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School Rugby

U15 Schools Cup Draw: Fiendishly tough draw in the “truest” test in school rugby

16th July 2019
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Of all the knockout RFU schools tournaments, the U15 Schools Cup is perhaps the most ‘true’ tournament of all.

 

‘True’ in the sense that most of the top sides in the country enter it, and therefore there is a sense on the Twickenham turf in mid-March after the final that the side parading the trophy really is the best U15 side in the country. That is not to knock the U18 version, where the winning side is always undoubtedly one of the best, however with other tournaments and so many sides not entering it is difficult to be absolutely certain about it.

 

Last year’s tournament was no exception, we were treated to some spectacular games throughout the competition, not least a tense semi final at Allianz Park that saw Wellington College and Whitgift draw 15-15 only for Wellington to win on try count.

 

Wellington eventually went on to beat Northampton School for Boys in the final at Twickenham, and they begin their campaign this year at home to one of the sides they met in last year’s competition too, Marlborough College.

 

It all kicks off with round 1 on the week of the 30th September, and that Wellington College v Marlborough College fixture will be in South West A, a section that is bursting with top sides.

 

Dean Close v St Peter’s Gloucester will be another highlight in the section, which also includes Cheltenham College, Abingdon, Sir Thomas Rich’s, Bryanston, Canford, and some cracking clashes including Hampton v Pangbourne College and Lord Wandsworth College v Portsmouth Grammar.

 

(Follow these links for the other draws: Champions Trophy, U18 Cup, U18 Vase, U15 Vase)

 

Defeated finalists Northampton School for Boys are, surprisingly, in the Vase this year, though as a rule they do tend to be fairly honest about the resources at their disposal.

 

The two defeated semi finalists from last year, Rugby School and Whitgift, are both in the draw and they each have fiendish looking sections. Rugby are in Midlands B and open their campaign with a really tough home fixture against Oundle. Further down the line the likes of Uppingham, Stowe, The Perse, Haileybury, and promoted U15 Vase champions Samuel Whitbread are all lurking. There are some brutal fixtures in the bottom half of the draw too as Felsted host Royal Hospital School, St Joseph’s College take of Finborough, Framlingham welcome Norwich, and Gresham’s travel to Langley.

 

Life is no easier for Whitgift, they are drawn in London & South East B and start off with a tricky home tie against Langley Park. However the tie of the round, perhaps across the whole competition, is surely Dulwich College v John Fisher, two heavyweights going head to head. There is competition throughout the section though with Eltham College, Trinity, Sevenoaks, Judd, Skinners’, Brighton College, Hurstpierpoint College, Christ’s Hospital, Reigate Grammar, and RGS Guildford just a few of the names in this brutal section.

 

Trinity, of course, won the Plate last year. This year again that will be made of sides that lose out in the opening round of the Cup, with the first round of the Plate taking place of the week beginning on the 14th October, the same week as the second round of the Cup.

 

London & South East A is not a whole lost easier than London & South East B, with Berkhamsted, Campion, RGS High Wycombe, Harrow, St Paul’s, KCS Wimbledon, and Wimbledon College among those lurking, as well as a brutish looking Epsom College v St George’s College tie at the foot of the section.

 

U15 Schools Cup Round Dates:

 

Round 1 – w/c 30th September

Round 2 – w/c 14th October

Round 3 – w/c 18th November

Round 4 – w/c 2nd December

Round 5 – w/c 13th January

Quarter Finals – w/c 10th February

Semi Finals – w/c 2nd March

Final – Wednesday 18th March 2020

 

U15 Schools Plate Round Dates (for those knocked out in Cup R1):

 

Round 1 – w/c 14th October

Round 2 – w/c 18th November

Round 3 – w/c 2nd December

Round 4 – w/c 13th January

Quarter Finals – w/c 10th February

Semi Finals – w/c 2nd March

Final – Wednesday 18th March 2020

The North sections in both U18 and U15 competitions tend to be fairly loaded, and that is certainly true again in this year’s U15 draw. North A features recent finalists and champions QEGS Wakefield, who kick off against Wath Academy. The section also includes Wirral Grammar, King’s Macclesfield, Kirkham Grammar, a cracking tie between Manchester Grammar and Stonyhurst College, Bradford Grammar, Woodhouse Grove, Mount St Mary’s, and Worksop College, to name but a few.

