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School Rugby

Schools Rugby Weekend Preview: Saturday 21st September

19th September 2019
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The Rugby World Cup is the undoubted focus of the rugby-watching world as of Friday morning, alarms will be set for those 5.45am kick offs, team selections debated, and predictions made.

 

However for a small pocket of the country the World Cup might just play second fiddle as this school rugby season continues, stars of future world cups out there putting in the hard yards alongside their mates on the nation’s playing fields.

 

So far it has been a stunning season, with some absolutely sensational rugby played over the past two weeks. This weekend will be a touch quieter, a number of independent schools have an exeat this weekend and therefore the fixture list is a little reduced. Nevertheless, it is still deep and there are some absolutely spectacular games for us to dive into, beginning, as ever, with our ten ‘Focus On’ fixtures.

 

Focus On

 

Brighton College v Cardinal Newman (Noah Rees Foundation Game, Friday)

 

Occasionally things happen that really put life and rugby into perspective, as was the case when Cardinal Newman pupil Noah Rees had an off-field accident that left him in a coma with back, skull, and numerous other severe injuries. On Friday though rugby shows its worth as Brighton College host Cardinal Newman for a special game raising funds to aid Noah’s recovery. The game really is not the most important thing at all in such situations, but without doubt as soon as the whistle goes both sides will pour everything to it and will doubtless add to what will already be a very special occasion.

 

Prediction: Brighton College

Who will win the Noah Rees Foundation game?

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Campion v Trinity

 

For us this looks like a massive game, former Schools Cup champions Campion have begun the season it pretty dominant style, with a 29-0 victory over St Benedict’s and a 27-7 victory over Eltham College that sent them through to the second round of the Cup. Trinity will probably be their biggest challenge of the season so far though. The Croydon based side beat local rivals John Fisher, who have beaten Eton, in a tight game to open their account before beating Gordon’s last time out. We know these are two sides that can play very good rugby, by the end of the game we will know even more.

 

Prediction: Campion

Who will win Campion v Trinity?

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Cranleigh v Hampton

 

One of the biggest games of the season, featuring two sides that you just sense will be there or thereabouts towards the back end. Cranleigh have started the season sensationally, enjoying a good win at Tonbridge before a thumping victory over Bishop Wordworth’s last time out. They are an all court type of side with excellent 7s pedigree and it shows. So too are Hampton though, they played well in a triangular with Tonbridge and St John’s last weekend and beat John Fisher in their opening game of the season. This feels like the real start of the season for them in some ways though and it will be fascinating to see how they go in a game that feels like it could go either way.

 

Prediction: Cranleigh

Who will win Cranleigh v Hampton?

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Harrow v Dulwich College

 

Another absolute belter of a fixture as North West London hosts South East London. Harrow have a perfect two out of two record so far having secured tight victories over Berkhamsted and Warwick. In doing so they have proven that they are a very good side, but also that they can dig deep and work for their outcome as well anyone. Dulwich have shown real resilience too, they had a tough opening game of the season at Wellington College but bounced back brilliantly to win convincingly at St Joseph’s College last week. They will be ready for the Harrow challenge, no doubt, and we could be in for quite a game.

 

Prediction: Harrow

Who will win Harrow v Dulwich College?

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King’s Macclesfield v QEGS Wakefield

 

It has been a tricky old start for King’s Macclesfield, facing an outstanding Denstone College side in their first outing before defeats to Lancaster RGS and Cheadle Hulme. Nevertheless they will be up for this one and they are full of match practice, QEGS on the other hand have just one game under their belts, a defeat to Woodhouse Grove last weekend. It feels like a key game for both sides, each has the potential to really kick on with a victory, especially given their next run of games, and it could make for a very exciting game.

 

Prediction: QEGS Wakefield

Who will win King's Macclesfield v QEGS Wakefield?

