Hundreds of school children visited Daventry Rugby Club to take part in the Daventry Schools Festival of Rugby.
Jointly run by the rugby club and the South Northants and Daventry School Sport Partnership, 21 primary schools from the Daventry district adopted one of the competing nations at this year’s Rugby World Cup to take part in their own tag rugby festivals and with separate Year 5/6 and Year 3/4 competitions taking place, there was plenty of opportunity for the children to taste World Cup glory for themselves.
Following the format of this year’s competition, the teams spent the morning completing the pool stage officiated over by players from Daventry Rugby Club’s Under-16s team, who had completed a Tag Rugby Leadership Course in the weeks leading up to the event.
With all schools being randomly allocated countries upon entering the competition, there were some surprising results at the end of the pool stage with the likes of Canada (Falconer’s Hill Academy) and Romania (Brixworth Primary) springing surprises against the Irish (Pitsford Primary) and French (Overstone Primary) and New Zealand (Guilsborough Primary) and Namibia (East Haddon) sharing a 5-5 draw.
As the afternoon started and the competing nations in each competition were cut down from twenty to eight with the unsuccessful nations undertaking coaching sessions led by Daventry Rugby Club and coaches from Northampton Saints Community Department while the remaining teams contested the quarter finals.
In the Year 3/4 Festival, victories for England (West Haddon Primary) and Tonga (Newnham Academy) set up the first semi-final showdown with Namibia and Italy (Crick Primary) progressing to meet in the other semi final.
Unfortunately for the home fans, the semis would be as far as England would go as they were edged out by the Tongans, who would go on to meet Italy in the Festival Final following their victory over Namibia.
The final, played out in front of a large crowd, would be a close encounter but it was Italy who triumphed with a 4-3 victory.
The Year 5/6 Festival saw some of world rugby’s heavyweights compete in the quarter finals with Australia (Moulton Primary) edging past a strong Canadian side, South Africa (The Grange School) claiming victory over the All Blacks of New Zealand and Samoa (Clipston Primary) and Romania progressing ahead Argentina (Badby Primary) and Wales (Welford, Sibbertoft and Sulby Endowed School/W.S.S.E.S) respectively.
In the semi finals, a strong Romanian performance saw them book a place in the final with a 4-1 victory over Samoa and they were joined by South Africa who edged out Australia with a 3-2 victory.
The final was a closely contested affair but a strong second-half performance from Romania saw them overturn a two try deficit to claim a 4-3 victory.
After the culmination of the Festival Finals, the winning teams were presented their trophies by Chris Heaton Harris MP and there were additional prizes for Tonga, who claimed the Small Schools Trophy and Samoa and Fiji who received the Best Poster Presentation and Best Dressed Awards as part of the wider cross-curricular cultural competitions which schools undertook in the weeks leading up to the competition.
Year 5/6 Festival of Rugby
1st Romania (Brixworth Primary School)
2nd South Africa (The Grange School)
3rd Samoa (Clipston Primary School)
Year 3/4 Festival of Rugby
1st Italy (Crick Primary School)
2nd Tonga (Newnham Academy)
3rd Namibia (East Haddon Primary School)
England - West Haddon Primary School
Wales - Welford, Sibbertoft and Sulby Endowed School
Australia - Moulton Primary School
Fiji - Great Creaton Primary School (Year 5/6) & Weedon Bec Primary School (Year 3/4)
Uruguay - Yelvertoft Primary School
South Africa - The Grange School
Scotland - Sywell Primary School
Japan - Staverton Primary School
Samoa - Clipston Primary School
USA - The Bramptons Primary School
New Zealand - Guilsborough Primary School
Argentina - Badby Primary School (Year 5/6) and Kilsby Primary School (Year 3/4)
Namibia - East Haddon Primary School
Tonga - Newnham Academy
Romania - Brixworth Primary School
France - Overstone Primary School
Ireland - Pitsford Primary School
Canada - Falconers Hill Academy
Italy - Crick Primary School