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School Rugby

Schools Rugby Weekend Preview: Saturday 30th November

28th November 2019
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This weekend is the penultimate one of the school season, for a handful of sides the last, and at this point in the season the point of at all starts to come right into focus.

 

Why, because school rugby is all about the memories made in these last couple of weeks that feels even more true as the realisation for so many Upper 6th pupils sets in that these will be the last few times that they pull on their school shirt, the jersey worn with such pride by them over the last few years and by generations and generations before them.

 

These last couple of games are a chance to cement those memories, to put in performances that when you look back at your years in a school shirt make you proud. The biggest thing that most can do to ensure they have that feeling when they look back in a few years time is to give maximum effort. Rugby is a sport that, perhaps more than any other, asks questions of you physically and emotionally to which the only response is to keep getting up, keep working, keep supporting. That feeling of answering those questions and continuing to put in the effort for your mates, that is the feeling that lasts.

 

Focus On

 

Bromsgrove v Clifton College

 

This is a mammoth game between two sides that have had stellar seasons. Clifton College have only lost twice all season, to Wellington College last weekend and to Oakham in the Champions Trophy. Bromsgrove have only missed out to Stamford, Millfield, and old rivals Warwick in the Schools Cup, who they play again next week. These are two exceptional sides that have played rugby that is up these with some of the very best we’ve seen in the country this year. The margins should be tight and should make for a game of real tension and drama, Clifton’s track record against common opposition makes them the favourites, but Bromsgrove will give as good as they get and this should be an absolutely superb game of schools rugby.

 

Prediction: Clifton College

Who will win Bromsgrove v Clifton College?

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Dulwich College v St Paul’s

 

South East London meets South West London in this one and it should make for an excellent game of rugby, too. Dulwich have found the going tough since half term, but were involved in an absolutely fantastic contest with an in form Tonbridge side last week. They lost out by three points but more that played their part against a side whose excellent form was in part built through a 23-13 victory over St Paul’s a couple of weeks ago. Those results against Tonbridge suggest that Saturday should be a close game of rugby, and it is one with plenty of history behind it too, two of London’s most well known schools and oldest rugby clubs. Expect a packed touchline and an excellent game of rugby.

 

Prediction: St Paul’s

Who will win Dulwich College v St Paul's?

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Durham v Barnard Castle

 

A big fixture between two sides that have had some huge achievements in schools rugby through the years. This year Barnard Castle have had the run of things, their form across the season truly has been stunning, only RGS Newcastle have beaten them and even then only by a whisker. Durham’s season has been harder but the last month or so has been good and they would be eyeing this up as a huge scalp and a stunning way to start closing off the season. For Barnard Castle it is a chance to keep their momentum going ahead of a huge rematch against RGS Newcastle next weekend, and a chance to again demonstrate their position not just as one of the best in the north east but in the whole country.

 

Prediction: Barnard Castle

Who will win Durham v Barnard Castle?

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Epsom College v Hurstpierpoint College

 

This is a key game for Epsom College after back to back defeats to Cranleigh and Wellington College. They will have hurt, but it is important to remember that those are two of the absolute best sides in the country, and Epsom rank among them. Indeed Epsom mathematically still have a chance in the Daily Mail Trophy, albeit a very slim one, so a victory here would be key for that, too. Most important though it is about getting back on the horse and finishing off the season on a real high over the next couple of weeks as they have been outstanding. In Hurstpierpoint they host a side that have had a tough time of things this year, but who have won back to back games now and will be looking to finish with real style over the next few weeks.

 

Prediction: Epsom College

Who will win Epsom College v Hurstpierpoint College?

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Hampton v Brighton College

 

This is Hampton’s first game after their heartbreaking Champions Trophy semi final loss to Rugby and they will have been absolutely itching to get back to the field ever since. They will want to put in a huge performance, and with Hampton that generally leads to some terrifically exciting backs play. In Brighton they face a side that has some exhilarating backs play too, so if both come out firing then we could be in for a real cracker of a game. Brighton won in the mud against John Fisher last week but will be hoping for a firmer footing this week as they seek to make it three wins on the bounce. Always a cracking fixture, this one will be worth keeping an eye on.

 

Prediction: Hampton

Who will win Hampton v Brighton College?

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Marlborough College v Cranleigh

 

This game is key for Cranleigh, who are still in with a genuine chance at the Daily Mail Trophy title. Sedbergh’s victory over Wellington College on Wednesday night keeps the door open for Cranleigh in the hunt. The odds are against, they realistically probably need two bonus point wins from their remaining two games and for Millfield to do them a favour against Sedbergh next week, and yet such has been the form of this unbeaten Cranleigh side that it is far from out of the question that they will keep that pressure to the maximum. They will be favourites against Marlborough, a side that will be looking to hit peak form to finish off the season with strong memories, and then finish off with a tough one against Canford. First though they must travel to Wiltshere and put in a strong performance.

