Brighton College take top honours at St Joseph’s College Rugby Festival
The 31st annual St Joseph’s College Rugby Festival saw Brighton College capture the De La Salle Trophy at the weekend, writes Angus Savage.
The south coast side, which last year had Harlequins’ sensation Marcus Smith at the helm, lost in dramatic circumstances to Cranleigh in 2016, drawing 10-10 in the final but losing on try count back.
This year they faced the most successful side in the tournament’s history, Millfield School, who have produced current England internationals Chris Robshaw, Mako Vunipola, and Jonathan Joseph, in the final.
But Brighton were unfazed by such history, putting in one of the most sensational final performances in this tournament’s history, leading 31-0 at half time and finishing 38-12 victors.
Home side St Joseph’s College enjoyed a successful weekend too. They won three out of three on the opening day and faced a tough cup group on Sunday, with Millfield, Merchiston Castle, and RGS Newcastle for company.
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Early defeats to RGS Newcastle and Scotsmen Merchiston Castle ended St Joseph’s title ambitions but, in front of a passionate home crowd, they secured a memorable result in their final game of the day, beating eventual finalists Millfield 10-5.
St Joseph’s Director of Sport, Anthony O’Riordan, felt the tournament had once again lived up to its history. He said: “It has been an outstanding success across the board, with some great rugby played by all teams.
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“For us at St Joseph’s it has been great, winning all three games on the opening day to reach the Cup stage for the first time in three years. Beating Millfield in our last game was a real achievement and we are just really proud of the boys.”
It was a sentiment shared by all, with good team play and exciting rugby the order of the weekend. Alongside Brighton, QEGS Wakefield also picked up silverware, beating Eltham College to win the Plate, while Brighton secured a clean sweep of personal awards - Toby Smith winning Player of the Tournament and Jon Searle Try of the Tournament.
The Festival, one of the highlights of the Suffolk sporting calendar, is regarded as one of the very best tournaments in schoolboy rugby.