Two Sussex teams are on the road to a national final at Twickenham.

Lewes Priory under-12s and Varndean under-13s will represent Sussex in the qualifying round after winning their age groups in the Sussex finals of the National Schools Festival at Waterhall, Brighton.

Priory sealed their place when they pipped Rydon Community College (Worthing) in a dramatic sudden-death penalty kick-out.

The scores were tied at 5-5 after extra-time, Josh Lawrence scoring the Priory try.

That meant a penalty kick-out to decide the game. Jordan Wythe was successful with two kicks, the first penalties he has ever taken, and the Rydon kicker missed his second attempt.

Priory manager Chris Loader said: "It was nerve-jangling enough to kick your first penalties for your school, but knowing a step to Twickenham depended on it added to the tension for Jordan. But the team and myself were confident he would cope.

"We've got our fingers crossed for the qualifiers. The kids and the staff are certainly up for a Twickenham appearance."

Varndean defeated Priory 5-0 in the under-13s final, Will Dreager scoring the vital try.

Manager Paul Taylor said: "The children are very excited at getting so close to playing at Twickenham.

"The competition is only for emerging rugby schools who don't play more than five fixtures a season. I was surprised at how high the standard of my team was at Waterhall.

"The final was very tight. The conditions were windy and we just adapted a little better."

Priory overcame Longhill (Brighton and Hove) 5-0 in the under-12s semi-final, while Varndean beat Uplands Community College (Wadhurst) 25-0 at under-13s.

Sussex RFU development officer Jon Bates said: "It was a great day. We attracted around 250 players and Twickenham was a fantastic incentive.

"The idea is to get more youngsters playing rugby and the fact so many got involved is encouraging."

Predecessor Gary Henderson, now development manager for the south, has watched the competition grow since he helped devise it in the Nineties.

He said: "When I was there at the start a few years ago it was purely Sussex and Hampshire thing. Now it has really taken off going national, with 96 teams involved, and has a £200,000 sponsorship through Zurich Insurance, The Daily Telegraph and The Armed Forces."

In the qualifiers on May 4, Priory play at Staines while Varndean compete at Richmond. The top eight from each group will go on to play at Twickenham during an Army versus Navy showdown in the afternoon.

Priory under-12s: Desmond Menenghetti, Simon Birch, Joel Evans, Josh Lawrence, Daniel Canneaux, Paul O'Donald, Michael Newman, Stuart Dean, Rob Anthony, Ed Mundy, Jordan Wythe, Jake Robinson, Sam Derrick, Ben Launchbury, Ken Angel.

Varndean under-13s: Jack Newton, Sam Butcher, Jesse Johal, Peter Stoner, Jake Butler, Josh Reece-Gore, Charlie Warburton, Will Dreager, James Fraser, Ricky Tidy, Reece Rowland, Jordan Murray, Ian Meager.