POOLE Grammar's under-15s rugby coach Callum Burt hailed the "outstanding achievement" of his side, after they competed in the school's first national rugby final.

Poole headed to Premiership rugby venue StoneX Stadium, home of Saracens, to face Doncaster-based Hill House School in the National Bowl final on Tuesday.

The Dorset school had never progressed even as far as the quarter-finals in previous years, but the class of 2022 gave a strong account of themselves in north London, as they were edged out 19-17 in a thrilling showpiece event.

Hill House led 7-0 at half-time, before a wonder-try from Harry Bunting (pictured below) levelled the scores. Poole fell behind again, before Josh Somerville crossed the whitewash.

The Yorkshire outfit got their noses in front again at 19-12, before man-of-the-match Jake Stainer-Reid's try set up a tense finale, but PGS could not quite overturn the deficit.

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(Picture: Leo Wilkinson Photography)

"They couldn’t have worked any harder," Burt told the Daily Echo.

"What a great day and what a run to get this far, even to the quarters, then the semis. The teams we’ve played.

"An outstanding achievement from them."

Reflecting on the day at Saracens, Burt added: "The boys, from start to finish, loved it. We told them to make the most of it, get your phones out, take pictures, enjoy the experience.

"The good thing about being first on, although it was early in the morning, they got to warm-up on the pitch, our supporters when they came had a lovely atmosphere, were cheering the boys on, they had plenty of time in the warm-up to go and see friends, family etcetera and really take it all in.

"I think once they reflect on it and after the game when I was talking to them in the changing room I said 'you will look back on the magnitude of what you’ve achieved and you’ll take it all in'. Going up and getting a medal in a national final, although it’s not a winners’ medal, is still a huge accomplishment."

Having been beaten 27-22 by Embley in the first round of the National Vase, Poole dropped down into the Bowl, embarking on a storming run.

They defeated Priestlands (22-5) and Backwell (57-17) to set up a South West A final against Somerset's Holyrood Academy. Burt's side triumphed 42-12, to move through to the national stage.

There they beat Chiselhurst and Sidcup Grammar 29-7, and then Dr Challoner's Grammar 22-12 to secure the trip to Saracens.

Asked what was special about this group that made the historic cup run possible, Burt said: "You could tell in year eight they were a talented bunch, but the talent has been backed up by the work ethic.

"Their commitment to training and wanting to improve as a group, not as individuals. I think that’s the difference.

"Where they were in September, maybe being a bunch of individuals, we have got match-winners all over the pitch, but they really have worked hard on being a tight unit and working on their plays has just been evident in every game.

"The defence, the ability to want to keep the opposition out just made the cup run possible."

Asked if any players in particular stand out as possible future professional rugby stars, Burt added: "I think there’s a bright future for any of them if they carry on playing.

"Singling out, Harry Bunting has got immense talent, and Josh Stroud. Josh Somerville stood out in the final, Stainer-Reid, Jake Collier, Fin McCulloch.

"So far at Bath we do have Josh Stroud and Harry Bunting. But Bath have requested to see a few more of them and that’s what is really positive.

"They put on a performance and have shown there is potential for a lot of them to go far in rugby.

"The good thing is they’re just talented sportsmen some of them. That’s what makes it remarkable. Not all of these lads play club rugby.

"We’ve got boys in there that play a bit of football and enjoy their school rugby. Stainer-Reid was man-of-the-match and he doesn’t play club rugby.

"A full-back doing that is just a credit to the talent that is in the group."

Team photo: Back row (left to right): Callum Burt (U15 Coach), Oscar Burdin, Kacper Wieczorek, Todd Goodwins, Jake Collier, Regan DiJkstra, Fin McCulloch, Josh Somerville, Josh Stroud, Henry Bannister, Will Lippiatt, Matt Cockwell (U15 Coach).

Front Row (Left to right): Theo Day, Jake Stainer-Reid, Max Day, Aldo Bertorelli, Harry Bunting (Captain), Zac Seal, Max Phillips, Harry Knight, Cillian Conba, Richard Dew (Head of Rugby).