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School Rugby

Schools Rugby Weekend Preview: Saturday 13th October

11th October 2018
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This week has been a huge week of schools rugby with the Champions Trophy and various Schools Cup competitions all going on.

 

However for the vast majority the weekend is where the focus is, and just as well – there is some stunning rugby set to take place, with a number of sides playing their second game of the week and likely testing their playing resources to the maximum.

 

After a weekend of exciting and close games last week, anticipation is high for this week. The hope is for a dry day, unlike last week, though with high winds expected it seems likely to be far from easy whatever the weather.

 

Focus On

 

Blundell’s v Canford

 

A massive clash in the south west between two sides who will be fired up and wanting to prove a point after they were both knocked out of different cup competitions in midweek, Blundell’s losing out in a cracking game to St John’s in the Champions Trophy, while Canford were defeated by Portsmouth Grammar in the Schools Cup. In general Blundell’s have had the stronger start to the season, perhaps their struggle against St John’s was that it was a step up in the intensity that they have faced. With that in mind though they ought to be hardened to that now, and at home will be itching for victory. So too will Canford though, who will be desperate for an important win to kick start their season.

 

Prediction: Blundell’s

Who will win Blundell's v Canford?

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Brighton College v RGS High Wycombe

 

A fascinating game as these two really gear up for a big weekend at the St Joseph’s Festival next weekend, where Brighton College have not lost a game since 2015. The question is, how much focus will be on next weekend and how much will be allocated to this? Brighton will surely be keen to get back to winning ways after a surprising loss to Trinity last week, and RGS are more than capable of causing a similar upset this weekend and will be desperate to do so as they are yet to pick up a victory this season and will be eager for some form.

 

Prediction: Brighton College

Who will win Brighton College v RGS High Wycombe?

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Bristol Grammar v Clifton College

 

A massive game, Bristol Grammar booked their Champions Trophy quarter final spot on Tuesday with a strong win over Bryanston and they are undefeated since a close loss to Sir Thomas Rich’s on the opening weekend of the season, a run stretching six games. Clifton College meanwhile built a reputation as a very strong side with three wins from three to start their season. A narrow defeat to Millfield followed, and then a defeat to Marlborough College last weekend, so Clifton will be eager to get back to winning ways and to maintain that strong reputation. This could be one of the very best games of the weekend.

 

Prediction: Clifton College

Who will win Bristol Grammar v Clifton College?

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Caterham v Cranleigh

 

This one absolutely fascinates us. Caterham are having a sensational season, they are unbeaten and seem to be scoring points for fun, and in midweek the moved into the third round of the Schools Cup. Cranleigh will be by far and away the toughest test of their season so far, and how this game goes will probably give us the best gauge on where Caterham are in the grand scheme of things. It is a massive game for Cranleigh too though, with two wins and two losses from their four games, a defeat here on Saturday would perhaps leave things feeling a little flat given the high standards of Cranleigh in recent times. What we know of this group though is that they give everything, with ought to set us up for a brilliant game of rugby.

 

Prediction: Cranleigh

Who will win Caterham v Cranleigh?

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Harrow v Epsom College

 

Another massive game, for both teams. Harrow started their season well with a win over a strong Berkhamsted, but then lost to Warwick and Dulwich College – two top quality sides – before almost coming unstuck against St Paul’s last week, a side that Epsom College put fifty past on the opening weekend. Epsom also lost to Dulwich though, although since then they have been flying along, including a strong win over Grammar School at Leeds to progress to the Champions Trophy quarter finals on Tuesday. The sense is that this will be a really big game, two proud sides with strong records over recent years. Epsom probably have the edge, but Harrow will not roll over ever remotely easily.

 

Prediction: Epsom College

Who will win Harrow v Epsom College?

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Rugby v Bromsgrove

 

These two both moved through to the Schools Cup third round in midweek, Rugby winning a points fest at Northampton School for Boys, while Bromsgrove won 50-0 a KES Birmingham. Over the season to date Rugby have been phenomenal, unbeaten so far and with wins over the likes of Cheltenham College, Oakham, Bedford, and Uppingham. Bromsgrove though are looking strong too, they have five wins to their name and only Warwick and Millfield have beaten them, two of the strongest teams around – and Bromsgrove will get another shot at Warwick in the Cup, the two are drawn together. Calling this one is tricky, Rugby have the strongest record but Bromsgrove will probably be their toughest challenge of the season so far, setting us up for a potential thriller on Saturday.

 

Prediction: Rugby

Who will win Rugby v Bromsgrove?

