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School Rugby

Schools Rugby Weekend Preview: Saturday 5th October

3rd October 2019
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After a couple of weeks of slightly reduced fixture lists with some schools having had rest/exeat weekends, this weekend sees an absolutely packed fixture list.

 

Not just packed in terms of amount of games either, packed in terms of massive head to heads. This could prove to be one of the key weekends of the entire season so far.

 

There are some massive games and a lot of sides going out with a big point to prove on Saturday, it should be an awesome weekend. Even trying to limit ourselves to just ten games to feature in our previews was a huge challenge. Nevertheless that is where we start, as ever, with our ten ‘Focus On’ games.

 

Focus On

 

Abingdon v Sherborne

 

A massive game to kick things off. Both are really impressive so far this year, particularly Sherborne who having won all four of their games in dominant fashion and have conceded just one try so far this season. Abingdon, we suspect, will be their toughest challenge yet though. The Oxford side have won three out of four, including last week’s impressive victory in a tight game at Berkhamsted. Their only defeat is to a strong St Paul’s side. Sherborne will start as favourites, such has been their form, but Abingdon ought to have huge belief in themselves too. A good game ought to be in store, and for the victor it will be a huge result.

 

Prediction: Sherborne

Who will win Abingdon v Sherborne?

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Berkhamsted v Dulwich College

 

A massive game for Berkhamsted after last week’s defeat by Abingdon. They have won two and lost two this season but that is rather misleading, they have been impressive. Dulwich have been hugely impressive over the last month though. Their response to defeat to Wellington at the start of the season has been phenomenal, unbeaten with victories over St Joseph’s, Harrow, and Brighton College. The two sides have one shared opponent, Harrow, Dulwich beat them 27-24, while Berkhamsted went down 27-20. That perhaps suggests that Dulwich are ten point favourites, but it also suggests that we ought to be in for yet another fantastic game of rugby.

 

Prediction: Dulwich College

Who will win Berkhamsted v Dulwich College?

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Harrow v St Paul’s

 

A key game this for Harrow after back to back defeats, including a tough one against Rugby last week. Dig a little deeper though and those results are not what they seem. Everyone will have a tough outing against Rugby this year, they are phenomenal, while Harrow came within three points of a Dulwich side that are in red hot form. Prior to that the season started with exciting victories over Berkhamsted and Warwick. Nonetheless, they will be eager to inject momentum back into their season, and a strong performance against St Paul’s would give just that. St Paul’s have looked excellent this year, they ran a strong Epsom side close in their opener before victories over Abingdon and Radley College, they will be confident of putting on a good display in North West London on Saturday. It should be an excellent game.

 

Prediction: Harrow

Who will win Harrow v St Paul's?

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KCS Wimbledon v Wimbledon College

 

The Wimbledon derby, and to our knowledge the closest derby in English schools rugby. 0.5 miles, a ten minute walk – less with the adrenalin of pre-game excitement in the legs. Both have had similar seasons results wise, KCS have won two and lost two, Wimbledon College have won three and lost two. Perhaps the key result among the lot though is RGS Guildford. Both have played them, KCS lost 24-15 at home, College were 17-13 victors away from home. That suggests that Wimbledon College are favourites. However this is a derby, and a fiercely contested one always. They met twice last year, both at Wimbledon College and the hosts won both, you can bet that at home KCS will be eager to turn that back around.

 

Prediction: Wimbledon College

Who will win KCS Wimbledon v Wimbledon College?

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Millfield v Bromsgrove

 

A huge game for both sides in different ways. Millfield had a tough week last week, losing to Clifton College on Tuesday and Wellington College on Saturday. Two brilliant sides, but nonetheless this most famous of rugby schools will not be happy and will not want to have three in a row against them. In Bromsgrove though they host a side that have been in fantastic form so far this season. Four wins from five, including a strong victory over their great rivals, Warwick. They only defeat was to a last play drop goal at Stamford It feels as though this could be a brilliant game, two sides that will be throwing absolutely everything at it and that at their best can produce some magical rugby.

