Skipper Tom Fawcett scored two tries as Warwick School secured an impressive 29-7 victory over long-time rivals Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (QEGS), Wakefield to retain their Under-18 Schools Cup title, writes Sophie Freestone.
The two schools have significant history in Schools Cup rugby with Warwick winning the under-15 title in 2013 and 2014 before QEGS beat them in the 2015 under-15 final.
This time around it was Warwick’s day, however, with director of rugby Tom Pierce tasting success in his first season in charge of the 1st XV.
Warwick showed the most intent in the opening stages with Chris David making a superb run up the right wing. The ball was then recycled, making its way to the left and centre Kieran Curren who powered his way over the line to give his side the lead with ten minutes on the clock.
Fly-half Fred Lowe’s conversion from out wide just shaded the posts under considerable pressure from a charging QEGS.
After an armwrestle in the middle of the park, QEGS entered the Warwick half but strong defence from the men in blue and white halted their advances.
The Wakefield side were building momentum but a well-executed interception from Lowe allowed Warwick to break into the QEGS 22. Quick recycling of the ball gave possession to Fawcett and the number eight charged towards the line for his side’s second of the afternoon. Lowe added the extras to give his side a 12-0 lead after 22 minutes.
QEGS responded well with winger Jacob Mounsey going over from close range just four minutes later. The West Yorkshire school’s pack won a five-metre lineout and edged closer to the line before Mounsey found space to go over. The conversion from fly-half Tom Stephenson closed the gap to five points.
Warwick then showed their counter-attacking prowess to reach the QEGS 22. Their forwards got to within inches of the line before substitute Alex Sabin picked up from the base of the ruck to burrow over and put his side ten points ahead as half-time approached.
The opening ten minutes of the second half saw QEGS gain territory and show their attacking intent but a penalty reversal and superb defence from Warwick prevented them from adding to their tally.
With 21 minutes remaining a penalty kick to touch gave Warwick possession deep into QEGS territory. The defending champions played with superb width and slick handling took them to within metres of the line. Man-of-the-match Fawcett then went unnoticed by the QEGS defence, scooping up the ball to touch down for his second of the match. Lowe’s successful conversion put Warwick into a commanding 24-7 lead.
Fawcett almost had a third, with the number eight charging towards the line only to be brought down five metres out.
It was not long before Warwick were back on the scoreboard, however, with prop Max Roberts barging over from a few metres out in the final moments of the match.