Whitgift School has teams in the semi-finals of both the under-15 and under-18 age groups of the national schools rugby competition, an extraordinarily rare feat.
[Updated Feb 11. See below]
More than 500 schools from across England enter the competition each year, so to have teams reaching the final four in both age groups is a significant achievement for Whitgift’s head of rugby, Chris Wilkins.
Tom Nicholls’ under-18s side, the Daily Mail Cup holders after their victory at Twickenham last April, beat Plymouth College 24-10 in Devon.
They will now meet Wilmslow, from Cheshire, in the semi-finals at Broadstreet RFC in Coventry in the first week of March.
The under-15s (Year 10) squad from Woodhouse Grove School, Bradford, arrived in South Croydon yesterday afternoon unbeaten all season. They were sent on their long journey back to Yorkshire after a 27-15 defeat by the Whitgift boys, who include two Wasps Academy players in full-back Henry Cheeseman and flying flanker Lartey Laryea.
The last time that Whitgift reached the semi-finals of the under-15s’ Daily Mail Cup was in 2003, when their squad included a fly-half called Danny Cipriani.
They went on to win the cup that year, a repeat of the school’s under-15 victory in 1999. The Class of 2011 has much to live up to.
John Fisher School’s under-15s’ Daily Mail Cup quarter-final at RGS High Wycombe was played on Thursday afternoon, the Purley boys losing 25-0.