The 2018 Champions Trophy last 16 draw has been made, with 9 new sides entering the fray after opening round byes.
The fixtures are scheduled to take place next week, and some of the biggest names in the Champions Trophy’s short history are competing.
One of the ties of the round looks set to be Dulwich College’s trip to Hampton. Dulwich are the reigning champions and had a first round bye, while Hampton enjoyed the strongest win of the opening round, 57-10 over St Albans. The winner here can be expected to go far.
Another former champions in action is Bedford, the 2015 champions also had a first round bye and they host Hurstpierpoint College in another tie that ought to be a cracker. Hurspierpoint beat Eastbourne 24-7 in their opener.
Berkhamsted were one of the most impressive sides in the first round after a 39-12 win over Haileybury that could easily have been more. The now face on of last year’s most impressive sides though as they host Kingswood, whose efforts last year earned them a first round bye.
Despite all the first round byes, two sides that did both play the first round are pitted together, Bryaston and Bristol Grammar School. Bryanston will host after their thrilling 24-23 win away at Monmouth, while Bristol Grammar School had recorded a highly impressive 33-10 win over Eton College.
Epsom College are one of the most consistent performers in the Champions Trophy, reaching the final in 2015 and multiple semi finals. They enter the fray after a first round bye with a home tie against another side that had a bye, Grammar School at Leeds, finalists in the inaugural Champions Trophy back in 2014. Having lost 2016 champions Tonbridge last round, we are guaranteed to lose another finalists this round too now.
Oakham are another school that seem to consistently perform in this competition, and they did so again in the opening round, beating Stowe 36-19. Their reward is a home tie against St Paul’s, who enjoyed a bye through the first round and will be a tough opponent for the men from Rutland.
St John’s Leatherhead reached the semi finals last year, playing a thriller against eventual champions Dulwich College. They enter the fray after a bye with a home tie against Blundell’s, in what is undoubtedly one of the top games of the round. Blundell’s reached last year’s final and have consistently been in semi finals and quarter finals, most often against Epsom. Another trip to the South Western outskirts of London will no doubt excite them plenty after a first round bye.
Wellington College also had a first round bye, their first game of the competition will be at home to RGS Guildford, who are the giant killers of the competition after beating 2016 champions Tonbridge 33-22 last round. Can they repeat the trick next week and take out Wellington College too?
It looks let to be a fascinating round, and with it already being the last 16, the competition gets intense very quickly from this point – a win here puts teams into the quarter finals, and from there it really is wide open to anyone playing consistently.
We can’t wait!
Champions Trophy Last 16 Draw:
Bedford v Hurstpierpoint College
Berkhamsted v Kingswood
Bryanston v Bristol Grammar School
Epsom College v Grammar School at Leeds
Hampton v Dulwich College
Oakham v St Paul’s
St John’s Leatherhead v Blundell’s
Wellington College v RGS Guildford
Champions Trophy Round 1 Results:
Berkhamsted 39-12 Haileybury
Bristol Grammar 33-10 Eton College
Eastbourne College 7-24 Hurstpierpoint College
Hampton 57-10 St Albans
Monmouth 23-24 Bryanston
Oakham 36-19 Stowe
Tonbridge 22-33 RGS Guildford
Bedford, Blundell’s, Dulwich College, Epsom College, Grammar School at Leeds, Kingswood, St John’s Leatherhead, St Paul’s, Wellington College