 

Prediction: Cranleigh

Who will win Marlborough College v Cranleigh?

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Millfield v Monmouth

 

Millfield have hit probably their best form of the season in the last coupe of weeks with victories over Cheltenham College and Whitgift and they will be looking to maintain that on Saturday at home to Monmouth ahead of their final game of the season against old rivals Sedbergh next week. Monmouth have won their last two games too though, though fixtures have been a little thin on the ground since half term, and will put up a stern test. If Millfield can keep their form though they will be hard to stop, such is the electricity in their backline, and a third win on the bounce would give great momentum ahead of next week’s clash.

 

Prediction: Millfield

Who will win Millfield v Monmouth?

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Sherborne v Cheltenham College

 

This has the potential to be an absolutely fantastic game of rugby, both have been exceptional at times this season. Only Millfield and Clifton College have beaten Sherborne this year and the Dorset side have reached the Schools Cup quarter finals. They are an outstanding outfit and this is their last regular game of the season, with it being on their home patch too, you can expect a huge performance. Cheltenham will be an immense challenge for them though, they too have only lost twice and again to outstanding sides in Millfield and Rugby School. Perhaps the key is how each fared against Millfield, Sherborne keeping things closer than Cheltenham, yet that ignores so many variable. Either way, it should be a cracker.

 

Prediction: Sherborne

Who will win Sherborne v Cheltenham College?

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St John’s, Leatherhead v Seaford College

 

A big game this for both sides, both of whom have exceptional records this season. St John’s have only seen Brighton, Dulwich, and Haileybury get the better of them, and they gave a good showing in those, while Seaford have only been bettered by Canford and Hampton. Fixtures since half term have been a little sparse for Seaford though so they will hoping they are fully up to speed. If they are they will fancy their chances on this away trip, if they are not then this excellent St John’s group will not need any sort of second invitation. The signs are that we should get an excellent game and a real showcase for schools rugby.

 

Prediction: Seaford College

Who will win St John's Leatherhead v Seaford College?

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Tonbridge v Radley College

 

One of the oldest games around between two schools famous both on and off the field. Tonbridge are in a hugely rich vein of form, only Cranleigh and Hampton have got the better of them and they are unbeaten in this second half of term. They will be desperate to continue that momentum and joy as they head towards the close of the season, with a spectacular final game lined up against Wellington College next week. For Radley College this has been a tougher season, just one win against old rivals St Edward’s to show for it. Yet they have been involved in so many tight matches and will be eager to turn those tight results around before it is too late, starting Saturday. It should therefore be a hugely determined effort from both sides that should make for a strong encounter.

 

Prediction: Tonbridge

Who will win Tonbridge v Radley College?

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Saturday

 

Elsewhere on Saturday the strong fixtures just keep on coming, not least Eton College v Haileybury. Haileybury lost their unbeaten record against Sedbergh last week but will have learned a huge amount from that game. They will need to have, because Eton’s confidence will be sky high after a determined victory against Harrow last time out.

 

Harrow meanwhile will want to bounce back from that but will need to be alert as they travel to a Bedford side that picked up their first victory over the season in midweek, away at Radley. Having got the taste for it they will doubtless be feeling confident and wanting more.

 

Elsewhere look out for Bristol Grammar, they were on form last week and this week host Pate’s, while Eastbourne College are looking to keep their form high when they welcome Caterham ahead of a key knockout game.

 

Ashville College came up with a brilliant performance last week to beat Bradford Grammar, the challenge for them now is to back it up at home, having lost away to Woodhouse Grove on Wednesday when they welcome Yarm on Saturday. Woodhouse Grove will meanwhile want to back up that win over Ashville, but they face a tricky old trip to Hymers College on Saturday.

 

Lancaster RGS were on fire last weekend too, winning a real scrap in the mud against RGS Newcastle. They host Cheadle Hulme on Saturday, a side who have performed well this season, and will need to be right up at that level from last week again. Meanwhile Manchester Grammar and Wilsmlow High School meet in what should be a strong game in the North West, too.

 

In the South West there is an exciting looking triangular, with Dauntsey’s and Downside up against a side that have been in absolutely terrific form this year, reaching the Schools Cup regional finals, Canford. The south west will also see Exeter School and Coltson’s go head to head in a game that should be superbly competitive, while Blundell’s look to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Bristol Grammar when they travel to Taunton School.

 

Abingdon have a huge Schools Cup quarter final next week against the champions, Whitgift. However before that they have a trip to RGS Guildford on Saturday, a side that have played some excellent rugby so far this year. Whitgift’s local rivals, Trinity, are in action too, hosting Judd on Saturday, while Eltham College host a Skinners’ side that enjoyed an impressive outing last weekend.

 

Uppingham have been a breath of fresh air this year and will be hoping to continue that on Saturday with a trip to the picturesque setting that is Stowe School, a side that have struggled for results but have plenty of history behind them. Uppingham’s Rutland rivals, Oakham, will be making the trip to Solihull, whom Uppingham beat last time out, while fellow rivals Stamford, whose exploits in the mud last week garnered plenty of social media likes, are hosting Loughborough Grammar.

