The U18 Schools Cup third round takes place this week, the round of 32 and a step closer to the real business end of this competition.
This is effectively the regional semi final stage, the country is split into eight regions for the first four rounds of the competition. The winners of each region are then put in a pot and drawn on a national scale for the quarter finals.
The bulk of the rounds fixtures take place on Wednesday, though there are also fixtures on Tuesday and Saturday and a handful next week as sides try to balance their schedules as best as possible.
Lancaster RGS v Wilmslow High School – Wednesday
Wirral Grammar School v Lymm High School – Wednesday
Two massive games here in North A. Wilmslow have a great record in this competition and have had some strong wins so far this year. Lancaster RGS are a tough proposition though, they have shown an ability to win in commanding fashion and in a tough game such as against Stonyhurst in the previous round. Wirral Grammar against Lymm High School should be another cracker. Both look good this year and have progressed to this point in dominant style. That dominant style will surely end on Wednesday though, this is expected to be a really close and exciting game.
King’s Macclesfield v Woodhouse Grove – Wednesday
RGS Newcastle v St Peter’s York – Saturday
This section is loaded almost beyond belief, out in the last round were Durham, QEGS Wakefield, Barnard Castle, and Bradford Grammar, four really strong sides. It shows the quality of those left, and on Wednesday we see one of the form sides in the country in action in the form of Woodhouse Grove. They are unbeaten this year and travel to King’s Macclesfield full of confidence, King’s are no slouches either though and after two great wins so far they will be in fine voice at home no doubt. The North B third round is completed on Saturday when RGS Newcastle and St Peter’s York regular block fixture is turned into a Cup game at 1st XV level. It should be spectacular. RGS won the St Joseph’s Festival prior to half term and were sensational but St Peter’s are a top side too. It will be RGS’ first game since that win though and surely they will still be riding that brilliant wave.
Norwich v Felsted – Tuesday
The Perse v Rugby – Wednesday
Midlands A’s 3rd round kicks off on Tuesday with an absolute cracker as the unbeaten Norwich School host Felsted, who have lost just twice all season. Guess who one of those defeats was to – Norwich, and it was a thriller, 24-22 on the opening weekend of the season. Felsted will be desperate to reverse that, while Norwich will be equally keen for victory and to maintain this stunning unbeaten run in what could be the tie of the round. On Wednesday another unbeaten and outstanding side take the field, Rugby School. They have been one of the form sides in the country and travel to The Perse, who have found results hard to come by. However this Cup run has been the lifeblood of The Perse’s season and they will really be up for a crack at the founders of the game.
Bromsgrove v Warwick – Tuesday 13th
Uppingham v Mount St Mary’s College – Tuesday 13th
Midlands B all takes place on Tuesday 13th, with Uppingham v Mount St Mary’s College. Uppingham are enjoying one of their best season’s to date and at home will really fancy a crack at this, but Mount St Mary’s are in sensational form this year having turned a lot of attention to their rugby programme, they will be a very hard side to stop indeed. Midlands B also sees the headline fixture of the round, it takes place on Tuesday 13th too and it will be a cracker – Bromsgrove v Warwick, the 2015 and 2016 champions hosting the 2017 and 2018 champions. It should be spectacular. The two met back in September, Warwick winning 29-10, but this will be on another level and a spectacular Cup tie.
London & South East A
Campion v UCS – Wednesday
Eltham College v Whitgift – Wednesday 14th
London & South East A starts on Wednesday as the ever-impressive Campion host UCS. Campion are so often a threat in this competition and look so again but UCS are dogged, as proved by their progression to this round, which saw them draw 22-22 with Dr Challoner’s but progress on the try rule. It should be a really gutsy game of rugby. The round wraps up in this section on Wednesday 14th as the outstanding Whitgift, champions in 2010 and 2011, travel to Eltham College who are unbeaten so far this season and looking very good indeed. Whitgift will be favourites, their reputation and standard of opposition demanding that, but Eltham are going to be a really tough prospect particularly at home and will rightly believe they can win.
London & South East B
Wimbledon College v KCS Wimbledon – Wednesday 14th
Seaford College v Caterham – Wednesday 14th
The Wimbledon derby will kick things off in London & South East B, on Wednesday 14th. Wimbledon College will host KCS and the two have actually already met this season, Wimbledon College hosting that one too and winning it 11-5. It is always a fiercely contested game between the pair, the closest rivals in the country as far as we know, and should be again in this cracking Cup tie. The section’s other tie is also on Wednesday 14th when the excellent Seaford College host a Caterham side that have been in stunning form this year. Only Cranleigh have beaten them, and the Kent side will really believe they can go far in this tournament.
South West A
Ivybridge Community College v Richard Huish – Wednesday (assumed)
Portsmouth Grammar v Bishop Wordsworth’s – Wednesday
2017 finalists Bishop Wordsworth’s face a tricky away trip on Wednesday as they travel to a Portsmouth Grammar School side that have quietly had a very good season so far. Both have claimed decent scalps so far in this competition too, BWS beating Sherborne and Portsmouth tackling Canford, but this ought to be each side’s biggest game of their Cup run so far. Also likely to be played on Wednesday is Richard Huish’s trip to Ivybridge Community College. Huish had a spectacular first round game beating Taunton 41-40 before a second round bye, but in Ivybridge they face a really consistent side who could be dark horses in this competition, progress thus far has been pretty straightforward and they will want to put on another show on Wednesday.
South West B
Dean Close v RGS High Wycombe – Tuesday (Round 2)
Marlborough College v Downside – Wednesday
South West B is the only section with a second round tie still to be played as Dean Close host Schools Cup giants, RGS High Wycombe. Dean Close have looked good this season and enjoyed a brilliant opening round win over Abingdon. RGS meanwhile have had a tricky season but have been hugely dogged at times too. They had a first round bye so this is their first Cup foray of the year, with a trip to Sir Thomas Rich’s the reward for the winner. The other game in South West B is a third round tie, and it’s a cracker, Marlborough College v Downside. It is actually Marlborough’s first game of the Cup campaign but outside of the Cup they have been excellent, winning five of their six games. Downside meanwhile have played twice, beating Weston and Cup giants Colston’s. They have been excellent outside of it too, going through the season unbeaten so far. Wednesday will be a massive one for both sides.
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Schools Cup Round 3 Fixtures:
Dean Close v RGS High Wycombe – South West B (Round 2)
Norwich v Felsted – Midlands A
Campion v UCS – London & South East A
Ivybridge Community College v Richard Huish – South West A
King’s Macclesfield v Woodhouse Grove – North B
Lancaster RGS v Wilmslow HS – North A
Marlborough College v Downside – South West B
The Perse v Rugby – Midlands A
Portsmouth GS v Bishop Wordsworth’s – South West A
Uppingham v Mount St Mary’s College – Midlands B
Wimbledon College v KCS Wimbledon – London & South East B
Wirral GS v Lymm HS – North A
RGS Newcastle v St Peter’s, York – North B
Bromsgrove v Warwick – Midlands B
Eltham College v Whitgift – London & South East A
Seaford College v Caterham – London & South East B