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14th December 2021

Rugby returns to Oakham School

After a year’s absence, rugby fixtures made a triumphant return this term with inter-school fixtures once again taking place, the 1st XV enjoying a fantastic cup run, the U11s uncovering a love for the game, and OOs making the headlines.

After a disappointing start to the season with narrow defeats to Rugby School and Sedburgh School, the 1st XV have enjoyed an excellent season with convincing wins against Oundle School (22-0), Bedford School (19-50), Stamford School (43-0) and Uppingham School (20-45), putting Oakham ahead of close rivals Uppingham in the series with 26 wins to 25. The 1st XV have also thrived in the National Cup making it to the quarter-finals of the competition with impressive performances against Northampton School for Boys, Moulton College and Rugby School, before unfortunately slipping to defeat against the strong Barnard Castle School. 1st XV captain Oliver said: “The dedication that the boys have shown in all aspects of training, on and off the field, has been firmly reflected in the success that this team has had. Reaching the national cup quarter-finals is no small feat and everybody involved should be immensely proud.”

There was also success for the 2nd and 3rd XV squads, who finish the season undefeated. The U16s and U15s have experienced mixed fortunes this year, however, wins against Gresham’s School, Oundle School and Welland Park Academy mean that they end the season on a positive note as pupils head home for Christmas. In other news the U14s are on an undefeated run, following 3 consecutive losses at the beginning of their campaign.

In the U11s and U12s, Lower School pupils have been busy learning the game of rugby, some for the first time. U11 player, Fraser, said: “At first I was worried about playing rugby, but now I love the quick pace of the game and have been developing into a stronger player throughout the season – but most of all I love getting muddy!”; whilst teammate Pas said: “the challenges of rugby and building new friendships is something I’ve enjoyed most this season.” The Lower School have had a great first season, with the highlight being the U11’s 100-point win over Stoneygate School.

We look forward to seeing the progress of all our players, especially those who have joined the Leicester Tigers Academy for this year; we wish Oliver, Ben, Dan and Felix the best of luck as they look to follow in the footsteps of fellow OOs Jack Van Poortvliet (’19) and Jacob Cusick (’21).

Jacob scored a try on his Leicester Tigers 1st team debut earlier in the season, meanwhile his teammate Jack made headlines as the England U20s Captain when he led the side to Grand Slam glory in their Six Nations Tournament 2021, also picking up Player of the Tournament in the process. Alongside this, Jack has played a pivotal role in Leicester Tigers’ so far unbeaten campaign at scrum-half. One recent match saw Jack captain the Tigers against fellow OO Sam Wolstenholme (’17), who was captaining opposition side Wasps.

Other OOs who are making rugby news include: Alex Goode (’06), who has made appearances for Saracens in the Premiership; Sam Costelow (’19), who has made appearances for Scarlets; Jed Gelderbloom (’21), who has been playing for Edinburgh and Harry Glynn (’20) for La Rochelle.

Lastly, following his tour with the British and Irish Lions in South Africa, international rugby star Hamish Watson (’10) revisited his former School to donate two of his Lions jerseys as a thank you for the School’s role in his career. The first shirt he dedicated to his former mentor, legendary rugby coach, Ian Smith, and he also donated a Lions and Scotland Jersey to the School.

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