Gonzalez ready for Seasiders
Wellington College coach Peter Chambers has admitted that Saturday’s Rugby Schools Cup opponents Bangor Grammar are out of their league - but that’s not stopping them from having a real go at the seasiders.
There is a definite buzz around the south Belfast school at the moment after making it through to the third round of the prestigious competition for the first time in their history thanks to an emphatic 31-9 victory away to Lurgan College last week.
Tom Gonzalez was the star turn in that game, driving Wellington forward at every opportunity and players like him and Kyle Agnew will be once again pivotal if they are to cause what would be an almighty shock.
Home advantage is in their favour though and having gone on a four game winning run of late, culminating on a 13-12 success over Cambridge House 2nd XV on Saturday - a result that Chambers says flattered the Co Antrim outfit a little - confidence is high.
“We’re going to need everything we’ve got if we are going to win this - if we are being honest, Bangor wouldn’t even be on our fixture list,” said Chambers.
“We are going to be up against it but the boys are looking forward to it nonetheless.
“It’s great that we have got this far - we haven’t been here before and now we’ve got a lot of people in the school taking about rugby which is a big boost for us as well.
“There is a buzz about the place because we aren’t traditionally a rugby playing school but of course we are very much underdogs in this one.
He added: “We have a small chance. The fact that we are playing at home may help us a little.
“And if Bangor have an off day and we are on our game then you just never know what can happen.
“I’m just delighted to be in this stage. We were probably a bit lucky in that were drew Lurgan in the last round - it could have been a lot harder and if we were to go one better and make it into the fourth round and keep rugby at the forefront at the school then that would just be great for us.”
While there are plenty of smiles on the faces of those involved at Wellington, in the other camp, Bangor coach David Kennedy is not particularly happy with his side’s form going into this potential ‘banana skin’ tie.
The Co Down boys are coming off the back of an 18-0 defeat to Carrick Grammar at the weekend and having just about made it through to this stage after a slender 11-9 win at home to Belfast High in the second round, Kennedy has warned his side they must lift their game for the trip to the capital.
“We lost 18-0 on Saturday and it was 18-0 at half time,” he said. “The intensity and the workrate just wasn’t there and we were far from impressive.
“We did pick it up a bit after half time but that has been the story of our season so far.
“We are lacking consistency and haven’t played well from 0-70 (minutes) in any of our games yet.”
After that often fraught encounter with Belfast last Saturday, Kennedy has admitted that Bangor have probably used up all their luck.
“We have used our ‘get out of jail free card’. It was a very tight game and although we scored a very well worked try at the end through Craig Harper, overall we didn’t play well,” he added.
“That was a wake up call for us and we will have to up our game if we are to beat Wellington.
“On paper we are going to be seen as favourites but anything can happen in Schools’ Cup rugby and we know that Wellington are really going to be up for this one - they have nothing to lose and everything to game.”
He added: “I have been really impressed by what Peter (Chambers) has done there and it is great to see a different school making strides forward.
“They have made a lot of progress and I’m pleased for him.”