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School Rugby

Schools Rugby: Weekend Preview – Saturday 22nd September

20th September 2018
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A busy week of schools rugby soon gives way to the third weekend of the school season, and some exceptional fixtures await us.

 

It is a very slightly reduced fixture list this weekend, with a number of schools having exeat weekends or a rest week this Saturday, hence the number of midweek games, but there is still so much high quality rugby going on.

 

Two weeks in patterns are beginning to emerge, but it is still early enough to break those patterns and make new ones – and some of the head to heads this weekend will do just that.

 

Focus On

 

Bedford v Sedbergh

 

A massive game this, perhaps more so for Bedford than Sedbergh. Bedford lost last weekend to Rugby and they would have wanted to be much closer. So consistent over the last few years they will not want to lose two in a row. Sedbergh then are about as tough an opposition as there might be, always one of the best around and so dominant last year, they have started the season in style, winning three from three including putting fifty past Wilmslow on Wednesday. Could the quick turnaround mean a few get rested though? Either way, this is a huge game between two sides that have been right at the top end in recent times.

 

Prediction: Sedbergh

Who will win Bedford v Sedbergh?

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Clifton College v St Edward’s, Oxford

 

Clifton are looking seriously impressive so far this season, enjoying strong wins over Monmouth and Sir Thomas Rich’s, neither of whom are slouches. St Edward’s Oxford’s only game so far was a defeat last week to Marlborough College, but Marlborough look as though they are a very good side this year, and Teddies will no doubt be determined off the back of that to pick up a first win of the season. Beating Clifton would mark them out as a top side, while a third win on the bounce for Clifton would certainly keep everyone casting an eye their way to see if they are one of the very best around.

 

Prediction: Clifton College

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

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Cranleigh v Epsom College

 

Another massive clash, this one between two relatively near rivals. Cranleigh bounced back well from their opening day defeat to Brighton with an excellent win over Abingdon last week. For Epsom things have been the other way around, they were in sensational form against St Paul’s in the opening week before being defeated by a good Dulwich College side last week. Both will fancy their chances on Saturday, each side has plenty of quality and bags of positive recent history. A win for either on Saturday really could set them up for a flying run through to half term.

 

Prediction: Cranleigh

Who will win Cranleigh v Epsom College?

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Dulwich College v Harrow

 

This fixture really fascinates us, both sides have a win and a loss each and will view this as a chance to really see where they are. They have faced tough opposition too, Dulwich have faced Wellington College and Epsom, beating Epsom, while Harrow have played Berkhamsted and Warwick, beating Berkhamsted. It all suggests that this ought to be a really well contested and close game of rugby between two good sides. Home advantage could help Dulwich, but so too could Harrow’s stunning record over the last few year, breeding confidence throughout the school. Definitely game to keep an eye on.

 

Prediction: Harrow

Who will win Dulwich College v Harrow?

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Hampton v Bromsgrove

 

Hampton because the first side to qualify for the last 16 of the 2018 Champions Trophy in midweek and are looking really good this season, but this is probably their first big test of the season, against a side that has been excellent for a number of years now. It hasn’t been a perfect start from Bromsgrove, but nor has it been a bad one, they lost to rivals Warwick in their opener before beating Oundle last week. It promises to be a massive game of rugby between two very very good school sides, whichever of the two wins it will have every right to be bursting with confidence as they head into the rest of the season.

 

Prediction: Hampton

Who will win Hampton v Bromsgrove?

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Sir Thomas Rich’s v Kirkham Grammar

 

Like Sedbergh, Kirkham are unafraid of putting in the miles to test themselves each week. Already they have demonstrated that they are right up there with the very best in the country once again, with wins over Llandovery College and Northampton School for Boys. Tommies are probably a bit of a step up though, they took a big scalp in the for of Bristol Grammar in the opening weekend of the season but did lose well to Clifton last week. They will be up for this though and know that it would be a big scalp, and they are no strangers to taking big scalps, just as Millfield, this game ought to tell us a lot about both sides – and not just in simple win/loss terms, but in how close the game is, how high or low scoring. A fascinating afternoon in the South West.

