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School Rugby

Schools Rugby Weekend Preview: Saturday 8th December – Final Day for most

6th December 2018
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For almost every school this represents the final weekend of the season, and what a season it has been!

 

The competitiveness across the country has been incredibly high, as evidenced by the sheer number of games across the season that have been decided by a score or less. It has become quite staggering.

 

It is not as though these have been low quality games where neither side could really put into effect what they have been practicing, far from it, the quality of rugby has been superb too, with skill levels seemingly ever-increasing.

 

That should continue into this weekend, with some fantastic fixtures, not least in our Focus On section, and a number of sides aiming for unbeaten seasons.

 

Focus On

 

Blundell’s v Cheltenham College

 

Two massive side from the South West region, Blundell’s are in flying form at the moment and will be looking to finish 2018 off with a flourish after a sparkling victory last week. They are on a three game unbeaten streak that includes a victory over Millfield. For Cheltenham it has been more of a difficult season after last year’s unbeaten heroics, and having lost so narrowly to Sherborne last weekend they will undoubtedly be absolutely gunning for victory on Saturday in a bid to finish their campaign on a high. It should make for a great game with which to finish the season.

 

Prediction: Blundell’s

Who will win Blundell's v Cheltenham College?

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Brighton College v Seaford College

 

This one really should be excellent, both Brighton and Seaford Colleges are playing some fantastic rugby this year. Both sides are undefeated since half term and have beaten some major opposition. Seaford will be really keen for this one after the weather saw their game against St John’s cancelled last week. As you get to the end of the season you do not want to see any game chalked off as the reality that this is the end of your school rugby time becomes ever clearer. Brighton, meanwhile, enjoyed a really tight win over Hampton and should host this with plenty of confidence.

 

Prediction: Brighton College

Who will win Brighton College v Seaford College?

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Bromsgrove v Warwick

 

This is the third meeting of these two sides this term, and Warwick are currently 2-0 up having won 29-10 on the opening day of the season and 13-7 in the Schools Cup earlier this month. Bromsgrove then have closed the gap and will be surely thinking that they can now secure the win, particularly as Warwick had their Cup quarter final on Wednesday (which they won 29-20 against Rugby) and could be a little tired. That said, a 2-0 record already this season should see Warwick arrive full of confidence. Either way, both sides have proven over the course of the season that they have some serious quality.

 

Prediction: Warwick

Who will win Bromsgrove v Warwick?

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Epsom College v St John’s Leatherhead

 

This one will be very interesting. Epsom College missed out in the Champions Trophy final to Wellington College on Wednesday, and ordinarily we might think that they could be a bit low on confidence. However the way they acquitted themselves and responded to defeat suggest the opposite, they will go into this game wanting to show the watching schools rugby world just how good they are, and having beaten St John’s in the quarter finals they will feel confident about this one. That said, St John’s are a really tough side and Epsom will be tired after Wednesday, it was exhausting, so this really could be a cracking game.

 

Prediction: Epsom College

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

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Hampton v Dulwich College

 

Two superb sides whose game in the Champions Trophy earlier in the season was one of the most thrilling of the year, with Hampton winning it with a try in the final play of the game. You can be sure that that will be motivating Dulwich, who are in sizzling form right now and playing some of the best rugby around, they surely come absolutely flying out. Hampton have proven that they can deal with that though, and have motivation aplenty of their own after defeat to Brighton last week and they will want to prove that that late victory over Dulwich was no one off. We could be in line for an epic.

 

Prediction: Dulwich College

Who will win Hampton v Dulwich College?

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Llandovery College v Sedbergh

 

One of the most famous names in Welsh schoolboy rugby against one of the most famous names in English schoolboy rugby. They are having contrasting seasons this year though, Llandovery have been a bit up and down in terms of results and are 0-2 against English opposition this season, having lost to both Kirkham and Millfield. Sedbergh have beaten both, indeed Sedbergh have beaten everyone they have faced en route to what is so far an unbeaten season for the second time in a row and back to back Daily Mail Trophy titles. There is massive pressure on them ahead of this one then, from themselves, to complete the job and secure that second successive unbeaten season, which would be a truly remarkable achievement.

 

Prediction: Sedbergh

Who will win Llandovery College v Sedbergh?

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RGS Newcastle v Barnard Castle

 

Two absolute giants of schools rugby, and two of the most prestigious school rugby sides in the northern region. RGS are having a stunning season, only Sedbergh and Woodhouse Grove have toppled them and they won the St Joseph’s Festival, a superb achievement. Barnard Castle have not been too far short of that, however the two sides have already met in the Cup this season, with RGS winning 36-0. There is a sense though that this one might be a bit tighter, RGS are still favourites, but Barnard Castle will have a point to prove.

