The summer set the tone with momentum as fifty-four senior rugby players returned from a prosperous South Africa tour. The last week of summer combined pre-season training with the annual Old Abingdonian rugby match. And notably, last year’s 1st XV Players’ Player of the Season, Joshua, earned a Rugby Union scholarship to Brunel University.
Post pupil and staff INSET on the new tackle law, the season kicked off strongly against local schools, MCS and Teddies, progressing to fixtures against renowned institutions such as Stowe, Dean Close, Cheltenham College, and RGS High Wycombe. The U14 A and B squads toured Sussex over the October half-term, featuring matches versus Hurstpierpoint College and Seaford and team-building in Brighton.
Fixtures post-half-term included Eton, Radley, RGS Guildford, Marlborough and Bedford. Against Guildford, our U12s participated in the first-ever Abingdon School Foundation rugby matches, uniting our Lower School and Abingdon Prep School pupils. Later in the half-term, former England fly-half Toby Flood and Gloucester Rugby’s Jack Clement enhanced the teams with guest coaching visits, enriching our U14, U15, and U16 age groups’ coaching sessions.
According to SOCS, this season ranks as the sixth-best Club Season in the past twenty-five years, with an overall win-loss ratio of 57%, and Middle School notably higher at 69%. Undefeated teams included the U15 B, U15 D, U16 B, and U16 A XVs, with eighteen players in Academy pathways, between the ages of fourteen and seventeen.
The 1st XV faced a challenging season regarding results but exhibited a relentless, resilient, and positive attitude each week. The evolving challenge of opposition school programs becoming more challenging did not dampen the squad’s competitive and largely enjoyable matches. Introducing a Pink Flair philosophy and a no-regrets approach added a unique style to their play. Notable leadership came from 1st XV Captain Zach, who led on and off the field, ensuring the team always had a resilient leader.
The term concluded with three Rugby Awards events for Lower, Middle, and Upper School, following an impressive 153 matches and over 3,500 points scored. Record participation saw over 360 pupils and 20 teams, marking the highest numbers in years, and the club celebrated its first U16 D XV in eight seasons, a feat achieved by only three other UK schools, reflecting the inclusive and enjoyable rugby culture.
A sincere thank you is extended to the twenty-eight staff members integral to the club’s culture. Their dedication to planning and delivery and relentless passion and commitment to individual character development and team improvement is awe-inspiring.
Thank you for a wonderful term, leaving anticipation for the future of Abingdon School Rugby.