Trinity roar their way into second Twickenham cup final

Raw talent: Trinity forward Kane Fleary roars in delight as his side breaks the deadlock on their way to winning the RFU Schools Cup semi-final against Blundell’s last week

A Croydon school features in the showpiece finale to the rugby season for the fourth time in succession, with their three England call-ups bidding to retain the RFU Schools Cup. Semi-final photos by LEO WILKINSON

Trinity are back in Twickenham final action tomorrow, after a 21-10 semi-final win over Blundell’s.

Trinity play Midlands rugby powerhouse Oakham in the RFU National Schools Under-18 final.

It is the second year in succession that Trinity have reached the showpiece of the season, having won the trophy for the first time in the school’s history 12 months ago.

Teed up: Josh Bellamy kicks one of the conversions in the semi-final

Trinity have had to battle all the way to Twickenham.

After they dismissed the challenge of Croydon rivals Whitgift, seeing off the four-time cup-winners 40-15 in the regional knock-out stages, Trinity secured a gruelling, hard-won battle at Harrow in the quarter-finals before Christmas.

The Blundell’s game was no less demanding.

After a few missed opportunities, Trinity took the lead midway through the first half, when Max Farrell was put away by Conor Byrne to score in the corner.

Trinity should perhaps have added to their lead later in the half but some last-ditch Blundell’s defence and kept them at bay.

Roles were reversed to start the second half with Trinity being forced into some last-ditch defending of their own. With 20 minutes of the match remaining, Blundell’s held a 10-7 lead.

With both defences on top, Trinity dug deep, with Quinn Singh dotting down following a well-executed driving maul and Eddie Brown converting from close range to seal the victory.

Tomorrow marks the fourth RFU Schools Cup final in succession in which there has been a school from Croydon involved, after Whifgift won in 2019 and shared the covid cancelled 2020 final (there was no fixture in 2021).

Trinity are bidding to match Whitgift’s record of successive final victories, as achieved by the Elliot Daley and Lawrence Okoye (yes, the Olympic discus thrower) class of 2010 and 2011. In 2011, Oakham were the losing finallists. Tomorrow is Oakham’s first appearance in the Twickenham final since.

Burning pace: England U18 international Conor Byrne gets away from a Blundell’s defender

Having won at Harrow in the quarter-finals before Christmas, in a gripping clash between two of the country’s top-rated under-18 teams, probably sees Trinity make the journey to Twickenham as favourites.

The Trinity squad will also be buoyed by the announcement at the weekend of three of their backs in the England under-18s: Josh Bellamy, Lucas Friday and Conor Byrne, who already has six caps to his name at this level. All three play in Harlequins academy.

Oakham have their stand-out players, too, including Toby Cousins, a product of the Northampton Saints academy, who already has eight England caps at under-18 level.

The day of action at Twickenham kicks off at 12.30pm with the under-15s cup final, where Northampton School take on another south London public school, KCS Wimbledon – the alma mater of Lord Haw Haw, Buster Mottram and Nadhim Zahawi, though not of any sneior rugby players of note.

The under-18s cup final is due to start at 4pm. The match can be streamed live from Twickenham by clicking here.

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