grove is a top quality outfit yet Warwick looked in control for their 36-24 victory.

Whitgift though was outstanding against Marlborough College, a 57-15 victory perhaps suggesting that they, like Warwick, are unlikely to succumb to the pressures of the big stage.

What is sets us up for is a spectacular final, two of the great sides in the history of this competition, who appear unbelievably well matched this season. It could well come down to the most slender of margins.

What is clear though is that whatever happens, we will have a little bit of history, will Warwick be joining that most elite of Schools Cup sides by securing three in a row, or will it be Whitgift returning to the top of the U18 Cup tree? Either way, we will have quite the story on our hands.

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