Trinity lift rugby’s National Cup after tense Twickenham final

South London’s dominance over schools rugby in England continues after Trinity School had its name engraved on to the National Schools Cup following a tense 15-10 win at Twickenham Stadium over Kirkham Grammar.

Try: Trinity go over for their third and decisive try against Kirkham at Twickenham. Photos: Andrew Fosker

The Croydon team were always in front, after scoring the first try within five minutes with their forward pack working together to drive the ball across the line.

But with the game played in atrocious conditions, with cold rain driving across the famous stadium, it put a premium on the boys’ handling skills and defensive work.

It is Trinity’s first win of this prestigious national under-18s competition. Wednesday’s final was the first to be played since 2019 because of covid. The last winners were their Croydon independent school rivals Whitgift, who also qualified for the 2020 final which could not be played because of the pandemic.

Trinity’s success brings to seven cup wins for schools from south London in the 11 finals played since 2010, in addition to Dulwich College (three) and Whitgift (three).

“We are so proud of everyone involved in Trinity Rugby,” said headmaster Alasdair Kennedy.

Paul Roberts, Trinity’s head of rugby, said, “While we would have loved to be playing in dry conditions at Twickenham, in some ways braving it out in the rain was the perfect ending.

Champions: Trinity’s first XV raise the National Schools’ Cup after Wednesday’s gruelling Twickenham final

“The team and their peers are as closely knit as any team I have ever been a part of, and they had to show that once again in the final.

“To see them win in difficult conditions against such tough opposition, with the support of their fellow pupils, parents and alumni in the stands, will be a memory that lasts a lifetime. The school has a special culture and the boys are a reflection of that.”

Trinity’s season had started in July 2021 with a training camp attended by more than 50 senior boys, and involved a tough run of cup games against some of the best sides in the country.

Trinity’s first XV were beaten just twice all season, and have been undefeated since October, with their cup run including a 22-10 win over Whitgift in the fourth round and a 29-12 semi-final success against Sherborne a fortnight ago.

“To beat an incredibly strong Kirkham team tops off what has been a tough cup run,” Ian Kench, Trinity’s director of sport, said.

“As a senior rugby programme we set out to create special memories and to provide a vehicle to make better men, and I really feel that this group have achieved this goal.

“It was a fantastic day for the Trinity community and I really hope this achievement inspires all in our community to continue their involvement in all sports.”

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