Rugby World's schools correspondent Huw S Thomas picks his top XV from the 2013-14 season – and hands out his Player of the Year award
All Stars Team of the Year 2013-2014
OUR XV rewards those players who not only played well individually but were outstanding team men. Selection was difficult – how to choose for example between four very talented full-backs in Ali Needen (Dulwich), Ben Magee (Woodhouse Grove), Ben Nethersole (Bedford) and Johnny McPhillips (Sedbergh) and six terrfic scrum-halves in Tom Whiteley (Millfield) Alex Mitchell (Lymm HS), Ben Pointon (Rughy), Patrick King (Wellington College), Jack Maplesden (Woodhouse Grove) and Akira Takenaka (Hampton)?
This was our final choice:
15. Ali Needen (Dulwich) – points machine
14. George Wacokecoke (St Joseph’s, Ipswich) – powerful finisher
13. Sam Arnold (Cranleigh) – outstanding midfield presence
12. Matt Gilsenan (St Michael’s, Dublin) – goalkicker and line breaker
11. Will Bailey (Clayesmore) – Lambs’ leading try-scorer
10. Seaghan Davey (John Fisher CS) – great touch and feel for the game
9. Tom Whiteley (Millfield) – brilliant sevens performances to finish great season
1. James Lasis (Brighton College) – superb work-rate but also great tackler
2. Dafydd Hughes (Llandovery College) – dynamic in the loose
3. James Fish (Trent College) – unstoppable from close range
4. Stan South (Whitgift) – hard-working team man
5. Charlie Farmer (Sedbergh) – Mr Consistency
6. Ollie Lyons (Bedford) – go-forward expert
7. Joe Blake (Warwick) – fearless scrapper
8. Nick Timoney (Blackrock College) – big, strong, intelligent
Player of the Year – Tom Whiteley (Millfield)
Tom Whiteley moved from full-back to scrum-half in the middle of the Christmas term and the change of position had an immediate impact on his side’s fortunes.
Whiteley struck up a great half-back partnership with his skipper Callum Sheedy, his quick service and sniping runs bringing a new dimension to the Millfield attack.
But it was his performances on the sevens circuit that marked him out as a special talent. His beautifully balanced running and ability to run in tries from his own line allied to some astonishing covering work in defence, were the highlights of the schools rugby year.
To find out which school won our Team of the Year award and for a round-up of news from the schools circuit, see the July 2014 edition of Rugby World – on sale Tuesday 3 June.