The Champions Trophy Semi Final draw was made on Friday lunchtime after a brilliant set of quarter finals on Wednesday afternoon.
The semi finals are set to take place on the week beginning Monday 18th November, and both are set to be live streamed, meaning that schools rugby fans across the country will be able to tune in for what are probably the strongest set of semi finals in this tournament’s short history.
Champions Trophy Semi Finals
Epsom College v Wellington College (Wednesday, 12.45pm)
This is going to be a huge game, and not just because it is a repeat of last year’s final, but because both of these schools are unbeaten at the time of writing and are unquestionably two of the very best teams in the country. In the quarter finals Epsom College travelled to Blundell’s, a side that they have met in all but one of the six editions of this competition, and came away with a fantastic 20-0 victory after an incredibly controlled performance, backing up a strong victory over Bristol Grammar in the previous round and echoing the sheer brilliance of their season so far.
Wellington College meanwhile had a real task on their hands against Dulwich College in their quarter final, with a bit of an injury crisis after their St Joseph’s Festival triumph at the start of half term. They dug incredibly deep though, scoring two tries for a 12-6 victory to maintain their unbeaten record, keep their hopes of being the first side to ever win back to back titles alive, and the chance of an historic St joseph’s Festival & Champions Trophy double. This semi final is set to be huge, last year’s final was an incredibly compelling contest, Wellington emerged victorious, 24-16, but it will count for little in this semi final, where you can be certain Epsom, who are chasing a record third appearance in the final, will be giving it absolutely everything.
Rugby v Hampton (Wednesday, 2.15pm)
Rugby v Hampton will be another absolutely huge contest and a guarantee of a new Champions Trophy finalist, Hampton have never reached the semi finals, let alone the final, while this is Rugby’s first ever appearance in the Champions Trophy full stop. Both sides have been outstanding all season, Rugby have been sweeping just about everyone put in front of them until a surprise loss to Bromgrove just before half term. On Wednesday they had to come through a really tough encounter against Oakham in challenging conditions, but did so in a real show of forward strength for a 13-8 victory to follow dominant early round wins over RGS Guildford and former champions, Bedford.
Hampton meanwhile have looked electric all year, but particularly in this competition. The first round saw them beat former champions Tonbridge with a real display of defensive solidity and clinical attacking play, 24-15, before they followed up with a quite brilliant 38-0 away win over Berkhamsted, who they face again on Saturday, in round 2. Wednesday’s 27-7 quarter final victory over Uppingham was another impressive display, a clinical backline performance securing them four tries, while an incredibly stubborn defensive performance saw them frustrate the visitors, who actually enjoyed long periods of possession and territory. Both Hampton and Rugby are utterly unfamiliar to each other, one of the great aspects of this tournament, and the form from the season so far suggests that we could well be in for a cracker of a game, especially if the weather holds out.
The final will again take place at Allianz Park and will be part of a double header with the AASE Final again. It takes place on Wednesday 4th December, and whatever happens there is going to be a huge story to go alongside it. Could Wellington College become the first side ever to win the competition twice, securing an incredible St Joseph’s/Champions Trophy double in the process, perhaps Epsom College will win it at the third time of asking, or one of the new finalists, Rugby or Hampton, could win it in their first final. Should it be Epsom, Rugby, or Hampton, it would make it a different champion in each of the six editions of this tremendous schools rugby competition.
Champions Trophy Semi Finals (w/c 18th November):
Epsom College v Wellington College
Rugby v Hampton
Champions Trophy Quarter Finals:
Blundell’s 0-20 Epsom College
Hampton 27-7 Uppingham
Rugby 13-8 Oakham
Wellington College 12-6 Dulwich College
Champions Trophy Round 2:
Rugby 45-0 RGS Guildford
St Paul’s 6-15 Blundell’s
Oakham 25-19 Clifton College
Berkhamsted 0-38 Hampton
Hurstpierpoint College 19-20 Uppingham
Kingswood 26-56 Wellington College
Epsom College 31-12 Bristol Grammar
Dulwich College 24-13 St John’s, Leatherhead
Champions Trophy Round 1:
Bedford 7-66 Rugby
Clifton College 24-18 Monmouth
Hampton 24-15 Tonbridge
RGS Guildford 17-3 Bryanston
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