Wasps ACE Through to National Final

Date: 29 Nov 2021


The Wasps ACE side secured their place in the prestigious RFU ACE Final with an impressive home win against Truro College (the side associated with Exeter Chiefs).

Prior to moving to the City of Oxford College, Wasps ACE had not reached the National Final for some 10 years. A fresh start for the programme, which is now being run out of the City of Oxford College, has seen the Wasps ACE programme reach the RFU Final at the first time of asking.

After finishing top of the North Pool, they headed into the round two play-offs in strong form. Taking on Brooksby Melton College (Leicester Tigers) at home, Wasps’ ACE side started well and recorded a bonus point 45-18 victory.

Up next were SGS Filton College (Bristol Bears), but Wasps could not quite get into gear away from home and SGS took the win 20-12.

The final round of the play offs saw the ACE side hosting Truro College, who had won their opening two fixtures.

There was still a chance to qualify for the main ACE final and the side came out fighting. Needing a bonus point win and to stop the travelling side from gaining a four try bonus point and a losing bonus point, the challenge in front of them was big.

An impressive first half display saw them go in at half-time 19-0 up. Strong performances from Asher Opoku, Jacob Knight and Kian-William Jones allowed the ACE side to get into their stride. Tries from Ben Pogson, Epi Rokodrava and Matt Hornby put them in the driving seat.

Truro College needed to throw everything they had at the City of Oxford side in the second half and started to fight back. Truro showed why they were unbeaten in the play-offs with abrasive running and speed of play, they quickly took the score-line to 19-12.

Under pressure the City of Oxford pack rose to the challenge. An outstanding defensive performance from captain Zach Newcombe and fellow back-rowers Billy McDermott and Liam Jones soon put a stop to the Truro attack. This allowed the City of Oxford to gain momentum and turn defence into attack, with Ben Pogson scoring his second and Tom Andrews crashing over to take the final score to 31-12.

On Wednesday 8th December the City of Oxford College, Wasps ACE side will take on previous winners Hartpury College in the RFU ACE Final at Stourbridge RFC.

Alex Guest, Wasps ACE Head Coach said “This is an excellent achievement for the players and the programme. The support of the Club and the parents has been amazing. We’ve been through a lot as a side and we haven’t got to the final the easy way. These challenges will hold us in good stead for the final.”

“We’re looking forward to the final and under no illusions how tough this will be. This is a fantastic group of players, and we are so happy they will be able to represent the College, Club and their families in the final.”

For more information on the final and to follow the progress of the Wasps ACE side please follow them on Twitter or Instagram @WaspsACEOxford

Looking at sixth form options? Interested in the Wasps ACE programme?

Join us for our second Open Event where you will find out who we are and what we do. There will be a tour of the training facilities and accommodation, whilst hearing about the range of academic courses and taking part in a practical session for a taste of the training the players go through.

Sign up here to book your place https://oxford.activatelearning.ac.uk/events/detail/wasps-boys-rugby-open-event-2/

The ACE programme allows 16-18-year-olds to combine academic qualifications and their rugby development in one integrated timetable. The City of Oxford College offers a range of academic pathways with students able to study A-Levels, BTECs in Sport, Business or Engineering, whilst training full-time with the College’s professional rugby development staff.