Back row (from left): A Hutcherson, H Ledger, C Crane, G Merrick, L Robinson, G Smith, G Newman. Middle row: H Butler, O Dickerson, C Petschi, G Harding, E Daly, S Wright, J O’Sullivan, J McMillan. Front row: L Petrozzi, S Cooke, J Canty, T Nicholls (capt), N Francis, S Hugkulstone, B Razis.

WHITGIFT’S 45-24 defeat of Oakham in the Daily Mail-RBS U18 Cup final clinches the Team of the Month award for the Surrey school coached by Chris Wilkins.

They lost three close games in the course of the year but reeled off eight successive wins to retain the cup, which they won in 2010 by beating RGS Newcastle 34-10.

There were tough ties along the way, with the wins over John Fisher (18-17), Plymouth College (24-10) and Wilmslow HS in the semi (20-17) testament to the fighting spirit as well as the skill of a side well led by Tom Nicholls.

Fly-half Nicholls was one of eight players from the squad who had played in the 2010 final, the others full-back Chris Crane, wing James Canty, locks George Merrick and Leigh Robinson, the back row of Olly Dickerson, Harry Ledger and Herbie Butler, plus England U20 centre Elliot Daly.

The back row was a balanced unit that had few equals in England, strong and dynamic in the contact area, quick in support and aggressive in defence.
England U18 lock Merrick was a tower of strength whilst in Daly – a dual rugby and cricket international – Whitgift had a player who is certain to make a name for himself in senior rugby. His contribution to the cause was immense, his strong running, try-scoring and goalkicking feats a key factor on the cup road.

Check out April 2011’s School Team of the Month

This article appeared in the June 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine.

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