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King's Lynn rugby side two wins away from Twickenham: West Norfolk Rugby Club host Reeds Weybridge from Surrey in RFU Senior Vase London & South-East Regional FinalNow only two wins away from Twickenham, tomorrow (Saturday, March 14) West Norfolk Rugby Club host Reeds Weybridge from Surrey in the RFU Senior Vase London & South-East Regional Final.




The game is likely to be the biggest in the Lynn-based club's recent history.

The winner of this game would go on to play a Southern England Final against Milton Keynes or Chosen Hill Former Pupils and following that would be a national final at the home of English rugby against a Northern or Midlands side.

West Norfolk captain Henry Rust.
West Norfolk captain Henry Rust.

With the importance of the game high on the agenda of both teams, the standard of rugby on show is likely to be spectacular with both teams going into the game unbeaten so far this season.

West Norfolk have clocked up 16 league wins so far adding to their three wins in the Senior Vase competition against Thetford, Woodbridge and Hitchin.

The competition hasn't been plain sailing for West with both the Thetford and Woodbridge games coming to within a converted try score, however West were able to put in a convincing 57-17 performance against Hitchin showing their ability to adapt to conditions and a differing style of rugby.

Reeds Weybridge have played two fewer games in the cup so far with two home walk-overs over Harrow and Portsmouth in rounds 1 and 2.

But they took on Aylesford Bulls in the semi-final and showed their class by coming out as 61-10 winners. With high scores in both semi-finals it is almost guaranteed that both teams will be out to show their attacking prowess as well as their consistent defences.

With a full squad to choose from, selection will be difficult for West Norfolk head coach Darren Clarke with lots of players putting their name in the hat after some brilliant performances throughout the season so far.

But coach Clarke is relishing the fixture: "We are really looking forward to this Senior Vase final against Reeds Weybridge and it will be a massive test against a team who arguably have the best Junior Rugby record in the country over the last few seasons," he said.

"We probably go into the game as slight underdogs, which hasn't been the case for most of the season but cup rugby is all about performing on the day.

"Whilst respecting our opposition we have very much focused on ourselves and the qualities that have got us to where we are this season. We have prepared well and I know that the commitment and determination of the whole squad will not be in question on the day.

"It should be a fantastic game of rugby and we hope to see a large crowd at Gatehouse Lane getting behind the team."

Nigel Connell, director of rugby at Reeds Weybridge has given an insight into the club and his thoughts going into the RFU Senior Vase final.

He said: "We have long history at Reeds, and like most clubs have experienced our ups and downs but what we have achieved over the last 7-8 years though has been very positive in terms of the Seniors and U21 section.

"We are also proud of the fact that most of the current Senior squad have come through our Mini and Youth sections. We rely on an army of volunteers to make things work on and off the field but also embrace the traditional values of rugby in that we tour when we can, enjoy our beer win or lose, and like to think we make rugby friends along the way.

"In terms of the Regional Senior Vase final, the cup for us has always been about pitting our wits against sides from outside the counties we play week-in, week-out and so we look forward to travelling to West Norfolk and appreciate the efforts of our hosts in making it a day to remember, and where two unbeaten sides will surely make for an interesting game.

"Of course, the prize for the winners will leave them one game from a Twickenham final, something we were fortunate to experience last season in the Junior Vase, and so no greater motivation for either side."

West Norfolk captain Henry Rust, who looks to return the side following an injury, added: "It's a very exciting opportunity and should be a fun day for everyone involved at West Norfolk.

"As a club we know we need to execute our game plan to a very high level as Reeds are unbeaten in over 50 games but as a player, it's these games that you want to be a part of. It's great that we are expecting such a large crowd and it will be fantastic not just for the club but the local community too."

The game takes place at West Norfolk Rugby Club, Gatehouse Lane, North Wootton with kick off at 3pm. The club is urging all supporters to arrive early as car-parking is likely to be busy but there will be stewards on hand to point people to the designated parking areas. The club is also putting on extra food and drink facilities downstairs to cater for everyone.

Whilst the game is free to attend and all spectators are welcome, the club asks spectators to keep an eye out for the bucket collections which are raising money for club facility improvements for all members to enjoy.


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