Tough festival start for St Joe's

HOSTS St Joseph's College must start the 16th National Schools Rugby Festival with a first class performance if they are to progress in the cup competition.

HOSTS St Joseph's College must start the 16th National Schools Rugby Festival with a first class

performance if they are to progress in the cup competition.

This follows the release of the draw for the first day.

Matches to be played include tough games against 2000 winners Blackrock Castle and 1999 winners RGS High Wycombe. In addition to these outstanding sides they have also to compete against Brighton College on their first day.

The matches will take place on Saturday, October 19 with each team playing every other team within their own group.

The two teams with the highest number of points in each will qualify. The top two teams in each group qualify for the Cup competition and the remaining two go into the Plate.

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First team coach Tony Talbot appreciates that his second season in charge will prove to be no easier than last year.

Of the 15 festivals that have taken place so far the College has to date won the Festival just once. This being in 1995 when St Jo's beat Bradford Grammar School 7-0.

The festival team travelled to Northampton last weekend to play the Academy side. The Northampton Academy select the best players from the area covering Northampton to London and the whole of East Anglia.

It was a hard game with a strong wind blowing down the pitch. St Joseph's found it hard to contend with strong Northampton defence. It was only near the end of the half that they scored, with tries from Dan Murphy and Jason Lung converted by James Holmes.

The second half against the wind was very tough. Northampton pressed very hard using the elements to their advantage. St Joseph's managed valiantly to hold out but were eventually overcome. Northampton then scored twice more to win 19-13.

However, Talbot insisted: "This was the best performance from St Joseph's this year, the team is very confident to do well in the Festival in a couple of weeks."

The College squad boasts some success stories of their own with prop Robbie Kalbraier having played for Suffolk Schools U-16, Eastern Counties Schools U-16, London & South East Division U-16 and the England A U-16.

Sports fans from throughout the region are expected to attend this free festival with the Red Devils dropping in on the Sunday prior to the 3pm final.

n After a disappointing performance and defeat last week at Harwich, Felixstowe

travel to Essex again to play Brightlingsea tomorrow.

Felixstowe know they will have to play much better than last week as Brightlingsea beat Harwich in the opening game of the league campaign.

Coach Chris Barbor has a couple of players out with injury and will select the squad after training. Players meet at the club at 12.45pm.

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