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Kirkham Grammar v Sir Thomas Rich’s

 

Kirkham have absolutely flown out of the traps this season, in two games scoring 107 points and conceding just five. Already they are showing signs of being right up there with the best in the country again, but this game ought to be a real sign of where they stand. Sir Thomas Rich’s have not had the easiest of starts, going down fairly convincingly to Bristol Grammar and Clifton College, however the suspicion from us is that both of those sides are going to end up right towards the top of the tree by the end of the season. Kirkham are another such side, but Tommies are well battle-hardened now having faced two similar sides already.

 

Prediction: Kirkham Grammar

Who will win Kirkham Grammar v Sir Thomas Rich's?

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Oundle v Haileybury

 

We are really interested to see how this game between these two old rivals goes. Oundle started their season off well with a strong win over Bedford before last week going down to what appears to be a seriously strong Bromsgrove side. Haileybury meanwhile have had two tight victories, first against Royal Hospital School and then, impressively, 15-7 against Felsted. It all suggests that this could be an excellent game and one from which we ought to learn a lot about both sides. On a dry track in Oundle’s intimidating 1st XV area, which really is an awesome spot, surrounded by boarding houses, it should be a really fun game of schools rugby.

 

Prediction: Oundle

Who will win Oundle v Haileybury?

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RGS High Wycombe v St Paul’s

 

RGS were the headline of last weekend with their superb narrow victory over fellow schools rugby legends, Millfield. The challenge for them now is to back that up and make it a block upon which to build the rest of their season rather than a single standout moment. To do that they will need to be on it from the off against a St Paul’s side that are looking good so far this year. They stayed in the fight against a very good Epsom College side in their opener, only narrowly being defeated, before bouncing back right away last week to defeat a good Abingdon side 19-14. This has the makings of a brilliant schools rugby encounter, one that really could go either way.

 

Prediction: RGS High Wycombe

Who will win RGS High Wycombe v St Paul's?

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Sedbergh v Woodhouse Grove (Friday)

 

The weekend kicks off with an absolutely sensational looking game on Friday evening as two of the very best sides in the north, and indeed the entire country, over the last couple of years go head to head. Sedbergh have won everything in their path for two years straight and the early signs this year are that little has changed, so admirably has been the way that they have dealt with both Whitgift and RGS Newcastle in their first two games, two other major trophy winners last year. Woodhouse Grove are a third big challenge in a row for the men in brown, and for Woodhouse Grove the same is true, they have had St Peter’s York followed by QEGS Wakefield. They lost their opener narrowly to St Peter’s but bounced back brilliantly against QEGS and will be excited about Friday evening. Sedbergh will be favourites, but Woodhouse Grove absolutely will not roll over.

 

Prediction: Sedbergh

Who will win Sedbergh v Woodhouse Grove?

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Wellington College v Whitgift (Seb Adeniran-Olule Foundation Game)

 

Seb Adeniran-Olule was a former pupil of both Wellington College and Whitgift who played age-grade rugby for England, including the U20s, and signed pro terms with Harlequins before he tragically died in an accident. Since then a foundation has been set up in his memory to help support those who would not normally be able to afford the academic and sporting opportunities that he enjoyed. Saturday’s foundation game will be a very special occasion, and should also produce a really fantastic game of rugby that could in all honesty go either way. Both sides will feel that a fitting tribute would be to give everything in this game, creating the sort of match up that you expect when two of the best in the country go head to head, after all, it’s how Seb played the game.

 

Prediction: Wellington College

Who will win the Seb Adeniran-Olule Foundation game?

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Saturday

 

The top quality rugby certainly does not just stop with out ten featured games though, the weekend is packed with exciting games. There is even a Schools Cup match ahead of next Wednesday’s official start of the Cup, with Emanuel hosting Tiffin for what should be a close game.

 

Touring sides are also going to add to the excitement this weekend, South African side Martizburg College head to Wales to face Christ College Brecon, a third game in a week for the South Africans, who defeated Eltham College on Monday and lost narrowly in a brutal game at Millfield on Wednesday.

 

In the South West Argentine side St Andrew’s are involved in an exciting triangular with Exeter School and Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital.

