Pocklington School u15s reach national NatWest Schools cup final

Pocklington School’s U15 rugby team are celebrating a fantastic achievement in making it all the way to the final of the inaugural NatWest Bowl national competition.

Pocklington secured their place after a clinical 24-0 victory in the semi-final over King’s Priory School, Tynemouth at Percy Park RFC.  Since October, Pocklington have advanced through the tournament, defeating Wolfreton, Richmond, Millthorpe, Birkdale and Clevedon school, scoring 199 points and conceding just 41.  Pocklington will face Beth’s Grammar School, from Bexley, south east London, in the final.  What has made this run of form something for the school to be especially proud of is the fact that the team won only two games in the entire previous season.

Elite Director of U15 Rugby, Gareth Hughes, said: “When we began working with this group of boys back in September we quickly established the basic fact that this team had talent but they had not been performing due to a number of reasons both rugby and non-rugby related.  Therefore, we decided to focus on team culture as a priority.  What motivates us?  Why are we playing the game?

“The players established their own code of conduct which they and the coaching staff had to abide by.  We have held routine performance feedback meetings and expected the pupils to self-analyse in front of one another.  Applying a set of principles which enable individuals to critique yet grow, learn and share and – most importantly – to put the players in charge of their destiny was crucial.  It was also important to have fun and enjoy the game again.  We are lucky to have a super coaching team working with these boys – most notably the inspirational U15 Head Coach and school’s Strength and Conditioning lead, Mr Wheeler.”

Jonathan Wheeler has also reflected on the development of the side: “This has been a massive journey for the boys.  They did not believe in themselves but now it is a side who exude a steely confidence and a will to win.  They are fit and strong but it is their togetherness that always impresses me.  Culture is paramount as is grit and resilience.  When this is combined with good work ethic and as much personalised coaching as can be established in a school environment then it underlines what can be achieved when you buy into a process.  Win or lose in the final, this team have written a new chapter in their rugby and school life.  They should be immensely proud of their achievement; we certainly are.”

The final is on Tuesday 28th March at the 12,000 capacity Sixways Stadium, home of the Worcester Warriors and will be streamed live on rfu.com.