It was a brilliant weekend of schools rugby this week, with close games typifying the weekend.
There were some unbelievably tight games and some very gritty performances in weather conditions that really were atrocious at times. There were also some stunning performances, with sides playing some ruthless rugby and looking terrific, while others bounced back from tough weeks last week to have some great results.
All were considered for this week’s Top 5 and, as ever, whittling down the list to just five was a considerable challenge!
Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend
Downside went into the weekend having had a fantastic start to the season, winning four from four. They were expected to beat Milton Abbey to make that five from five, but surely nobody could have predicted how they would do it. The Bath based side were absolutely sensational, winning 71-7 to really make everyone sit up and take notice. In five games they are yet to concede more than twice in any game, a remarkable record on its own.
We have been saying it just about every week, Eltham College are looking quietly impressive this year. Well on Saturday it got a little louder. Eltham hosted Felsted and were already unbeaten with four wins from four, including scoring seventy in the Cup the week before. Few would have had them as favourites against Felsted though, over the last few years Felsted have been a top side and look decent again this year. Eltham were not phased by such reputations though and secured a 10-0 win adding them to the likes of Campion and Judd on their list of vanquished teams.
You would not have found many people on Saturday morning predicting a Trinity victory over Brighton College, their respective results and opposition meant that a Brighton College victory was the obvious prediction to make. However Trinity were having none of that and in some torrid conditions they dug in for a fantastic 16-7 victory, playing those conditions the better and perhaps taking advantage of a Brighton side that might have half an eye on matters in a couple of weeks. For Trinity, after a tough start to the season, this could be a massive springboard for greater success.
Haileybury have been progressing up and up the school ladder in recent years and St Albans have not beaten them since 2014, while in midweek Haileybury became county champions again. So few would have backed St Albans to beat them on Saturday, yet that was exactly what they did, securing a brilliant 13-10 victory that will fill them with confidence and please them enormously. Having beaten St Benedict’s the week before, St Albans must now surely be looing to their fixtures ahead and eyeing up a strong winning run if they can keep these performances up.
Losing at Millfield last week would have hurt Wellington College, no matter how great a game of schools rugby it was. They faced another wounded animal in Warwick on Saturday, but put in the sort of performance that is the hallmark of top sides, responding to defeat with a sensational display for a 40-3 victory. A 40-3 victory over the back to back Schools Cup champions no less. It was a stunning statement and a wonderful response to defeat the week before, showing all of their quality and proving once more that they are one of the best around.