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School Rugby

Schools Rugby Weekend Preview: Saturday 6th October

4th October 2018
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We say it every week, but this week it is more true than ever – an awesome weekend of school rugby awaits us.

 

There are derby games, big rivals going head to head, sides meeting with a point to prove, sides looking to get some confidence back, and others looking to build on their increasingly impressive starts to the season.

 

With October now upon us we are really into the meat of the season now, the early indicators of September giving way to expectations and understandings of how each side is performing and progressing, making for some great match ups this weekend.

 

Focus On

 

Cheltenham College v Rugby

 

These two arrive with very decent form, Cheltenham winning three from four, while Rugby are currently unbeaten with five wins from their five games so far. It should make for a great game. Cheltenham College had a spectacular season last year winning at Rugby 31-7, however this year Rugby are looking formidable and already have some highly impressive victories to their name. This ought to be a high-quality game of rugby and a hugely intense one as both sides look to kick off October with a big performance.

 

Prediction: Rugby

Who will win Cheltenham College v Rugby School?

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Cranleigh v Hurstpierpoint College

 

Another one that fascinates us. Ordinarily you would say that this was a Cranleigh victory, however they have started with two defeats from their three games while Hurstpierpoint have begun with three wins from four and that includes wins over Tonbridge and St John’s Leatherhead. Their solitary defeat was by eight points to Brighton College, coincidentally the same margin as Brighton defeated Cranleigh by at the start of the season. So this actually promises to be a very close and exciting game of rugby, an important one for both sides too. For Cranleigh a win would start some important momentum, while for Hurstpierpoint it would be another massive scalp in this impressive season.

 

Prediction: Cranleigh

Who will win Cranleigh v Hurstpierpoint College?

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Marlborough College v Clifton College

 

These two sides have had identical starts to their two seasons, winning their opening three games before narrowly losing their fourth, Clifton College going down 15-12 to Milfield, while Marlborough were defeated 17-14 by Eton College. Those defeats perhaps give us a good indication of who heads into this as favourites, Millfield are unquestionably at this point one of the best three or four teams in the country so holding them close was impressive from Clifton. Eton meanwhile have had a mixed bag of results, some impressive, some less so, and Marlborough were probably expecting to win there. However things are rarely so simple, and Marlborough’s early season performances have shown how good they are so expect a close and very well fought game of rugby that could go either way.

 

Prediction: Clifton College

Who will win Marlborough College v Clifton College?

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The Oratory v London Oratory

 

A derby in name if not by location, with The Oratory, from Reading, hosting London Oratory, from Brompton. Nevertheless it is a game that always attracts plenty of interest and ought to once again. The Oratory have started well, beating the likes of Reading Blue Coat and KES Southampton. London Oratory meanwhile have had more of a mixed start, winning half and losing half of their games, however the have probably had the more challenging opposition to kick their season off with, having faced the likes of St Benedict’s and John Fisher. Potentially then they will arrive more battle-hardened, though perhaps with a lower level of confidence, which ought to make this a fascinating game of rugby.

 

Prediction: The Oratory

Who will win The Oratory v London Oratory?

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QEGS Wakefield v St Peter’s, York

 

These two were right at the top of the school game last year and were unbelievably evenly matched. So much so that when they met in the third round of the Cup they drew 27-27, QEGS going through as the away side and eventually going all the way to the final. This year though neither has started with quite the same aplomb as last year, but the sense is that they are both coiled and ready to go. QEGS have won two and lost one, St Peter’s lost two and won one, but what they both have in common is a defeat to Woodhouse Grove, and by very similar margins. They are going to be far from the only ones to lose to Woodhouse this year, but the similarity of their results there does suggest and cracking contest between this rival pair, which should make for excellent viewing on Saturday.

 

Prediction: QEGS Wakefield

Who will win QEGS Wakefield v St Peter's, York?

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Sedbergh v Durham

 

Sedbergh are unbeaten so far this season and are looking mighty once again, they have passed tests against Whitgift, RGS Newcastle, Wilsmlow High, Bedford, and Denstone College, some have been tough and others less so, but each time last year’s dominant side has found away. Durham lost to RGS Newcastle in their opener, but since then are unbeaten and have been scoring points for fun, and have claimed victory against the likes of St Peter’s York. Sedbergh will once again be favourites, it is rare that they are not, but Durham can cause them some problems and will once again ask Sedbergh to prove just how good they are if they want to win.

 

Prediction: Sedbergh

Who will win Sedbergh v Durham?

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St Joseph’s College v Kirkham Grammar School

 

A fascinating game on a few levels, this one. For St Joseph’s this is undoubtedly their biggest test of the season and a key test ahead of their prestigious Festival in a couple of week’s time. They are unbeaten at this point, but Kirkham are different prospect altogether. Should they beat or even run Kirkham close, then they will immediately be considered among the favourites for the Festival. This is a challenge for Kirkham too though, St Joseph’s ought to be among the toughest of their fixtures to date, they are yet to lose a game and are once again considered one of the best around but this will be an important test to pass. With just a week and a half before they face Sedbergh, they will want to be in perfect shape if possible.

