Possible stars of future on show

SUFFOLK rugby fans will once again get the chance to catch a glimpse of the next generation of international stars this weekend when St Joseph's College hosts its annual National Schools Rugby Festival.

Stuart Watson

SUFFOLK rugby fans will once again get the chance to catch a glimpse of the next generation of international stars this weekend when St Joseph's College hosts its annual National Schools Rugby Festival.

Now in its 22nd year, the festival aims to bring together 16 of the best rugby playing school and colleges from across the country that would not normally get the chance to play each other.

The Ipswich-based hosts not only line up against the likes of fellow fee-paying public schools, such as Millfield (Somerset) and Dulwich College (South London), but also top-class rugby playing state schools such Filton (Bristol) and Truro (Cornwall).


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The result is that Suffolk rugby fans are more than likely to witness at least one or two future international stars in action.

In the past, Olly Barkley, Tom Rees, Matt Dawson and Mike Tindall have all lined up on the St Joseph's College fields for their respective schools before going on to represent England at World Cups just years later.

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This weekend, England scrum-half Peter Richards - who was educated at Suffolk's Royal Hospital School - will be present on Sunday to award the De La Salle Cup to the winners.

St Joseph's College principal Sian Grant said: “Our main aim with the festival is not only to celebrate schoolboy rugby, but also to provide the boys with the opportunity of playing in a highly competitive and professional environment.

“This is made possible by the expertise and high calibre of referees supplied by the London Division of rugby referees.

“The festival reflects the hard work and commitment of the players and their coaches and I am pleased that we are able to celebrate the very high quality of play, self-discipline and sportsmanship which will be displayed.”

The event, which will run from 9am to 4.20pm tomorrow and 8.50am to 3pm on Sunday, is very much catered for the spectator with quad biking and an indoor full swing golf simulator available.

This year the tournament is being sponsored by family-owned transport and logistics group Online Roadways.

Chief executive Steve O'Leary said: “Over the past three years we have been a minor sponsor of the festival and are now pleased to step-up our support. We are privileged to have been chosen as the main sponsor of such an important event.”

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