St Joseph's victory is Hampton reward
The Rugby Paper|November 22, 2020
Brendan Gallagher continues his series looking at rugby’s great schools
Brendan Gallagher

EVERY School faces their own challenges and at Hampton, for the First XV, it is keeping pace with a rowing squad that boasts an almost world wide reputation in excellence and a football side that won the England Schools FA Cup last year. The fight for bragging rights is fierce.

Students at Hampton do whatever sports they want – there is no compulsion, no mandatory sport of the term – so to attract and then keep enough of the available athletic talent to become one of the best and most consistent Fifteens in the country over the last decade or more has been a considerable achievement.

Apart from the St Joseph’s title in 2015, Hampton may lack the long list of tournament wins and the groaning trophy cabinet of some but they are invariably contenders, involved at the sharp end of every tournament, a side to be reckoned with.

Between 2012 and 2017 they reached the quarter-finals of the Daily Mail U18 Cup on five occasions and made the semi-finals in 2013. An outstanding year group can see a school blaze a glorious path for a couple of seasons but consistency of that order is rare.

But for a few narrow defeats against outstanding teams, Hampton’s reputation could be even higher. In that 2012-13 season with the likes of Alex Lundberg, Alex Wood and Tom Keith anchoring a mighty pack they seemed on course for silverware but bumped into the phenomenal Dulwich side of the era and lost 11-5 at home in the semi-final. That followed the frustration of having lost 15-12 to the same opponents in the quarter-finals 12 months earlier.

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