 

Prediction: Bromsgrove

Who will win Millfield v Bromsgrove?

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Mount St Mary’s College v Kirkham Grammar

 

Kirkham are again looking like one of the strongest sides in the country, with four wins from four. Three of those victories were dominant, while they were tested hard against Sir Thomas Rich’s and came through unscathed. Mount St Mary’s should be another big test, especially on their own patch. They are a good side with some strong results behind them already this season. Kirkham will start as favourites, there are few games where they are not, but if they start slowly or have half an eye on their trip to the mighty Hartpury College on Wednesday then you can sure that Mount St Mary’s will need no second invitation to pounce.

 

Prediction: Kirkham Grammar

Who will win Mount St Mary's v Kirkham Grammar?

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Rugby v Cheltenham College

 

Rugby are surely the story of the season to date, four victories from four games, 228 points scored, 40 their lowest total. It has been a sensational start, and they have been playing some proud rugby schools. They do so against on Saturday with the visit of Cheltenham College, who also have four wins from four. Cheltenham might not have been as dominant as Rugby, but they have got the job done in a variety of ways, take last weekend where a tough Blundell’s outfit gave them a great game but Cheltenham came through for a 5-0 victory. This will be Cheltenham’s toughest game by a stretch, but they ought to be able to test Rugby too. Will this sensational Rugby season continue as it has, or can Cheltenham change the tide?

 

Prediction: Rugby

Who will win Rugby School v Cheltenham College?

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Stamford v Uppingham

 

Another local derby between two sides that have had really strong starts to the year, Stamford have won three from three, their only defeat being a narrow two point loss to Oakham. That will be music to Uppingham’s ears as they beat their closest rivals for the first time in a decade last week, 15-13, and have four victories from their four games. They have also both played and beaten Bedford handsomely, suggesting that this should be another really close derby game. Home advantage should give Stamford confidence, in the Uppingham/Stamford/Oakham triangle so far home advantage has proved key, but it also feels as though Uppingham are riding the crest of a wave at the moment.

 

Prediction: Uppingham

Who will win Stamford v Uppingham?

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St Joseph’s College v Tonbridge

 

Tonbridge lost out to Hampton in the Champions Trophy in midweek, yet in defeat they showed some qualities that ought to work well for the rest of the season ahead, namely a physical and organised defence. They will need that against St Joseph’s, who have plenty of attacking endeavour, but who are also in search of a victory after a run of three defeats in their last four games. Often at this stage of the year they have half an eye on their prestigious Festival, however anything less than 100% on Saturday and your can be sure that this clever Tonbridge side will take advantage as they seek to get back on the horse after that Champions Trophy defeat.

 

Prediction: Tonbridge

Who will win St Joseph's College v Tonbridge?

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Warwick v Oakham

 

Two big names both looking to bounce straight back after defeats last weekend. In a repeat of the 2019 U18 Schools Cup final, Warwick travelled to Whitgift and were again beaten, while Oakham lost out to their great rivals Uppingham for the first time in a decade. Both will be itching to get back to winning ways and to put in a strong performance on Saturday. It ought to be a good game, both have shown already this season that they are capable of some excellent rugby against strong opposition, and both will need to show that again on Saturday.

 

Prediction: Warwick

Who will win Warwick v Oakham?

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Around the Grounds

 

Among the many exciting games on Saturday is Aylesbury Grammar v City of London Freemen’s. Aylesbury have won 5/5 including a defeat of St Edward’s, while City of London have had a great couple of weeks that included stopping an in form Sevenoaks side, it should be a strong game.

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Sedbergh are again looking like one of the very best in the country, they travel to Durham on Saturday looking to extend their unbeaten run, which stretches back to November 2016.

