2012 rugby tour to South Africa
Click here to see the tour Photo Gallery.
Rugby at LRGS
In the Lent term Sevens rugby and cross-country running become the main sports, with all age groups playing the abbreviated form of the game. Much of the Lent Term is spent preparing for the Set Charity Run in March when the boys raise monies for the nominated LRGS charities.
The rugby fixture list includes the top rugby-playing schools in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Durham and Northumberland. The Memorial Fields on Derwent Road has seven pitches which see a lot of activity on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday after school when practice and training sessions are held, as well as every afternoon for timetabled games sessions.
History of rugby at LRGS
Rugby Football has been played at LRGS since the 1860s, and the inaugural match of Preston Grasshoppers in 1869 was against the School. Regular fixtures took place with Sedbergh, Giggleswick, Liverpool College and Heversham GS, but with a depressing lack of success, relieved only by wins against Heversham. By 1903 the Sedbergh and Heversham fixtures had been discontinued, but Giggleswick continued to inflict embarrassingly large defeats. From 1913 a recovery began, with several new fixtures and a fair measure of success. A very good XV in 1927-8 registered ten wins, losing only to Bradford GS and St Bees, and the late thirties also saw some good seasons - ten games won out of 12 in 1937-8 with unbeaten seasons in 1938-9 and again in 1942-3 and 1943-4.
In the 50s and 60s results continued to be good. By then the regular fixture list included Merchant Taylors’, Crosby, Manchester GS, Arnold School, Stonyhurst, Bradford GS, Leeds GS, King Edward VII Lytham, King George V Southport, Wallasey GS, St Bees, Barrow GS and Rossall. The XV of 1962 suffered only one defeat and its captain, K O Beeston, played in the final England trial as did his successor, M H Berryman. C W Aspden (1966) gained an England Schools cap. Aspden went on to play for the Vale, Cambridge University (no blue) and for many years in a strong Orrell side, as well as Lancashire.The 1968/69 side won ten and drew one of its twelve fixtures. Its finest performance was a 14-3 win over Sedbergh, the first time the XV beat Sedbergh at 1st XV level. The following year the 1st XV were unbeaten, winning twelve and drawing one (Glenalmond) of its fixtures.
In 1970/71 the 1st XV won ten of its eleven games, a record that included a 31-0 victory over Sedbergh. The XV in each of these three seasons were coached by Laurie Rimmer, a former England international who played against the 1961 Springboks. Trevor Glover, who went on to become a double blue at Oxford, was captain of the XV for these three highly successful years. The 1974 1st XV was captained by Nick Preston who went on to represent England at full international level with Bill Beaumont’s Grand Slam team of 1980. The 1st XV of 1976-77 was as strong as any, including Paul Tillotson, Mark Nelson (an 18 Group International), Mike Derbyshire, Steven Gill and Doug Walker. All played in strong Vale of Lune sides with Gill and Nelson going on to play in arguably the strongest ever Vale side that won the National Division 3. In the last match of the 1977 season, the 1st XV beat the all-conquering Cowley team who had won all their previous 25 matches.
In the 80s, results continued to improve with only one or two defeats in each season, with the 1981 XV losing only one match - to Cowley School who could field seven England 18 Group Internationals. In the inaugural All England 15-a-side competition, LRGS had by far the best record in the first four years. Getting to the quarter-final, two semi-finals and losing in the 1982 final to the first score of extra time. This competition included two victories over the full Japan High Schools side, a guest entry. Paul Hamer played for England at 16 Group and 18 Group scoring three tries against Wales at Cambridge, playing wing outside Will Carling. Tom Connor and Ian McFarlane played for England 18 Group sides and Sean Hockey played at 16 Group.
Following the Oxford Blues of the 70s, Trevor Glover and John Taylor, Doug Walker, Steve Gill and Richard Bailey all played for Cambridge in the early 80s. The 90s saw LRGS begin the tradition of overseas tours, starting with a highly successful tour of Canada in 1994, followed by an unbeaten tour of Australia in 1997. The standard of play in the nineties continued on an upward path with many fine XVs, including the unbeaten 1st XV in 1994, captained by Neil Bennetts. England 18 Group caps were earned by Matthew Dobson, Andrew Miller, George Donoghue and Phil Christophers, who went onto play at full international level. Lancashire Cup competitions started at this time and LRGS won the first three on offer at U13, U14 and U15 level, leading to confirmation as Lancashire County RUFC “School of the Year.”
In the 2000s, there were 18 Group International caps for James Keany, Robin Boot, Oliver Viney and Magnus Lund, who went onto play at full international level. In 2003, with the inception of a Lancashire Cup competition for 1st XVs, LRGS were to show real dominance winning the cup for four seasons in a row between 2003 and 2007 and again in 2009. England 18 Group caps were won by Dan Birchall, James Williams, Sean Cox and Selorm Kuadey. In the Daily Mail Cup, LRGS regularly reached the quarter-final stages and a semi final in 2004. Junior sides won Lancashire Cups on a regular basis and the decade ended with a highly successful tour of South America. In 2006 Mark Nelson coached Sale to the Premiership title, beating Leicester in the final whilst in 2007 the 2011/12 OL President, Brian Ashton, coached England to a World Cup final against The Springboks in France.
A history of Lancaster Royal Grammar School asserts “Rugby Football now is probably as strong as it ever has been at LRGS”. The coaches over most of the last forty years were Shaun Higgins, who coached Lancashire Schools to an unbeaten record on tour against New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and ACT in 1986 and the North of England 18 Group to consecutive unbeaten divisional championships in 1988-89. Shaun was the inspiration behind a long period of development in LRGS rugby and his influence on its success cannot be underestimated. Doug Walker took on the challenge in 1990 for 12 years and also coached England 18 Group for three years including their successful tour of Canada, Australia and New Zealand where Magnus Lund and Robin Boot were in the squad that defeated Australia. More recently, Mick Curran’s record stands in comparison with anybody. As Head of Games, Brian Bonney’s influence, especially in organising major tours, has been very significant.
Under Director of Sport Andrew Rice and Fylde RFC Captain and 1st XV Coach Evan Stewart Sevens Rugby has expanded in the Lent Term with the 2011/12 XV captained by Sam Moody, winning the Stonyhurst Sevens defeating King’s Macclesfield by a record margin (44-5) in the final. The VII went on to reach the quarter-final of the Rosslyn Park National Schools Sevens and notably accounted for Millfield 31-7 at the Sedbergh Tens in a strong finish to their season. In December 2012, OLs Andrew Abraham and Stuart Brown played for Cambridge in the Varsity match, in Stuart Brown’s Case his third appearance.
Overseas touring has become a major feature of LRGS rugby with tours being staged every two years. Venues have been:
Canada 1994, Australia 1997, South Africa 1999, Canada 2001, South Africa 2003, South America 2005 and South Africa and Namibia 2007. A tour of Hong Kong, Japan and Australia took place in 2009 and a tour of South Africa is planned for 2012.
Full England Caps: Nick Preston, Phil Christophers , Magnus Lund
Sale RUFC: Sean Cox, Selorm Kuadey
LRGS has provided more Lancashire schoolboy players at various age groups than any other school in Lancashire.
1st XV - Lancashire Schools Cup Champions in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 & 2010
U15XV - Winners of the Lancashire Schools Knockout Competition 2010
U14XV - Winners of the Lancashire Schools Knockout Competition 2010
For more information go to www.schoolsrugby.co.uk
Director of Sport
Congratulations to the LRGS U14 Sevens team, who have won two tournaments this week, at Warwick...
The 1st XV rugby team have reached the last 32 of the Daily Mail national schools cup and will play...