 

Reading Blue Coat have impressed us this year, they travel to Tiffin on Saturday, while Malvern College are in action at home to St Edward’s Oxford, who will be hoping to finish the year with a flourish over the next couple of weeks.

 

There is a derby game in Ipswich as Ipswich School host a St Joseph’s College side that will be hurting after a really tough midweek outing against Denstone College.

 

Friday

 

Friday sees Kirkham Grammar School head over to Northern Ireland to take on Ballymena Academy as they look to extend their unbeaten season and cement their reputation as one of the finest sides in England. It will be a huge game, attracting great interest on either side of the Irish Sea.

 

Lymm High School and Calday Grange Grammar go head to head in the North West on Friday, while in the South West Mount Kelly take on Truro School. There are a couple of games against club sides too, RGS Colchester taking on Colchester RFC and Sidcot meeting the challenge of Winscombe RFC. Meanwhile St Albans, who have looked good this year, will be taking on Mill Hill.

 

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:

 

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Email: writers@fifteenrugby.com

 

Schools Rugby Weekend Fixtures – Saturday 30th November (predictions in bold):

 

Focus On

 

Bromsgrove v Clifton College

Dulwich College v St Paul’s

Durham v Barnard Castle

Epsom College v Hurstpierpoint College

Hampton v Brighton College

Marlborough College v Cranleigh

Millfield v Monmouth

Sherborne v Cheltenham College

St John’s Leatherhead v Seaford College

Tonbridge v Radley College

 

Saturday

 

Abraham Darby v Wrekin College

AKS Lytham v Hutton GS

Altrincham GS v Stockport GS

Ashville College v Yarm

Austin Friars v Emmanuel College

Bedford v Harrow

Bedford Modern v Campion

Bishop’s Stortford College v New Hall

Bishop Vesey’s GS v RGS Worcester

Bloxham v The Oratory

Bristol GS v Pate’s GS

Canford v Dauntsey’s v Downside – Triangular

Chislehurst & Sidcup GS v Coopers’ Coborn

Churcher’s College v Gunnersbury

Clayesmore v King’s Bruton

Crossley Heath v St Ambrose College

Dollar Academy v Glenalmond College

Eastbourne College v Caterham

Edinburgh Academy v Howe of Fife RFC

Eltham College v Skinners’

Ellesmere College v St Anselm’s College

Emanuel v Shiplake College

Eton College v Haileybury

Exeter v Colston’s

Framlingham College v Norwich

George Heriot’s v Kelvinside Academy

Glasgow Academy v Strathendrick RFC

Gresham’s v Royal Hospital School

Hitchin v Richard Hale

Hymers College v Woodhouse Grove

Ipswich v St Joseph’s College

John Fisher v St Benedict’s

KCS Wimbledon v Aylesbury GS

KES Bath v Wellington

KES Camp Hill v Princethorpe College

KES Southampton v Portsmouth GS

King’s Canterbury v Felsted

King’s Ely v Wisbech GS

King’s Gloucester v St Peter’s, Gloucester

King’s Rochester v St Lawrence College

Kingswood v QEH

Lancaster RGS v Cheadle Hulme

The Leys v St Edmund’s college

Lord Wandsworth College v St George’s College, Weybridge

Magdalen College v Pangbourne College

Maidstone GS v Dartford GS

Malvern College v St Edward’s Oxford

Manchester GS v Wilmslow HS

Milton Abbey v Monkton Combe

Nottingham HS v King’s Macclesfield

Oundle v Rugby

The Perse v Samuel Whitbread

Pocklington v Ampleforth College

QES Barnet v Latymer Upper

Ravens Wood v Langley Park

Reed’s v Merchant Taylors’

Reigate GS v Colfe’s

Rendomb College v Clifton HS

RGS Guildford v Abingdon

Sevenoaks v Christ’s Hospital

Sir Joseph Williamson’s v Gravesend GS

Sir Thomas Rich’s v The Crypt

Solihull v Oakham

Stamford v Loughborough GS

St Dunstan’s College v Cedars

St Mary’s College v Rossall

Stonyhurst College v Giggleswick

Stowe v Uppingham

Strathallan v Glasgow HS

Taunton v Blundell’s

Tiffin v Reading Blue Coat

Trent College v Welbeck

Trinity v Judd

Wellingborough v KES Stratford

Wells Cathedral v Queen’s College, Taunton

West Buckland v Shebbear College

Wimbledon College v Wallington CGS

Worth v City of London Freemen’s

Wirral GS v Sandbach

Wymondham College v Culford

 

Friday

 

Ballymena Academy v Kirkham GS

Colchester RFC v RGS Colchester

Lymm HS v Calday Grange GS

Mill Hill v St Albans

Mount Kelly v Truro

Winscombe RFC v Sidcot