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Sedbergh v St Peter’s, York

 

Seven wins from seven has marked Sedbergh out as one of the very best in the country once again, they are playing some sparkling rugby. St Peter’s will be a test though, a win in the Cup in midweek preceded by last week’s defeat of QEGS Wakefield ought to have them playing with plenty of confidence. Sedbergh have a number of injuries, and are surely targeting Wednesday’s game against Kirkham Grammar School as their biggest game before half term. Could that open the door for St Peter’s? If it has then you can be sure that St Peter’s will be trying to hammer through, but it will take something very very special to defeat this Sedbergh side.

 

Prediction: Sedbergh

Who will win Sedbergh v St Peter's, York?

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Sherborne v Millfield

 

A slow start to the season from Sherborne picked up last weekend with an excellent win against Abingdon. What they probably did not want straight afterwards though was a tricky fixture against Millfield, possibly the strongest side in the country at the moment with five wins from five, including a defeat of Wellington College a fortnight ago. This is usually a cracking fixture though, two sides with great history and reputations that play some fine attacking rugby. If that spirit continues on Saturday, we ought to be in for a highly enjoyable fixture.

 

Prediction: Millfield

Who will win Sherborne v Millfield?

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St Edward’s, Oxford v Cheltenham College

 

Teddies are yet to win this season, with four defeats from four, yet the sense is that with every game they are stepping closer and closer. Saturday will be tough, Cheltenham College are a top side, but on their pristine home pitch and with growing confidence, Teddies might just fancy an upset. Cheltenham College will be in no mood to allow slip ups, having lost to Rugby last weekend they will be itching to get straight back to winning ways and there is no doubt that they have the ability to do so. Either way, we ought to see some brilliant rugby on display in Oxford.

 

Prediction: Cheltenham College

Who will win St Edward's, Oxford v Cheltenham College?

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Woodhouse Grove v Denstone College

 

Very possibly the biggest game of the weekend. Woodhouse Grove have been sensational this season, they have six wins from six including a stunning 48-0 victory at QEGS Wakefield in midweek in the Schools Cup – that’s QEGS who reached last years final. Denstone are going to be one of their biggest challenges of the season so far though, perhaps the biggest challenge. The Staffordshire side have been a bit light on games thanks to a cancellation of their game against Abingdon, but have beaten Langley and Solihull and look good. They lost to Sedbergh, but game the Cumbrian side one of their biggest challenges of the season. If they can perform with that sort of quality against Woodhouse Grove, this game will be very much in the balance. It should be an epic.

 

Prediction: Woodhouse Grove

Who will win Woodhouse Grove v Denstone College?

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Around the Grounds

 

The big games just keep on coming this Saturday as the patterns of the season really begin to emerge and teams look to head in towards half term with plenty of momentum.

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Among them Hampton, who had a thrilling and spectacular win over Dulwich College in the Champions Trophy in midweek – the reigning champions. Surely they can ride the crest of that wave at the weekend and into the St Joseph’s Festival, however they have a tricky fixture away at Seaford College, who enjoyed a strong win in the Schools Cup and are bubbling with confidence themselves.

 

So too are Berkhamsted, who are enjoying a fine season and absolutely cruised through to the Champions Trophy quarter finals on Tuesday. They travel to an unpredictable Felsted side on Saturday, who made up for Saturday’s defeat to Eltham with a good win over New Hall in the Cup in midweek. There is the potential for this to be a real firecracker, but Berkhamsted will take some stopping.

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As will Warwick, who bounced back from a heavy defeat to a determined Wellington College side last weekend with a stunning 55-0 Cup win over Solihull in midweek. They travel to Stamford, who have been enjoying a fine season, only for injuries to get in the way somewhat over the last week or so. How they have recovered may well prove important in this one on Saturday.

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A game that always stands out on the calendar is Dulwich College v Bedford. These two have enjoyed some great battles over the years, producing some of the best schools rugby around. Unfortunately Bedford are struggling a little this year, but both sides arrive on Saturday with a point to prove. Dulwich lost in heartbreaking fashion to Hampton in the final play of Wednesday Champions Trophy tie, ending their reign as champions. You suspect they will be fired up for Saturday. So too will Bedford though, who were knocked out by Hurstpierpoint just an hour later. We will see two very determined sides on Saturday.

 

Equally determined will be Bishop’s Stortford High School, whose unbeaten start to the season was ended by their local rivals Bishop’s Stortford College in the Cup on Wednesday. They host The Perse, whose tight Cup win in their derby against The Leys ought to have them full of confidence.

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Campion are another confident side, but they are hosting a St Albans side that are surely at all-time high from a confidence point of view at the moment after their win over Haileybury last weekend, giving Saturday a hugely exciting flavor.

 

Looking North, there are some cracking games of rugby coming up, not least a trip from Barnard Castle to Lancaster RGS. Lancaster are looking really strong this season and enjoyed a tight win over Stonyhurst College last time out, but Barnard Castle are always a tough test and will be doubly determined on Saturday after losing out to RGS Newcastle in midweek.

