Alex Lockie calls for focus ahead of The Perse School semi-final in NatWest Schools' Under-18 Vase
Big test against Trent College at Allianz Park
Alex Lockie will not allow thoughts of Twickenham to enter the heads of The Perse School squad as they prepare for their NatWest Schools’ Under-18 Vase semi-final this Saturday.
Saracens’ Allianz Park is the venue for the last four game against Trent College, Nottingham, which was earned on the away team rule after a 14-14 quarter-final draw with St Georges College, Weymouth, with the prize being a final at the home of English rugby.
But 17-year-old captain Lockie is determined that the squad will savour each game.
“We started our pre-season way back in September so we’ve always been working towards cup rugby and playing at big grounds like Allianz,” said the hooker.
“A couple of boys have played there before with representative rugby, but I think for everyone else it’s the biggest ground they will have played at.
“We’re not trying to think too far ahead past the semi-finals and definitely just focussing on that. Especially for a school like the Perse, who don’t bring in rugby scholars, it’s a really big thing for everyone and we’re really excited about it.”
Perse head of rugby Liam St John is the backs coach, while head groundskeeper Paul Gethling is the forwards’ coach, and they have helped the team win five matches to reach this stage of the competition.
The Perse’s route to the last four has seen them beat The Lets School (35-14), Langley School (28-5), Ipswich School (24-0) and Richard Hale School (55-10), and then the draw with St Georges College.
“The last game was definitely the highlight of the season and up to then we’d gone through the cup run and improved every round, but the last game was definitely the pinnacle so far,” said Lockie.
“We played really well and for the second half fought to stay in the game and eventually went through so that was really good.”
But he is keen not to give too much away in terms of the Perse’s style of play.
“We’ve got a lot of pretty fast players so we like to run the ball and play from wherever on the pitch,” he said.
“But we’ve also got a decent forward pack this year which has really helped us. So I think we’ve got a good balance.”