 

Another side battling right at the very pinnacle of the school game is Clifton College, they are also unbeaten and have only conceded one try. They host Marlborough College on Saturday, a promising side, but the visitors will have to be absolutely on their game. Look out for Clifton in November, by the way, with a run of games against Sherborne, Rugby, Wellington College, and Bromsgrove that will likely define not only their own season, but possibly the school rugby season as a whole.

 

Staying in the South West there are plenty of other big games, not least an impressive Canford side hosting Bishop Wordsworth’s, who played well against Seaford last time out. Look out too for Blundell’s v Truro, two good sides that have probably blown a little under the radar so far this year. Dean Close are back in action on Saturday and will be looking to impress against the Schools Plate champions Bloxham, while Bristol Grammar host King’s College, Taunton.

 

Brighton College lost out despite an excellent second half against Dulwich last week, you can be almost certain that they will be coming out firing on Saturday when they host a Trinity side that has been impressive so far this year. As have Campion, whose unbeaten record, that included a win against Trinity, went by just a solitary point last week, they will want to get straight back to winning ways on Saturday when they host Chislehurst & Sidcup.

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Felsted v Eltham College has thrown up some excellent games in recent times and might well do again on Saturday, while Eastbourne College v King’s Canterbury has the look of a cracking contest about it too. Haileybury and St Albans meanwhile have enjoyed sparkling seasons to date, most recently for Haileybury they became county champions on Wednesday, they should put on a fantastic show such should be their confidence, making Saturday’s contest a really exciting one.

 

It has been a tough start to 2019/20for Bedford, they will be hoping to turn the tide somewhat on Saturday with a trip to Eton College, who are also in search of a first victory this season. It should make for a passionate and exciting game of rugby.

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Epsom College are another of the teams that are not just unbeaten, but unbeaten and seriously impressing. They will be aiming to keep that going on Saturday with a tricky trip to Reed’s, who have had some really unlucky narrow defeats of late. It will also be worth keeping a keen eye on St John’s Leatherhead v RGS Guildford, two sides with excellent performances in them, who are both gearing up for massive Champions Trophy clashes next week.

 

The north of the country is definitely a region to be keeping an eye on this weekend, not least in Yorkshire where Woodhouse Grove will be seeking to find their best for when they host the St Joseph’s Festival champions, RGS Newcastle, who have been outstanding all season, only slipping against a Sedbergh side that will topple most that they face. St Peter’s York have also started well and are hosting one of the great names in Schools Rugby, QEGS Wakefield.

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One of the greatest names, of course, is Barnard Castle and they have been brilliant this season. They face a tricky trip to Pocklington though, who have also been playing some wonderful stuff. One game to look out for is Wilmslow High School v Wirral Grammar, a pretty local battle and one that could produce a few fireworks.

 

Bradford Grammar have been really excellent this season and should be feeling confident ahead of hosting Birkdale on Saturday. Moving further north into Scotland there are some games will real history behind them on Saturday, not least Stewart’s Melville v George Heriot’s and Merchiston Castle v Dollar Academy. Merchiston Castle who, by the way, are hosting a Festival of their own on the same weekend as the St Joseph’s Festival that will feature teams from all over the country.

 

Elsewhere Oundle v Stowe should be an interesting game, both have had some tough results of late and will be aiming to use Saturday as a big chance to shift momentum, which should make for an exciting game. Meanwhile The Perse v Norwich is another game that could produce some excellent rugby, among the many others this weekend.

 

Friday

 

It is a backed calendar on Friday, including a Schools Bowl game as Rydal Penrhos travel to Oswestry.

 

Elsewhere Caterham v Colfe’s and Judd v Skinners’ look like to brilliant contest in the South East, so too Langley Park v Wallington County Grammar.

 

In Scotland Dundee High School host Glenalmond College, while else where Wycliffe College travel to King’s Gloucester and King’s Rochester host St Dunstan’s.

 

Perhaps the game of the day though could be in the North West where King’s Macclesfield travel to Sandbach for what should be a great start to the weekend’s school rugby.

