After a 15–7 victory over St Paul’s School, Barnes in the quarter-final of the England Rugby Schools Champions Trophy, we caught up with the captain and vice-captain of the victorious Bristol Grammar School First XV…
“After a nice rest and relaxing break over half-term, we prepared well with two good training sessions on Monday and Tuesday, enabling us to concentrate on our set piece, defensive principles and options in attack. It all came together well and the team spirit before the game was high! With wins over Eton College (33–10) and Bryanston School (46–17), we were relishing prospect of our Champions Trophy quarterfinal versus St Paul’s School.
We started well in horrible, wet conditions – typical of Failand! St Paul’s put us under a lot of pressure and we found ourselves defending for large parts of the first half. Camped on our own line, the team defence was heroic and we stuck at it well. Just before the end of the half, after relentless work from the St Paul’s forwards, we finally conceded a try, to go into half time only seven points down. We had a great player-led discussion during the break – we knew how to play the second half and had the desire and belief to pull it back and win the game.
In the second half we put St Paul’s under a lot of pressure and came away with fifteen unanswered points. It was, once again, a huge defensive effort from every player out there. Without doubt, Tom Q’s drop goal from 45 metres out, against the run of play, was a turning point in the game. It took St Paul’s by surprise, put our first points on the board, and gave us the platform to build on.
Both BGS tries were very similar, with a forward-dominated approach in the wet and muddy conditions. Great passages of play allowed Hugh R and Sam M to pick and go from the base of rucks and burrow over for the decisive scores. This is certainly where we found we were strongest, but it was also backed up with flowing play from our back line.
Great credit must go to St Paul’s, Barnes who were brilliant opponents and played such a competitive cup clash – it was a well-spirited match-up, with two very even teams and a fantastic advert for schoolboy rugby.
Looking ahead to the draw for the Schools Cup Champions Trophy semi-final (Friday 9 Nov at midday), we strongly feel that if we are on form we can beat anyone. We would love a home draw; home advantage is something that we fell could profit from. Having said that we wouldn’t mind an away trip, it could be quite fun!
We are back to regular season fixtures on Saturday, welcoming The King’s School, Worcester to Failand for what will be another tough game against strong opposition. No doubt there will be some tired bodies, recovering from this tough encounter – whole squad rotation will be important, with every boy playing their part. Simply, we will keep doing what we have been doing so far this season and hopefully continue our winning ways.
A huge thank you to all the pupils, staff, parents and supporters who came up to Failand to cheer us on, we hope you all continue to support us on our journey this season”.
Hugh R and Abe T
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