 

Dean Close will look to continue their fine start to the season as they host Magdalen College, while Kingswood face a tricky task in the form of Bristol Grammar, who have started the season brilliantly. Staying in the region, Bryanston v Downside looks like a game that could be a really tight and exciting encounter.

 

St Peter’s York have already marked themselves out as a side to keep an eye on this season with a couple of eye catching victories. They have another big game on Saturday as they travel to Durham, who will be looking for a first scalp after a couple of defeats. Back in Yorkshire, Bradford Grammar, who have had a flying start to the year, host Stonyhurst College, who are also looking good – setting up for what should be a fantastic game.

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RGS Newcastle have an exciting third match of the season, having already beaten Durham and missed out against Sedbergh. They host an Anglo-Scots clash with the famous Stewart’s Melville crossing the border to take them on in what should be a cracking occasion. Meanwhile over in the North West, Wirral Grammar look to bounce back from the tightest of midweek losses to Lymm High School when they travel to Stockport Grammar.

 

Northampton School for Boys gave a great account of themselves in defeat to Wellington College last week and will be really focused on a strong performance against a good Solihull side on Saturday, so too St Joseph’s College who will want to bounce right back from defeat to Dulwich last week as they travel to Norwich for what ought to be a cracking game.

 

Arguably one of the most exciting teams in the country so far this season has been Rugby School, with strong victories over Oakham and Bedford behind them already. They face another traditionally strong outfit in the form of Stowe, who host for the third time in a row after good performance in defeat to Marlborough College and Cheltenham College.

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Rivaling Rugby as one of the most exciting teams so far are Bromsgrove, whose victories over Warwick and Oundle have been highly impressive. They travel to take on a Stamford side that will be eager to bounce back from a narrow loss to local rivals Oakham last time out and, given the form they showed in their opener, they are more than capable.

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Epsom College v Eton College has every chance of being a really excellent game. Epsom have started the season absolutely brilliantly, and while Eton have lost two, they have both been by very small margins and they will be absolutely determined to give everything against Epsom. One side that Epsom caused real trouble for were RGS Guildford, they will be eager to get right back to where they want to be this weekend when they host Wimbledon College. Eton, meanwhile, went down last time to a Berkhamsted side that are looking outstanding so far. They take on Wimbledon College’s great rivals, KCS Wimbledon.

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Elsewhere, Seaford College are off to a flying start with victories over Hurstpierpoint College and Eastbourne College. They host Lord Wandsworth College on Saturday, a side that should be full of confidence after a really gutsy Cup win last time out. Hurstpierpoint College meanwhile go in search of a first win to back up all of their excellent potential as they travel to a Reed’s side that play some fantastic rugby.

 

Bloxham meanwhile look to continue their superb start to the year on their trip to a tricky St Albans side, with St Benedict’s host St George’s College Weybridge for what ought to be a cracking encounter.

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Tonbridge and St John’s took part in an exciting triangular along with Hampton last weekend, this weekend both are at home and facing challenging opposition in the form of The Judd and Eltham College respectively. Both home sides should be favourites, but will undoubtedly be challenged by two good sides.

 

John Fisher will look to bounce back from their defeat to local rivals Trinity last week, though a trip to Skinners’ is always a real challenge. Meanwhile Shiplake College host Caterham for what promises to be a really entertaining rugby between two sides that really like to have a go.

 

Friday

 

In addition to the two ‘Focus On’ games on Friday, Brighton College v Cardinal Newman and Sedbergh v Woodhouse Grove, there are two other big games on Friday evening as Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar take on St Dunstan’s College and Monmouth meet St Peter’s Gloucester, two match-ups that ought to give us a pair of cracking contests to get the weekend started.

