Schools celebrate 'top class' performances at rugby festival

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman

School teams from across England have shown "top class" ability and sportsmanship during a hard-fought weekend of rugby. 

St Joseph's College, in Belstead Road, hosted its annual National Schools Rugby Festival this weekend after a year's hiatus due to the pandemic. 

Crowds cheered on the teams across Saturday and Sunday, with Millfield School emerging as the overall festival winner.

But the Ipswich hosts did not leave empty-handed taking home the festival's shield. 

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Ball boys Fin, Joesph, Charlie and Seb Pictures: Brittany Woodma

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Ball boys Fin, Joesph, Charlie and Seb Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

The competition, now in its 35th year, welcomed new entries including Cheltenham College and Kings School, Worcester, among the 16 teams taking part. 

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Sarah Edwards, Director of Admissions, Marketing and Communicati

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Sarah Edwards, Director of Admissions, Marketing and Communications Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

Sarah Edwards, director of admissions, marketing and communication, said across the weekend everyone has enjoyed "top class rugby" as well as "top class sportsmanship".

She added: "St Joseph's festival has a special place in many people's hearts. 

"We are particularly delighted to bring everyone back together after a hiatus from Covid." 

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Former students Alex Milnes, Jamie Colcomb, Graham Ford and Josh

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Former students Alex Milnes, Jamie Colcomb, Graham Ford and Josh Davey. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Ball boys. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Ball boys. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

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Prior to the festival, Anthony O’Riordan, director of sport at St Joseph’s College, said; "We have endured all sorts of challenges in our professional and personal lives.

"I cannot put into words how proud and humbled I am by the role our festival plays in the lives of so many young people.

"Colleges from across the UK have sent messages wishing us luck and celebrating the return to normal.

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Tom Hunt, MP for Ipswich, Nadia Cenci, Ipswich Borough Council

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Tom Hunt, MP for Ipswich, Nadia Cenci, Ipswich Borough Council and Perry Glading Chair of Governers for St Joesph's Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

St Josephs College Rugby Festival. Students Immy Cerely, Oskar and Mariom Pope. Pictures: Brittany W

St Josephs College Rugby Festival. Students Immy Cerely, Oskar and Mariom Pope. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Students Tom Sharmanm, Errol Peirson, Gerorge Cooke, Eddie Lolly

St Joseph's College Rugby Festival. Students Tom Sharmanm, Errol Peirson, Gerorge Cooke, Eddie Lollyd. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

"It’s a relief to know that we can focus on providing an amazing education and rugby experience for our students and the hundreds of students who will step foot on our legendary pitches once again."

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