 

Prediction: RGS Newcastle

Who will win RGS Newcastle v Barnard Castle?

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Rugby v Clifton College

 

This is a massive game, both have been playing brilliant rugby this season as shown by their places on 2nd and 7th in the Daily Mail Trophy table currently. Indeed this game is crucial to them keeping those high place finishes. Rugby are unbeaten at home this year and have only lost twice all season, a thriller at Stamford a few weeks ago and a tight Cup quarter final to back to back champions Warwick on Wednesday. One of the big questions ahead of Saturday then will be how they have recovered mentally and physically from that, a well as how Clifton will be feeling. Clifton have been flying along but were defeated by a really strong Bromsgrove side last weekend, how they respond to that could go a long way to deciding this game.

 

Prediction: Rugby

Who will win Rugby v Clifton College?

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Sherborne v Marlborough College

 

Sherborne won a really tight game against Cheltenham College last week 5-0, Marlborough meanwhile beat the same side 31-10 earlier in the season. That may look like quite a difference but the reality is that conditions could scarcely have been more different. Both sides look relatively evenly matched, but Marlborough are coming off the back of a three game losing streak that they will surely be desperate to reverse in order to end their season on a high. It ought to be a really well contested game that could go either way, which usually makes for a cracking game of schoolboy rugby.

 

Prediction: Marlborough College

Who will win Sherborne v Marlborough College?

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Whitgift v Cranleigh

 

These two have both been excellent sides over the last few years and have so again this year. Whitgift have proved themselves among the very best in the country, beating the likes of Millfield and Dulwich while running Sedbergh and Wellington close. Indeed they are unbeaten since late September and in cracking form. Cranleigh look good too though, only Brighton, Epsom, and Hampton have beaten them, three top sides. Whitgift probably just about have the edge, but make no mistake this is a game right at the top end of school rugby and could produce some spectacular rugby on this final weekend of the season.

 

Prediction: Whitgift

Who will win Whitgift v Cranleigh?

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Around the Grounds

 

What with this being the last full weekend of the season we would love to mention every side but it just isn’t practical, that being said there are a huge number of brilliant looking fixtures coming up on Saturday.

 

Among those is Bedford v Abingdon neither has really had the season that they would have liked back in pre-season in August, but you can be sure that both will be raring to go on Saturday as they eye up the chance to finish up the season on a real high.

 

Canford have also not hit the high notes that they would have liked to, but they have a chance on Saturday at Bishop Wordsworth’s to end on a positive note, though Bishop Wordsworth’s themselves will want to finish well after an excellent season.

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Not as excellent as Dean Close though, who are on course for an unbeaten season should they win at home to Kingswood on Saturday, which really would be a great achievement. Denstone College have also been excellent this season, really testing themselves against some of the very best in the country and acquitting themselves well. They host QEGS Wakefield on Saturday, a side that have not hit the mesmeric heights of the last couple of years, but a side that never make it easy to win against.

 

Downside are another side having a sensational year, with only heavyweights Bishop Wordsworth’s and Marlborough beating them. They can finish off on a real high on Saturday should they beat King’s Bruton.

 

There will be a great game in Essex on Saturday as the excellent Felsted host a strong Campion side that beat Langley last time out. Meanwhile in Norfolk Gresham’s host a Stamford side that has hit real form towards the end of the season, including that brilliant victory over Rugby.

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Haileybury v Berkhamsted has become a massive fixture, this year should be excellent, Berkhamsted have been excellent but have a few injuries – they will want to finish on the sort of high that demonstrates their quality this year. Haileybury meanwhile have had a tougher year, but will want to end it full of positive memories.

 

Hurstpierpoint College have had a wonderful season, only just missing out on a place in the Champions Trophy final. Saturday sees them take to the field against Eastbourne College, against whom they will be a favourites, but will want to put on a performance reflective of their season.

Hurst v Epsom 1st XV Champions Trophy Cup Match Semi-Final 2018 by SussexSportPhotography.com #SSP 14:51:14

There is a big derby in Somerset as King’s College Taunton host Taunton School, it should be an exciting game, derbies usually tend to be. Elsewhere there is a massive game for Magdalen College, who have been excellent this season and will surely be eager to continue that against Reading Blue Coat on Saturday.