 

Prediction: Kirkham Grammar

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

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St John’s, Leatherhead v Brighton College

 

St John’s have had a quiet start to the season, a good win over Wimbledon College and a triangular with Hampton and Tonbridge from which results were not published. The feeling is though that they will once again be a strong side, one that even the top sides will have to work very very hard to beat. Brighton so far have proven themselves to be one of those top sides, first beating old rivals Cranleigh with an excellent performance before backing it up with a meaningful and hard fought in over Hurstpierpoint College. This will be another massive contest and one that we cannot wait to see unfold.

 

Prediction: Brighton College

Who will win St John's, Leatherhead v Brighton College?

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St Paul’s v RGS High Wycombe

 

Both of these sides had really tough opening games of the season, St Paul’s going down heavily to Epsom a fortnight ago, and RGS going down by an even greater margin to Millfield last week. St Paul’s bounced back brilliantly, beating a good Bishop Wordsworth’s side on Saturday. The question this weekend is can RGS do the same and turn things around after such a tough start, or will St Paul’s keep their momentum from last week going? It could well also tell us a great deal about where Millfield sit, despite them not actually playing. Whatever the result, this should be a great game and it is a great opportunity for both.

 

Prediction: St Paul’s

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

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Stowe v Stamford

 

Another fascinating fixture this between two sides that have given some great showings over the last number of years. Neither have had perfect starts to the season, Stowe losing to Marlborough College and Cheltenham College, and Stamford beating Nottingham High School before losing in their derby to Oakham. However those results do not quite tell the full story, Marlborough and Cheltenham are top quality sides, defeat is no shame against either, while Stamford’s defeat to Oakham was by just a point and they only narrowly missed with a kick in the last play to win. So fine are the margins. This ought, therefore, to be a fascinating game and while another defeat for either side will weigh heavily, a win will put a real spring in the step.

 

Prediction: Stamford

Who will win Stowe v Stamford?

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Whitgift v Wellington College

 

Perhaps the game of the weekend. The early sense is that these two are going to be among the best handful of sides in the country, despite having not played much so far this year. Whitgift began with a defeat to Sedbergh, but it was a brilliant defeat against a side that are without doubt right up there with the very best and defeat only came thanks to a last play score from the visitors. They quickly got back on the horse too, enjoying a strong win over Seaford last week. Wellington College meanwhile had a week off last week, so their only game was their opening weekend victory over Dulwich. It was a slow start, but once they got going they were quite simply sensational. This will be mouth-watering on Saturday, and well tell us a lot about the rest of the season to come.

 

Prediction: Wellington College

Who will win Whitgift v Wellington College?

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Around the Grounds

 

The brilliant rugby keeps on going well beyond just our ten ‘Focus On’ fixtures. Caterham v Shiplake College among them, two schools that do not often get too many headlines but who have made good starts to the season and ought to put on a show on Saturday.

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One that fascinates us is Haileybury v Oundle. How will Haileybury react to what was a fairly sobering defeat to Felsted last week. A win on Saturday would say a lot for their character, but Oundle are no easy side to beat and will be looking to bounce back themselves after a loss to a good Bromsgrove side last weekend.

 

Staying in the South East, The Leys host Langley on Saturday for what promises to be a very interesting encounter. The Leys began their season with a bang against Bedford Modern but fell to defeat last week, Langley will not be an easy side to get back on the horse against though, they were sensational last year and look strong again this year. Over in Ipswich St Joseph’s College are hosting one of the stars of the early season, Norwich, in a game that doubles as a Schools Cup tie, meaning that one big name is going to be going out very early. This one ought to be a real classic and you sense it could easily go either way.

 

Moving even further South East, to Kent, Tonbridge host Judd for what should be a fascinating derby game. Neither has had the start to the season that they would have wanted but a win on Saturday would do them both the world of good and you can expect a hard-fought game.

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There are some epic fixtures in the north of England this weekend, not least in Yorkshire where Woodhouse Grove are looking to continue their flying start to the season when they travel to Pocklington. Wins over St Peter’s York and QEGS Wakefield have marked Woodhouse as a team to watch, but Pocklington are always a top quality outfit and will cause plenty of problems.

 

St Peter’s themselves have a big game too, they host Durham on Saturday in what should be another really well contested game, as should Bradford Grammar School’s trip to Stonyhurst College, two sides who go under the radar far more often that their performances deserve.