 

As we say every season and every week, please do get in touch with your stories, photos, videos, reports, and opinions from the week’s rugby. It all makes a massive difference and allows us to feature your school and your team! You can get in touch via any of the below methods:

 

Twitter: @FifteenRugbyXV

Facebook: www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby

Instagram: @fifteenrugbyxv

Email: writers@fifteenrugby.com

 

Schools Rugby Weekend Fixtures – Saturday 21st September (predictions in bold):

 

Focus On

 

Brighton College v Cardinal Newman (Noah Rees Foundation Game)

Campion v Trinity

Cranleigh v Hampton

Harrow v Dulwich College

King’s Macclesfield v QEGS Wakefield

Kirkham GS v Sir Thomas Rich’s

Oundle v Haileybury

RGS High Wycombe v St Paul’s

Sedbergh v Woodhouse Grove (Friday)

Wellington College v Whitgift (Seb Adeniran-Olule Foundation Game)

 

Saturday

 

AKS Lytham v Altrincham GS

Aylesbury GS v St Edward’s, Oxford

Balfron HS v Morrison’s Academy

Bedford Modern v QES, Barnet

Blundell’s v King’s College, Taunton

Bradford GS v Stonyhurst College

Bristol GS v Kingswood

Bryanston v Downside

Calday Grange GS v Cheadle Hulme

Christ College v Maritzburg College (South Africa)

City of London Freemen’s v Reading Blue Coat

Coopers’ Coborn v St Olave’s GS

Cranbrook v Maidstone GS

Dame Allan’s v Austin Friars

Dauntsey’s v KES Bath

Dean Close v Magdalen College

Dollar Academy v Glasgow Academy

Durham v St Peter’s, York

Earlston HS v Glenalmond College

Ellesmere College v Wilmslow HS

Emanuel v Tiffin (Schools Cup)

Epsom College v Eton College

Exeter v St Andrew’s (Argentina) v QEH (Triangular)

Fettes College v Strathallan

Gordon’s v Churcher’s College

Grammar School at Leeds v Pocklington

Gunnersbury v London Oratory

Hampshire Collegiate v Warminster

Harrogate GS v Giggleswick

Hereford Cathedral v Pate’s GS

Ipswich v Brentwood

KCS Wimbledon v Berkhamsted

Kelvinside Academy v Glasgow HS

Kent College v Gravsend GS

KES Stratford v Nottingham HS

King’s Canterbury v Christ’s Hospital

Langley v The Leys

Langley Park v Dartford GS

Latymer Upper v Cardinal Vaughan

Leicester GS v Princethorpe College

Loughborough GS v Bishop Vesey’s GS

Malvern College v Colston’s

Merchant Taylors’ v Manchester GS

Mill Hill v Haberdashers’

Mount St Mary’s College v Yarm

Northampton School for Boys v Solihull

Norwich v St Joseph’s College

Old Swinford Hospital v Trent College

Pangbourne College v Worth

Portsmouth GS v Canford

Prior Park College v Clayesmore

Queen Ethelburga’s v Birkdale

Queen’s College, Taunton v Taunton

Ratcliffe College v Bablake

Reed’s v Hurstpierpoint College

Richard Hale v St George’s, Harpenden

RGS Colchester v Framlingham College

RGS Guildford v Wimbledon College

RGS Newcastle v Stewart’s Melville

Rodillian Academy v Hymers College

Royal Hospital School v The Perse

Seaford College v Lord Wandsworth College

Shiplake College v Caterham

Skinners’ v John Fisher

Stamford v Bromsgrove

St Albans v Bloxham

St Benedict’s v St George’s College, Weybridge

St Columba’s College v Wellingborough

St John’s, Leatherhead v Eltham College

Stockport GS v Wirral GS

Stowe v Rugby

Tonbridge v Judd

Truro v Mount Kelly

UCS v Hitchin Boys’

Wallington CGS v Reigate GS

Wells Cathedral v Milton Abbey

Wellington v King’s Bruton

Wisbech GS v King’s Ely

Wycliffe College v St Edward’s, Cheltenham

 

Friday

 

Chislehurst & Sidcup GS v St Dunstan’s College

Monmouth v St Peter’s, Gloucester