SCHOOL rugby players have been denied their chance of making history for the time being after a prestigious final was cancelled.
The Under-15s side from Audenshaw School was preparing to face Kirkham Grammar School in the Lancashire Cup final for the second year running on Sunday, March 22.
But the outbreak of coronavirus meant the showpiece, which would have been the first time Audenshaw featured in it two years running, was shelved.
However, despite the sadness at not getting a tilt at glory, the Hazel Street school’s director of rugby, Adrian Sutherland, believes the future is bright.
He said: “Naturally we are all pretty devastated as everyone, staff and students, have worked tremendously hard to achieve what we have this year.
“We fully understand that there are much bigger things at the moment as everyone pulls together to tackle the pandemic.
“We do hope that they will rearrange the final if possible.
“The lads have been exceptional this year. Never has Audenshaw had a team in back to back Lancs Cup finals – the cup being the top tier, is usually reserved for the elite schools who charge up to and above £30,000 per year for each student.
“They also made it to the last 32 of the National Plate with some big wins against the likes of Stonyhurst and Cheadle Hulme along the way.
“The way our boys have bought into our program has been fantastic and it would be great to get that chance to play in the Lancashire Cup final.
“They are an absolute credit to our school and are becoming what we hope to build in every one of our boys – exceptional young men.”
As a team, Audenshaw may have led the way but as individuals, players are being tipped to make careers in rugby union.
However, the COVID-19 outbreak may deny some the chance to play at county level.
Adrian added: “There is some serious talent among this bunch.
“Four boys made it into the Sale Sharks Development Squad, all of which were selected to represent Lancashire before the pandemic but sadly they might not now get to represent their county until next year.
“One of the players has made it through the Sale Sharks Development Squad and into the full academy. He will potentially be pursuing a full career as a professional within the sport.”