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The same will likely be true of Durham, who travel to Ampleforth College after a narrow defeat to St Peter’s York in midweek. This game usually produces plenty of excitement and with any luck will do so again on Saturday.

 

Meanwhile in the South West there is plenty of exciting action, but one game that particularly catches our eye is the trip of Sir Thomas Rich’s to Colston’s. Colston’s have had a flying start to the season but lost a tight Cup game in midweek to the unbeaten Downside and will be looking to correct the ship pronto against Tommies. That will be easier said than done though, Sir Thomas Rich’s are playing some glorious rugby, and have only lost to Clifton and Kirkham, two of the strongest sides around.

 

Friday

 

There are two awesome games on Friday night. Abindgon host arguably their toughest opponent of the season on Friday as unbeaten Kirkham Grammar School come to town, one of the very best teams in the country.

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Meanwhile at Esher RFC Trinity host St John’s Leatherhead, Trinity will be full of confidence after beating Brighton College last week, while St John’s are on a fast turnaround after their thrilling Champions Trophy victory on Tuesday.

 

A reminder that we welcome any photos, videos, and reports from your school’s games – the more the merrier! You can send them in to us via any of the methods below:

Twitter: @FifteenRugbyXV

Facebook: www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby

Instagram: @fifteenrugbyxv

Email: writers@fifteenrugby.com

 

Schools Rugby Weekend Fixtures – Saturday 13th October (predictions in bold):

 

Focus On

 

Blundell’s v Canford

Brighton College v RGS High Wycombe

Bristol GS v Clifton College

Caterham v Cranleigh

Harrow v Epsom College

Rugby v Bromsgrove

Sedbergh v St Peter’s, York

Sherborne v Millfield

St Edward’s, Oxford v Cheltenham College

Woodhouse Grove v Denstone College

 

Saturday

 

Ampleforth College v Durham

Ashford v Kent College

Ashville College v Hymers College

Bablake v Wellingborough

Bedstone College v Abraham Darby

Bishop’s Stortford HS v The Perse

Bishop Vesey’s GS v St Peter’s, Gloucester

Bradford GS v Grammar School at Leeds

Brentwood v Norwich

Bryanston v King’s College, Taunton

Campion v St Albans

Chatham & Clarendon v King’s Rochester

Churcher’s College v Reading Blue Coat

Colfe’s v Eltham College

Colston’s v Sir Thomas Rich’s

Cranbrook v St Lawrence College

Crossley Heath v QEGS Wakeifeld

Dean Close v Taunton

Downside v Warminster

Dulwich College v Bedford

Ellesmere College v Adams GS

Emmanuel College v Austin Friars

Exeter v Queen’s College, Taunton

Felsted v Berkhamsted

Glenalmond College v Strathallan

Haileybury v Bedford Modern

Hereford Cathedral v Wisbech GS

Hurstpierpoint College v Skinners’

Ipswich v New Hall

John Fisher v London Oratory

KCS Wimbledon v Reed’s

KES Bath v King’s Bruton

KES Stratford v The Crypt

King’s Canterbury v Simon Langton GS

King’s Worcester v KES Birmingham

Kirkham GS 2nd XV v Manchester GS

Lancaster RGS v Barnard Castle

Latymer Upper v Gordon’s

Liverpool College v Cheadle Hulme

Lymm HS v Stockport GS

Merchant Taylors’ v Aylesbury GS

Milton Abbey v Shebbear College

Monkton Combe v Wycliffe College

Newcastle School for Boys v Yarm

Nottingham HS v Trent College

Old Swinford Hospital v Wrekin College

The Oratory v Wellington College 2nd XV

Pangbourne College v Bloxham

Plymouth College v Truro

Portsmouth GS v Magdalen College

Princethrope College v King Henry VIII, Coventry

QEH v Prior Park College

QES, Barnet v St Columba’s College

RGS Colchester v Framlingham College

RGS Guildford v Judd

RGS Newcastle v Dame Allan’s

Richard Hale v Bancroft’s

Sandbach v Wilmslow HS

Seaford College v Hampton

Shiplake College v City of London Freemen’s

Sir Joseph Williamson’s v Maidstone GS

Solihull v Malvern College

Stamford v Warwick

Stonyhurst College v Rydal Penrhos

St Ignatius College v St Edmund’s College

St Olave’s GS v St Dunstan’s College

Sutton Valence v Whitgift 2nd XV

Wallington CGS v Glyn

Watford GS v St George’s, Harpenden

Wellington School v Christ College

Whitgift v Chislehurst & Sidcup GS

 

Friday

 

Abingdon v Kirkham GS

Trinity v St John’s, Leatherhead