 

Prediction: Kirkham Grammar School

Who will win St Joseph's College v Kirkham Grammar School?

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Uppingham v Stamford

 

Just a smidge over ten miles separates these two local rivals, and this year’s derby looks set to be a game worth travelling that short distance for. Uppingham have won three and lost two of their five games so far, but have looked decent, they lost narrowly to Oakham in their opener and then to Rugby last week, who as mentioned earlier are looking very strong this year. Stamford, meanwhile, have won three from four, including victories over Stowe and Oundle. They too lost to Oakham though, by just a solitary point, which suggests that on Saturday as these two big rivals of Oakham’s meet, we could be in for a fantastic game of rugby on Uppingham’s pristine Leicester 1st XV pitch.

 

Prediction: Stamford

Who will win Uppingham v Stamford?

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Wellington College v Warwick

 

This was always going to be a massive game of rugby but last week’s results have turned it up to eleven. Both suffered narrow defeats to some of the top performers in the school game, Wellington College going down at Millfield in one of the best games of the season, while Warwick lost narrowly at home to Whitgift. Two things will give Wellington confidence heading into this one, their home field advantage on their famous Bigside pitch, and the fact that they beat Whitgift a couple of week’s ago. Those are slender advantages though, and you can bet that Warwick will worry little about them. The back to back Schools Cup champions will be eager to be straight back to winning ways and a win at Wellington College would be quite a way to do it.

 

Prediction: Wellington College

Who will win Wellington College v Warwick?

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Wimbledon College v KCS Wimbledon

 

The Wimbledon derby is always a bit of a classic affair, the state Wimbledon College against the independent, KCS Wimbledon. KCS have generally had the edge, but these games are often close, not least last year when the game ended in a 13-13 draw. This year it is Wimbledon College who arrive with the better form, winning plenty of games this season including a hugely impressive 15-14 victory over John Fisher last weekend. KCS, on the other hand, only picked up their first win last weekend, over St George’s Weybridge. However their opponents have been top quality, Caterham, Berkhamsted, and St George’s themselves to name but a few, so their results do not quite tell the full story. This has all the signs of being another nail-biting and fantastic derby game.

 

Prediction: Wimbledon College

Who will win Wimbledon College v KCS Wimbledon?

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Around the Grounds

 

Saturday looks set to be a hugely competitive day all over the country, in the northern part of the country there are some particularly interesting fixtures though. Among them is Woodhouse Grove’s trip to RGS Newcastle. Woodhouse are unbeaten and looking very good this season but RGS are a very useful side too and have every chance.

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Staying in the region, Barnard Castle v Pocklington ought to be another massively competitive game, as should Grammar School at Leeds’ trip to St Ambrose, another that could go either way. Wilmslow High School will want to get back to winning ways as soon as possible after defeat last week to Lymm, but a trip to Wirral Grammar is never an easy one and should make for a great game. Hymers College, meanwhile, look to continue their excellent start with a tough game at home to Ampleforth College.

 

Moving into the Midlands one of the games of the day will surely be the trip of perhaps the most in form team in the country, Millfield, to the 2015 and 2016 Schools Cup champions, Bromsgrove. The hosts might not quite be in the form of Millfield, but they are not far off and have won two of their last three meetings against the men from Somerset.

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Staying in the Midlands, another excellent game ought to be Stowe v Oundle. Oundle have probably had the better start of the two, but both probably would have wanted more, Saturday provides an excellent chance to make a statement. As it does for Bedford too, who travel in search of a bit of form to Northampton School for Boys, who have faced some really good sides so far this year, this should be another cracker.

 

Over in East Anglia the impressive Norwich School host The Perse for what should be a fine game of rugby, while back inland in form Bloxham host Dean Close, two sides that a really punching high up this season.

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Berkhamsted have had a superb September and will want to continue that into October, but they will have to be on their game against RGS High Wycombe who have been improving week by week after a tough start to the year down at Millfield. Meanwhile in the Schools Vase Bishop’s Stortford High School, who made our Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend after their performance last week, will be hoping to continue that scintillating form when they host RGS Colchester on Saturday.

 

There are some stunning fixtures in and around London this weekend, not least Dulwich College v Eton College. Dulwich’s results over the last three or four weeks have proved them to be right up there with the very best around, while Eton have been a bit up and down but last week claimed a great win over Marlborough, they will want to ride that wave. Just along the road another highly in form team, Eltham College, will be hoping to keep their great start going. They have a tough task on hand though as they welcome Felsted to town, who last week beat Oakham on the road and are starting to look very impressive.

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On the other side of London, St Paul’s host a game that really could be a belter, with Harrow coming to town. Both have had their ups and downs so far, and a win on Saturday would be big for both. Meanwhile Epsom College, who are looking good, host a Canford side searching for a big win this season. A win at Epsom would certainly be that, but would take some doing – Epsom are looking good.

 

Moving a little further out of the M25, RGS Guildford v St John’s Leatherhead bears all the signs of a game that could be a real cracker, these two look well matched. Meanwhile down in the South East we have one of the oldest games on the schools rugby calendar as the impressive Radley College make the trip down to Tonbridge in a classic schools rugby encounter that is about so much more than the match, but about the game and the games values as a whole. On the coast there will be excitement too as Seaford College travel to Eastbourne College looking to continue their fantastic start to the season.

