This weekend sees a number of schools enter the fray for the first time in 2020 and also sees the first foray into the world of 7s this year for a handful of schools in the south west.
Last weekend saw something exciting games to kick off the New Year, but this weekend looks busier and there are some seriously big games with top sides going head to head.
Among the huge games on Saturday will the trip of Schools Cup semi finalists, Warwick, to Hampton. Both were in action last week, Hampton enjoying a big win while Warwick fell to John Fisher. As a result, expect a big response from the Midlands side. Both will be without a number of key players though, with Warwick set to lose players to Worcester Warriors’ U18 Academy League game against Newcastle Falcons, and Hampton set to lose players to both Harlequins and London Irish, both of whom are in action.
Quins are away at Bath, and as such Millfield will be missing a few key names, plus Will Joseph who is likely to play for Irish. The Somerset side are in action again though, their fourth game of 2020, as they welcome a invitational side to their famous Gareth Edwards pitch in the form of Welsh Academicals.
After that brilliant victory over Warwick last week, John Fisher are back in action again and will be looking to build on that impressive result. They host Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar on Saturday morning.
That is one of a number of exciting games in the south east, including Dartford Grammar’s trip to Judd, whose 4G pitch has proved very handy this week for a number of schools in the face of the tough weather conditions, which hopefully will not have too much impact over the weekend. St George’s Harpenden, who have helped produce so many top players in recent times, are hosting Coopers’ Coborn in Hertfordshire on Saturday.
One to keep a real eye on will be Brighton College’s trip to Campion on Saturday. Brighton will be without some frontline players but after some experimental training games last week, they should be absolutely firing for this one against a Campion side that is always one of the toughest to get a result against.
Seaford College were one of the most impressive around last term and they are back in action in 2020 as they host RGS High Wycombe on Saturday, a side that claimed some huge scalps last term, Millfield and Brighton College among them, and will be absolutely up for the challenge.
There is a big challenge for St Benedict’s too, they host Schools Cup semi finalists Northampton School for Boys in what could be a top game. NSB are an excellent side but will be without some of their top players, who will be in action for Northampton Saints U18 against Wasps on Saturday.
As ever at this time of year, the North West draws plenty of attention, not least with a cracking looking contest between Manchester Grammar and Crossley Heath. Equally tasty should be King’s Macclesfield v Mount St Mary’s College, two strong sides that are in good form and, while players might be missing, we can still expect a cracking game of rugby.
Elsewhere in the region the impressive Wirral Grammar head to Altrincham Grammar while St Ambrose College host St Anselm’s College. Meanwhile a little further south, Oswestry host Abraham Darby.
Yorkshire does not have too much going on this weekend, but among the fixtures is one absolute gem as Schools Cup legends QEGS Wakefield host a very strong Lancaster RGS side for what promises to be a cracking game of rugby. Meanwhile along the road Hymers College welcome Rishworth, one time school of George Ford.
Scotland was badly weather hit last weekend and almost every game was called off, hopefully this week the weather holds back as there are some cracking games, not least Stewart’s Melville’s trip to George Watson’s College, two absolute giants of Scottish rugby. Elsewhere Dollar Academy host Edinburgh Academy, while Glasgow Academy travel to Dundee High School. Meanwhile George Heriot’s are in action at Bell Baxter, with Hutchesons’ Grammar hosting St Columba’s and Robert Gordon’s College welcoming St Aloysius’ College.
The Midlands has plenty of action on Saturday too, not least as Solihull, fresh from an impressive victory over Sir Thomas Rich’s last week, head to Loughborough Grammar. Elsewhere Shrewsbury welcome Adams Grammar and King Henry VIII, Coventry are hosting Repton.
KES Stratford are in action on Saturday, they host KES Camp Hill, and keep an eye out too for Old Swinford Hospital, they impressed last term and are in action on Saturday at home to Bishop Vesey’s Grammar.
This term Sunday is always 7s day, and that starts this week with a small quadrangular at King’s Bruton. Joining the hosts, King’s Bruton, will be Milton Abbey, Prior Park College, and Queen’s College, Taunton as they all begin their preparations for the busy 7s season ahead.
With the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s draw due out on Friday, it should all add to a sense that the 7s season really has begun!
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Schools Rugby Fixtures – Saturday 18th January (predictions in bold):
Altrincham GS v Wirral GS
Bell Baxter v George Heriot’s
Campion v Brighton College
Dollar Academy v Edinburgh Academy
Dundee HS v Glasgow Academy
George Watson’s College v Stewart’s Melville
Hampton v Warwick
Hutchesons’ GS v St Columba’s
Hymers College v Rishworth
John Fisher v Chislehurst & Sidcup GS
Judd v Dartford GS
KES Stratford v KES Camp Hill
King Henry VIII, Coventry v Repton
King’s Macclesfield v Mount St Mary’s College
Loughborough GS v Solihull
Manchester GS v Crossley Heath
Millfield v Welsh Academicals
Old Swinford Hospital v Bishop Vesey’s GS
Oswestry v Abraham Darby
QEGS Wakefield v Lancaster RGS
Robert Gordon’s College v St Aloysius’ College
Seaford College v RGS High Wycombe
Shrewsbury v Adams GS
St Ambrose College v St Anselm’ College
St Benedict’s v Northampton School for Boys
St George’s, Harpenden v Coopers’ Coborn
King’s Bruton Quadrangular (7s) – King’s Bruton, Milton Abbey, Prior Park College, Queen College Taunton.