King's Sixth Form

27 October

King’s attend the National School’s Rugby Festival

During the first weekend of half term, a 25-man senior rugby squad travelled to Ipswich to attend the annual National Schools’ Rugby Festival, hosted by St. Joseph’s College.

It was the first time King’s had been invited to the prestigious festival, which regularly sees the top rugby schools in the country go head to head. Our debut at the tournament couldn’t have been more difficult as we were drawn against rugby powerhouses Millfield, Brighton College and hosts, St. Joseph’s.

The festival is played over a two-day period where you play everyone in your group on the first day in a round-robin format. After a close 5-0 loss to the hosts in our first game, it was going to be tough going as we faced Millfield and Brighton later that day. The squad put in two strong performances against both but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to secure the win, meaning we finished bottom of our pool.

The next day we played Cheltenham College, who finished third in their pool. A few sore bodies and a 9:30 am kick-off didn’t work in our favour and we sadly lost 10-5, meaning we were in the Bowl competition. The squad then found their form and comprehensively beat Eltham College to reach the final, where we would once again face St. Joseph’s. Our initial group proved to be the toughest in the festival, as Millfield and Brighton also played off in the final of the main competition.

Without a doubt, the final of the Bowl was our best performance of the festival and we put in a near-perfect performance to lead 5-0 at the break. A lapse in concentration allowed St. Joseph’s to level the game and 5-5 was the final score-line. To decide the winner, the game then went to penalty kicks and, after missing our first kick, we lost 5-4 in a heart-breaking fashion.

Even though it was disappointing to come away without a trophy, the whole squad performed brilliantly all weekend. The intensity and quality of rugby played at the National Schools’ Rugby Festival was unlike anything we have seen before and at no stage did we look out of place. It was great for the boys to be able to experience this and having around 500 people watching every game will be something they never forget. We hope to make this an annual event moving forwards.

Foundation Director of Sport, Mr Mason, says of the experience, ‘The King’s squad were outstanding throughout in their application and work rate and it was fantastic to see so many players get the opportunity to test themselves at this level. I was hugely impressed with the determination shown by every member of the squad. I would like to thank all those that made the long journey to support the team and the effort that was made to be heard when playing St Jo’s! ‘