 

Meanwhile Grammar School at Leeds’ trip to Lancaster RGS also fascinates us, these are two schools capable of really big performances, and Lancaster RGS’ pre-season win over QEGS Wakefield really flagged them up as a side to just keep an eye on. This should be an interesting one.

 

Among the many other brilliant games of rugby this weekend is a great looking fixture in the South West between Kingswood and Bristol Grammar School, two sides who performed brilliantly last year and will be looking to replicate that form this year. Both are also in the Champions Trophy, adding another little layer of intrigue to the game.

 

There is also a quadrangular this weekend, taking place at Queen’s College Taunton as they host Clayesmore, Shebbear, and Milton Abbey.

 

Friday

 

Unfortunately Denstone College’s game with Abingdon on Friday night has been cancelled, with Abingdon unable to raise a side, a real shame as it would have been a fascinating test of where each side is.

 

Monmouth v St Peter’s Gloucester at Cinderford RFC does go ahead though and should be an awesome occasion under the lights between two schools with plenty of rugby history behind them.

 

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 22nd September (predictions in bold):

 

Focus On

 

Bedford v Sedbergh (Keele University)

Clifton College v St Edward’s, Oxford

Cranleigh v Epsom College

Dulwich College v Harrow

Hampton v Bromsgrove

Sir Thomas Rich’s v Kirkham GS

St John’s, Leatherhead v Brighton College

St Paul’s v RGS High Wycombe

Stowe v Stamford

Whitgift v Wellington College

 

Saturday

 

Ashford v King’s Rochester

Austin Friars v Dame Allan’s

Audenshaw v Crossley Heath

Bablake v Ratcliffe College

Berkhamsted v KCS Wimbledon

Bishop Vesey’s GS v Loughborough GS

Bishop Wordsworth’s v Pangbourne College

Brentwood v Ipswich

Canford v Portsmouth GS

Cardinal Vaughan v Latymer Upper

Caterham v Shiplake College

Cheadle Hulme v Calday Grange GS

Churcher’s College v Gordon’s

Colston’s v Malvern College

Downside v Bryanston

Eltham College v Ravens Wood

Gravesend GS v Kent College

Haileybury v Oundle

Hurstpierpoint College v Reed’s

John Fisher v Skinners’

KES Bath v Dauntsey’s

King’s Bruton v Wellington School

King’s Canterbury v Sir Joseph Williamson’s

King’s College, Taunton v Blundell’s

King’s Gloucester v Hereford Cathedral

Kingswood v Bristol GS

Kirkham GS 2nd XV v St Ambrose College

Lancaster RGS v Grammar School at Leeds

The Leys v Langley

London Oratory v Gunnersbury

Lord Wandsworth College v Seaford College

Maidstone GS v Cranbrook

Manchester GS v Merchant Taylors’ Crosby

Mill Hill v Haberdashers’

Mount St Mary’s College v Hymers College

Nottingham HS v KES Stratford

The Oratory v Pangbourne College

The Perse v Framlingham College

Pocklington v Woodhouse Grove

Princethorpe College v Leicester GS

QEH v Exeter

Queen Ethelburga’s v Birkdale

QES Barnet v Bedford Modern

Reading Blue Coat v City of London Freemen’s

Reigate GS v Wallington CGS

Rydal Penrhos v Giggleswick

Silcoates v Ashville College

Solihull v Northampton School for Boys

St Albans v Bloxham

St Dunstan’s College v Chislehurst & Sidcup GS

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

St George’s Harpenden v Richard Hale

St Joseph’s College v Norwich (Schools Cup)

St Lawrence College v Chatham & Clarendon GS

St Mary’s College v Liverpool College

St Olave’s GS v Coopers’ Coborn

St Peter’s, York v Durham

Stonyhurst College v Bradford GS

Taunton v Plymouth College

Tiffin v Emanuel

Tonbridge v Judd

Trent College v Old Swinford Hospital

Trinity v Campion

Wellingborough v St Columba’s College

Wilmslow HS v Ellesmere College

Wimbledon College v RGS Guildford

Wisbech Grammar School v King’s Ely

Worksop College v King’s Grantham

Woodbridge v RGS Colchester

Wrekin College v Abraham Darby

 

Quadrangular: Queen’s College Taunton, Clayesmore, Shebbear, Milton Abbey

 

Friday

 

Monmouth v St Peter’s, Gloucester (Cinderford RFC)