On Wednesday, the 1st XV Rugby squad took on Emanuel School under the lights at Rosslyn Park, competing for The Abbott Cup. Tyler Weekes (Upper Sixth), who captained the team, has produced a match report below.
‘It was a pleasure to play under the lights in front of a crowd, and a great privilege for all the boys. The team’s energy was huge in the lead up to the game and started to rise as we watched our 2nd XV play before us, setting us up for what we knew would be a physical and close encounter.
We received the first kick-off, to which we played out how we have practised, with setting up a ruck on the blindside, and releasing pressure from a box kick, to which we chased and applied lots of pressure, for them to kick it back to us. With slick hands and picking off the defenders, Oscar Vas (Upper Sixth) ran the first try of the match and started the game exactly how we wanted.
We were then able to replicate the first kick-off, where we were able to release pressure, and create a penalty opportunity due to a turnover ball, to which Luke Beaumont (Lower Sixth), who was on top form throughout the night, took points in order to maintain our standards of how we want to play in cup Rugby and stay on top of the opposition.
Our dominant and assertive play was constant throughout and we were able to break down the defence to maintain the win – coming away with four tries from Alfie Jarret (Lower Sixth), Jasper Benson (Upper Sixth) and a second from Oscar. Luke added on some extra penalty points through his kicking game, leaving us with 34 points at the end of the first half. Emanuel racked up some points in the first half through some silly disciplinary errors, allowing them to finish halftime with 13 points.
The boys knew that we needed to put a strong performance in for the second half, to which Emanuel would respond hard, with some good runs and line breaks. We were having to hold strong in defence, with some excellent tackles from Jacob Ray (Upper Sixth) and Barnaby Merrett (Lower Sixth) and we were able to battle them to keep winning the ball back.
We were able to stay on top of them for much of the second half, with our kicking game dramatically improving from previous games, which I think is a testament to the 1st XV and the hard work that we have all continued to put in to make sure our game is Vase-winning standard and to take us to Twickenham.
The game was almost at a standstill gridlock for 15 minutes into the second half, where there were numerous penalties and very start-stop, which did not aid our free-flowing Rugby style. However, we were able to respond to this within the last 20 minutes of the game, allowing us to score some phenomenal tries and converted penalties from Luke pushing us into the lead.
With some unfortunate penalties against us resulting in two yellow cards, we were down to 13 men, for the final nine minutes of the game which meant we had to battle our way right to the end, and with some beautifully placed kicks and great defensive work, we were able to hold constant pressure out until the final whistle of the game – finishing with an impressive 52-13 win.
We will be looking at ways to improve and get prepared for our upcoming games but well done to the 1st and 2nd XV who both played some outstanding rugby, and we are looking forward to the next round of the National Vase competition next week against The Skinners’ School.’