The draw for the second round of the Champions Trophy has been made, with 8 superb fixtures set to take place.
It has been an odd start for the tournament this year, with only twenty teams entered, instead of the required 32, meaning there were only four first round games. Twelve teams were given byes.
The first game of the campaign saw new entrants Rugby School announce themselves in a big way as they defeated former champions Bedford 66-7.
Following that Clifton College, with a much changed squad having beaten Millfield just two days before, were 24-18 victors over Monmouth. At the same time RGS Guildford won a tough game against Byranston to earn their place in the last 16 with a 17-3 victory.
One first round game remains, Hampton hosting former champions Tonbridge on Wednesday 2nd October.
In many ways though, excellent performances and games as they were, the reduced nature of the first round leaves those four first round games feeling like the appetizers, the second round feels like where this tournament will truly get underway.
The action begins on the week beginning on the 7th October and all eight games should provide some fantastic action.
Reigning champions Wellington College kick off their defence with a long away trip to Kingswood, who have a history of knocking out high profile teams, having travelled to Bedford, who had won the tournament and then reached the final the year after, and knocking them out.
Two years ago it was Dulwich College that secured the title, and on they way there they travelled to St John’s Leatherhead for an intense semi final that was one of the ties of the tournament. These two are drawn together again this year, this time with Dulwich hosting, and we can surely expect another fantastic game of rugby.
Epsom College are surely the most successful side in Champions Trophy history not to win it, twice they have reached the final, including last year against Wellington College, and several times they have been in the semi finals too. They start the tournament once again as one of the favourites but it will be a tricky start, they host a Bristol Grammar School side that have started the season really well. Indeed Bristol reached last year’s semi finals and got closer than anyone to defeating Wellington College, falling just 3 points short, so expect another cracker here.
Hurstpierpoint College were last year’s other semi finalists, losing a really good game to Epsom College. They start this year’s campaign at home, in front of what will surely be an excited and passionate crowd. Against them will be an Uppingham side that have enjoyed a superb start to the season and for whom victory at Hurstpierpoint would be a real feather in the cap.
Clifton College are one of the sides that many feel could go a really long way this year, but they start with a long away trip to Oakham, who have such a proud rugby history. The Doncaster Close pitch will be tightly packed and should make for an excellent Champions Trophy atomosphere.
Blundell’s reached the final in 2017 but went out at this last16 stage last year against St John’s. Once again it is a trip towards the capital for them at the last 16 this year as they head to a St Paul’s side that have started the season in good form and who gave Bristol Grammar a good game in last year’s quarter final.
As mentioned at the start of this piece, Rugby School entered the tournament with a bang against Bedford, and that game was symptomatic of the way they have started the year. They have been both brilliant and ruthless. In this second round they host another of the few teams to have had to play a first round game, RGS Guildford. It is another tough early draw for RGS, who last year drew the unlucky card of Wellington College away, but they looked good against Bryanston and will come into this absolutely ready and firing.
Finally to Berkhamsted, who lost out to eventual champions Wellington College in last year’s quarter final and are looking good again this year. They are yet to find out their second round opponent as they await the result of that key Hampton v Tonbridge game, what they do know though is that they will be hosting a very good side either way.
After a quiet opening, it looks as though the Champions Trophy is going to explode into action in around ten days time!
If you have any stories, photos, videos, reports, and opinions from the Champions Trophy first round, do send them in! You can get in touch via any of the below methods:
Champions Trophy Round 2 Draw:
Rugby v RGS Guildford
St Paul’s v Blundell’s
Oakham v Clifton College
Berkhamsted v Hampton/Tonbridge
Hurstpierpoint College v Uppingham
Kingswood v Wellington College
Epsom College v Bristol Grammar
Dulwich College v St John’s, Leatherhead
Champions Trophy Round 1:
Bedford 7-66 Rugby (Saturday 14th September)
Clifton College 24-18 Monmouth (Thursday 26th September)
Hampton v Tonbridge (Wednesday 2nd October)
RGS Guildford 17-3 Bryanston (Thursday 26th September)
St Paul’s v BYE
Oakham v BYE
Berkhamsted v BYE
Hurstpierpoint College v BYE
Bristol GS v BYE
Kingswood v BYE
Blundell’s v BYE
St John’s, Leatherhead v BYE
Epsom College v BYE
Dulwich College v BYE
Uppingham v BYE
Wellington College v BYE
Champions Trophy Round Dates:
Round 1 – w/c 23rd September
Round 2 – w/c 7th October
Quarter Finals – w/c 4th November
Semi Finals – w/c 18th November
Final – Wednesday 4th December