 

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 5th October (predictions in bold):

 

Focus On

 

Abingdon v Sherborne

Berkhamsted v Dulwich College

Harrow v St Paul’s

KCS Wimbledon v Wimbledon College

Millfield v Bromsgrove

Mount St Mary’s College v Kirkham GS

Rugby v Cheltenham College

Stamford v Uppingham

St Joseph’s College v Tonbridge

Warwick v Oakham

 

Saturday

 

AKS Lytham v St Edward’s College

Ampleforth College v Hymers College

Aylesbury GS v City of London Freemen’s

Bablake v Leicester GS

Bishop’s Stortford College v Mill Hill

Bishop Vesey’s GS v KES Stratford

Blundell’s v Truro

Bradford GS v Birkdale

Brentwood v Richard Hale

Brighton College v Trinity

Bristol GS v King’s College, Taunton

Campion v Chislehurst & Sidcup GS

Canford v Bishop Wordsworth’s

Cardinal Vaughan v Wisbech GS

Clayesmore v Wells Cathedral

Clifton College v Marlborough College

Colston’s v Taunton

Coopers’ Coborn v QES, Barnet

Dame Allan’s v Yarm

Dean Close v Bloxham

Downside v Exeter

Duke of York’s RMS v Cranbrook

Durham v Sedbergh

Eastbourne College v King’s Canterbury

Emanuel v Reigate GS

Eton College v Bedford

Felsted v Eltham College

Giggleswick v Rossall

Glasgow HS v Kelvinside Academy

Grammar School at Leeds v St Ambrose College

Gunnersbury v Tiffin

Haileybury v St Albans

Hereford Cathedral School v Christ College

Hills Rugby v Morrison’s Academy

Hutchesons’ GS v Marr College

Ipswich v Langley

KES Southampton v Dauntsey’s

King Henry VIII, Coventry v Ellesmere College

Kingswood v Malvern College

The Leys v Framlingham College

Liverpool College v Lymm HS

Lord Wandsworth College v Churcher’s College

Loretto v Austin Friars

Loughborough GS v King’s Worcester

Magdalen College v St Edward’s, Oxford

Merchiston Castle v Dollar Academy

Milton Abbey v West Buckland

Monkton Combe v King’s Bruton

Newcastle-Under-Lyme v St Joseph’s College

Old Swinford Hospital v Adams GS

Oundle v Stowe

The Perse v Norwich

Pocklington v Barnard Castle

QEH v Pate’s GS

Reading Blue Coat v Claires Court

Reed’s v Epsom College

RGS Colchester v Bishop’s Stortford HS

RGS Worcester v Solihull

Robert Gordon’s College v Fettes College (Scottish Schools Cup)

Ryde v Christ’s Hospital

Seaford College v Gordon’s

Sevenoaks v New Hall

Shiplake College v St George’s College, Weybridge

Sir Thomas Rich’s v Monmouth

St Aloysius’ College v Glasgow Academy

St Anselm’s College v Manchester GS

St John’s Leatherhead v RGS Guildford

St Olave’s GS v Sir Joseph Williamson’s

St Peter’s York v QEGS Wakefield

Stewart’s Melville v George Heriot’s

Stockport GS v Cheadle Hulme

Strathallan v Edinburgh Academy

Sutton Valence v Worth

Trent College v Worksop College

UCS v Merchant Taylors’

Warminster v Bristol Cathedral School

Wellingborough v King’s Ely

Wilmslow HS v Wirral GS

Woodbridge v Culford

Woodhouse Grove v RGS Newcastle

 

Friday

 

Caterham v Colfe’s

Dundee HS v Glenalmond College

Judd v Skinners’

King’s Gloucester v Wycliffe College

King’s Rochester v St Dunstan’s College

Langley Park v Wallington CGS

Oswestry v Rydal Penrhos (Schools Bowl)

Sandbach v King’s Macclesfield