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Wellington College have had a great year, culminating in Wednesday’s Champions Trophy triumph. Injuries have hit hard though and they will have to pull together on Saturday after what was such a tough outing on Wednesday when they host a strong Eton College side. Nevertheless, they must surely be riding such a wave of emotion that they will likely put on another strong performance to finish off the season.

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Radley College have also been fantastic, particularly in recent weeks, and they close their account with a tricky away trip to Oundle on Saturday. Also in Northamptonshire there is a cracking contest between Northampton School for Boys and Sir Thomas Rich’s on Saturday. Oakham meanwhile will want to finish off well when they travel to Stowe, who have struggled a bit more than they would have liked.

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Another side that has been really impressive this season is Caterham, they have only been defeated three times this season and since their last loss to Seaford they have bounced back brilliantly. They will have to finish strongly to beat a Sevenoaks side that has impressed this year, but on Saturday Caterham will surely be going all guns blazing to finish off in the manner that their season has deserved.

 

Friday

 

One of Friday’s headline acts is a County Cup final between Pangbourne College and The Downs, meanwhile QES Barnet take on Watford Grammar in a real classic clash, and St Columba’s College take on Latymer Upper.

 

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 1st December (predictions in bold):

 

Focus On

 

Blundell’s v Cheltenham College

Brighton College v Seaford College

Bromsgrove v Warwick

Epsom College v St John’s, Leatherhead

Hampton v Dulwich College

Llandovery College v Sedbergh

RGS Newcastle v Barnard Castle

Rugby v Clifton College

Sherborne v Marlborough College

Whitgift v Cranleigh

 

Around the Grounds

 

Bedford v Abingdon

Bedford Modern v St George’s, Harpenden

Bishop Wordsworth’s v Canford

Bloxham v KES Birmingham

Bradford GS v Hymers College

Churcher’s College v Shiplake College

Clayesmore v Monkton Combe

Colfe’s v City of London Freemen’s

Culford v St Joseph’s College

Dame Allan’s v Ashville College

Dartford GS v Brentwood

Dean Close v Kingswood

Denstone College v QEGS Wakefield

Downside v King’s Bruton

Dundee High School v Strathallan

Durham v Giggleswick

Felsted v Campion

Fettes College v Dollar Academy

Framlingham College v Royal Hospital School

Glasgow Academy v St Columba’s School

Grammar School at Leeds v King’s Macclesfield

Gravesend GS v Chislehurst & Sidcup GS

Gresham’s v Stamford

Haileybury v Berkhamsted

Hurstpierpoint College v Eastbourne College

Judd v Maidstone GS

KCS Wimbledon v Trinity

KES Bath v Prior Park College

King’s College, Taunton v Taunton

King’s Ely v Woodbridge

King’s Rochester v Ashford

King William’s College v Rossall

Leicester GS v Bishop Vesey’s GS

Liverpool College v St Anselm’s College

London Oratory v St Paul’s

Lord Wandsworth College v Dauntsey’s

Loughborough GS v Adams GS

Magdalen College v Reading Blue Coat

Malvern College v Bristol GS

Manchester GS v Lymm HS

Merchiston Castle v Glenalmond College

Monmouth v Solihull

Morrison’s Academy v George Watson’s College

Mount Kelly v West Buckland

Northampton School for Boys v Sir Thomas Rich’s

Old Swinford Hospital v Nottingham HS

Oundle v Radley College

Pate’s GS v Colston’s

Princethorpe College v KES Stratford

Queen’s College, Taunton v Wells Cathedral

Ratcliffe College v Lawrence Sheriff

Ravens Wood v Wallington CGS

Reed’s v Campion

RGS Colchester v New Hall

RGS Guildford v Skinners’

Royal Alexandra & Albert v Gordon’s

Rydal Penrhos v Silcoates v AKS Arnold

Sevenoaks v Caterham

Shrewsbury v RGS Worcester

Stewart’s Melville v George Watson’s College

Stockport GS v Harrodian

Stowe v Oakham

Sutton Valence v King’s Canterbury

St Albans v Merchant Taylors’

St Benedict’s v Tiffin

St Dunstan’s College v Coopers’ Coborn

St George’s College, Weybridge v Emanuel

St Peter’s, York v Pocklington

Trent College v King’s Worcester

UCS v Mill Hill

Wellington College v Eton College

Whitchurch HS v KES Southampton

Wimbledon College v Portsmouth GS

Windsor Boys v Halliford

 

Friday

 

Latymer Upper v St Columba’s College

Pangbourne College v The Downs (County Cup Final)

QES Barnet v Watford GS