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Over in the South West there are some brilliant games too, not least between two rising stars of recent years, Bishop Wordsworth’s and Kingswood. One game that fascinates us is Bryanston v Blundell’s. Blundell’s have been outstanding in the past couple of year’s but this is probably their toughest game of the season so far, Bryanston’s form in recent years has not been great but they have had one of their best starts in a long time this year, setting up for this weekend perfectly.

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Sherborne v Abingdon meanwhile ought to be another top game. Abingdon are searching for a bit of form but Sherborne are a tough side to be doing that against. Nevertheless, a win on the road here for Abgindon would be a huge boost for their season.

 

Friday

 

Friday sees some excellent action under the lights. Caterham, who are in stunning form, host Colfe’s, while Malvern College take on Monmouth. Two games that should be fantastic adverts for schools rugby.

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As should Ripon Grammar v Liverpool College and King’s Rochester v St Dunstan’s College, while Parmiter’s trip to Sandringham in the Schools Bowl has plenty of promise too.

 

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 6th October (predictions in bold):

 

Focus On

 

Cheltenham College v Rugby

Cranleigh v Hurstpierpoint College

Marlborough College v Clifton College

The Oratory v London Oratory

QEGS Wakefield v St Peter’s, York

Sedbergh v Durham

St Joseph’s College v Kirkham Grammar School

Uppingham v Stamford

Wellington College v Warwick

Wimbledon College v KCS Wimbledon

 

Saturday

 

Adams GS v Old Swinford Hospital

Ashville College v Harrogate GS

Austin Friars v Giggleswick

Bablake v Princethorpe

Barnard Castle v Pocklington

Berkhamsted v RGS High Wycombe

Birkdale v Bradford GS

Bishop’s Stortford HS v RGS Colchester (Schools Vase Rd 2)

Bishop Wordworth’s v Kingswood

Bloxham v Dean Close

Bristol GS v Kings College, Taunton

Bromsgrove v Millfield

Bryanston v Blundell’s

Cardinal Vaughan v Wisbech GS

Charterhouse v Cobham International

Chisleshurst & Sidcup v Campion

Christ College v Hereford Cathedral

Christ’s Hospital v Sevenoaks

City of London Freemen’s v Aylesbury GS

Cranbrook v Duke of York’s RMS

Dauntsey’s v KES Southampton

Dollar Academy v Dundee HS

Downside v Milton Abbey

Dulwich College v Eton College

Eastbourne College v Seaford College

Ellesmere College v King Henry VIII, Coventry

Eltham College v Felsted

Epsom College v Canford

George Heriot’s v Kelvinside Academy

Glasgow Academy v Stewart’s Melville

Gordon’s v Windsor Boys’

Hitchin v Bedford Modern

Hymers College v Ampleforth College

Isleworth & Syon v Enfield GS

KES Stratford v Bishop Vesey’s GS

King’s Bruton v Exeter

King’s Ely v Wellingborough

King’s Gloucester v Wycliffe College

King’s Macclesfield v Queen Ethelburga’s

King’s Worcester v Loughborough GS

Langley v Ipswich

Lord Wandsworth College v Churcher’s College

Lymm HS v Liverpool College

Manchester GS v St Anselm’s College

Merchant Taylors’ v UCS

Mill Hill v Bishop’s Stortford College

Newcastle SfB v Sedbergh 2nd XV

New Hall v Dartford GS

Northampton SfB v Bedford

Norwich v The Perse

Nottingham HS v Leicester GS

Pangbourne College v Portsmouth GS

Pate’s GS v QEH

Prior Park v Monkton Combe

QES Barnet v Coopers’ Coborn

Reed’s v King’s Canterbury

RGS Guildford v St John’s, Leatherhead

RGS Newcastle v Woodhouse Grove

Richard Hale v Brentwood

Robert Gordon’s College v Merchiston Castle

Sherborne v Abingdon

Sir Joseph Williamson’s v St Olave’s GS

Skinners’ v Judd

Solihull v RGS Worcester

St Albans v Haileybury

St Ambrose College v Grammar School at Leeds

St Edward’s, Oxford v Magdalen College

St George’s College, Weybridge v Shiplake College

St Paul’s v Harrow

Stowe v Oundle

Strathallan v Fettes College

Taunton v Colston’s

Tiffin v Gunnersbury

Tonbridge v Radley College

Trinity v Brighton College

Truro v West Buckland

Wallington CGS v Langley Park

Warminster v Bristol Cathedral

Wells Cathedral v Sidcot

Wirral GS v Wilmslow HS

Woodbridge v Culford

Worksop College v Trent College

Worth v Sutton Valence

Yarm v Dame Allan’s

 

Friday

 

Caterham v Colfe’s

King’s Rochester v St Dunstan’s College

Malvern College v Monmouth

Ripon GS v Liverpool College

Sandringham v Parmiter’s (Schools Bowl)