This weekend the attention of the rugby world might move to the Guinness Six Nations but rugby fans would do well to cast a glance towards the schools rugby world, too.
With games on Friday and Saturday and massive 7s tournaments on Sunday, there is plenty to focus on and it should be of a fantastic standard too, with some of the top sides in the country in action over the course of the weekend.
There are a couple of games on Friday night, one at Ealing Trainfinders RFC that should really grab the headlines as AASE side Henley College take on top school side St Joseph’s College. All the signs point towards a hugely exciting and physical contest that should be one of the games of the weekend. Also on Friday night is another game that should have a healthy crowd coming along as St James’ take on Waldegrave.
Saturday has some excellent looking fixtures, not least a huge game between Hampton and Whitgift, two of the best around and with the U18 Academy League having a rest week, they could well be at full strength. Whitgift have a Schools Cup semi final to prepare for next month and this will be one of the key games for them in the build up. Hampton will not give an inch, and it could make for one of the very best games of the term so far.
So too could Sir Thomas Rich’s v Warwick, both sides are top teams but have struggled a little this term, losses to the U18 Academy League have not helped, but will be itching to be at their best on Saturday, Warwick particularly as they also have a Schools Cup semi final to get ready for.
A third Schools Cup semi finalist is action this weekend, Northampton School for Boys. Generally speaking this term they have been playing a 2nd XV with so many of their players in U18 Academy League action, but if ever there were a time to give those absent players a run out, this was it. They will be hosting Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School, in what should be a strong test.
Elsewhere look out for John Fisher, who have been superb this term. They will be looking to carry that form on over Saturday when they host Glyn. As have RGS High Wycombe, who claimed yet another big scalp last weekend, they host a St Benedict’s side that have been playing some great rugby this term, and the two have a good rivalry from the latter part of the 2000s.
Once again Scotland has a busy day in store on Saturday and there are some epic games coming up. Chief among them being George Watson’s College v Dollar Academy, a high level clash between two of the best in the business. As is Merchiston Castle v Stewart’s Melville, two utter legends of the Scottish game going head to head.
Elsewhere in Scotland there is plenty more action, George Heriot’s host Glasgow Academy, with Edinburgh Academy at home to Earlston High School. Meanwhile Hutchesons’ Grammar head to Jordanhill, with Kelvinside Academy travelling to Edinburgh Royal High School, and Robert Gordon’s College welcome Deeside.
Back in England, King’s Macclesfield’s trip to Solihull ought to be a fascinating one and a great game of rugby, as should KES Stratford v King Henry VIII Coventry, while Tiffin’s trip to St George’s Harpenden should also provide plenty of entertainment.
Manchester Grammar have had a couple of tricky results of late, the will be itching to get back to their best but they have a tough task ahead of them as they head to a Wirral Grammar side that have been playing some excellent rugby all season. Not too far away from there, Lancaster RGS will be hosting St Ambrose College in what should be one of the top games of the weekend, while in the Midlands Old Swinford Hopsital travel to Loughborough Grammar and Welbeck host Bablake.
Elsewhere Judd host Coopers’ Coborn and Dartford Grammar travel to Chislehurst & Sidcup for what should a good game, meanwhile in a battle of the international schools, British School of Paris take on Cobham International School.
There is also 7s action on Saturday, too. Rossall School will host a small tournament as the 7s season really begins to take hold.
The 7s season really gathers momentum on Sunday, last week saw the major tournaments kick off with the Seaford 7s. Epsom College won that and on Sunday they will head to Portsmouth Grammar School for the 16 team South Coast 7s, featuring some of the biggest names in schools rugby. You can see our preview here: South Coast 7s Draw and Preview.
After hosting their tournament last week, Seaford College head to Shiplake College on Sunday for the Shiplake 7s. It too is going feature some of the biggest names around, including the likes of Wellington College and Clifton College, and by the end of the weekend we are going to know plenty about some of the sides to look out for on the road to Rosslyn Park. You can see our preview here: Shiplake 7s Draw & Preview.
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Schools Rugby Weekend Fixtures – Saturday 1st February (predictions in bold):
St James’ v Waldegrave
St Joseph’s College v Henley College – Ealing Trailfinders RFC
British School of Paris v Cobham International School
Chislehurst & Sidcup GS v Dartford GS
Edinburgh Academy v Earlston HS
George Heriot’s v Glasgow Academy
George Watson’s College v Dollar Academy
Hampton v Whitgift
John Fisher v Glyn
Jordanhill v Hutchesons’ GS
Judd v Coopers’ Coborn
KES Stratford v King Henry VIII, Coventry
Lancaster RGS v St Ambrose College
Loughborough GS v Old Swinford Hospital
Merchiston Castle v Stewart’s Melville
Northampton School for Boys v Bishop Vesey’s GS
RGS High Wycombe v St Benedict’s
Robert Gordon’s College v Deeside
Royal HS, Edinburgh v Kelvinside Academy
Sir Thomas Rich’s v Warwick
Solihull v King’s Macclesfield
St George’s, Harpenden v Tiffin
Welbeck v Bablake
Wirral GS v Manchester GS
Shiplake 7s – Click here for preview
South Coast 7s – Click here for preview