 

North B is just as tough, though considerably less populated. Sedbergh were champions a couple of years ago and they will travel to Netherhall for their opener. They are in the same half of the draw as other heavyweights like RGS Newcastle, Durham, and Barnard Castle in a bit of a who’s who of legendary rugby schools of the north. The bottom half is pretty impressive too, with Ampleforth College, Grammar School at Leeds, and a great tie between St Peter’s York and Hymers College.

 

Elsewhere in the draw heavyweight just keep on coming, Millfield are in South West B where the likes of Sherborne, Downside, Clifton College, Beechen Cliff, Bristol Grammar, and Schools Cup legends Colston’s all reside, and that is just in their half. The bottom half features Ivybridge Community College, who have been really impressive in this competition over the last few years, as well as a Taunton derby, King’s College Taunton v Taunton School.

 

The only section not covered so far is Midlands A, and once again it is fiendishly difficult. Warwick have made a habit of reaching finals in recent times but they have a brutal opening round tie as they host Radley College. In their half of the draw alone the likes of Trent College, Stamford, Oakham, and Loughborough Grammar are waiting, while up in the top half, Solihull, Denstone College, Bromsgrove, and Old Swinford Hospital are just some of the top class rugby schools, look out too for King’s Worcester v Malvern College, a really tricky opening round game.

 

As ever, the U15 Schools Cup looks as though it is going to be highly competitive and fiendishly difficult from start to finish in this 2019/20 version of the tournament.

 

U15 Schools Cup Draw:

 

North A

 

Wirral GS v Queen Elizabeth II HS

Merchant Taylors’, Crosby v King’s Macclesfield

Stockport GS v Lymm HS

Birkenhead v St Mary’s College

Cheadle Hulme v Bridgewater HS

Audenshaw v Kirkham GS

Manchester GS v Stonyhurst College

Lancaster RGS v Camforth HS

Ermysted’s GS v Bradford GS

BYE v BYE

Crossley Heath v Woodhouse Grove

BYE v BYE

QEGS Wakefield v Wath Academy

Worksop College v The Priory Academy

Mount St Mary’s College v Wilmslow HS

Sandbach v BYE

 

North B

 

RGS Newcastle v Dame Allan’s

BYE v BYE

Durham v Emmanuel College

BYE v BYE

Barnard Castle v Carmel College

BYE v BYE

Netherhall v Sedbergh

BYE v BYE

BYE v BYE

Ampleforth College v Queen Ethelburga’s College

BYE v BYE

St Peter’s, York v Hymers College

BYE v BYE

Prince Henry’s GS v Harrogate GS

BYE v BYE

Grammar School at Leeds v Rodillian Academy

 

Midlands A

 

Ellesmere College v Bishops Castle Community College

Church Stretton v Old Swinford Hospital

Bishop of Hereford’s Bluecoat v Hereford Cathedral

King’s Worcester v Malvern College

Bromsgrove v Beacon Hill Academy

Denstone College v Bishop Vesey’s GS

Solihull v Stratford Upon Avon HS

BYE v BYE

Warwick v Radley College

BYE v BYE

West Coventry Acaemy v Shipston HS

BYE v BYE

Ellis Guildford v Kibworth

BYE v BYE

Trent College v Stamford

Oakham v Loughborough GS

 

Midlands B

 

Rugby v Oundle

Wellingborough v Uppingham

Bishop Stopford v Sponne

Stowe v Bloxham

Aylesbury GS v Samuel Whitbread Academy

Walton HS v Bedford Modern

The Leys v Bishop’s Stortford HS

The Perse v Haileybury

BYE v BYE

Felsted v Royal Hospital School

BYE v BYE

St Joseph’s College v Finborough

BYE v BYE

Framlingham College v Norwich

BYE v BYE

Langley v Gresham’s

 

London & South East A

 

Bishop’s Stortford College v Parmiter’s

Berkhamsted v Haberdashers’

Dr Challoner’s GS v RGS High Wycombe

St Clement Danes v Haydon

UCS v Campion

Harrow v Mill Hill

BYE v BYE

Saint Cecilia’s v BYE

Emanuel v St Paul’s

BYE v BYE

KCS Wimbledon v Tiffin

BYE v BYE

Wimbledon College v Orelans Park

BYE v BYE

Richard Challoner v City of London Freemen’s

Epsom College v St George’s College, Weybridge

 

London & South East B

 

Dulwich College v John Fisher

Eltham College v Ravens Wood

Trinity v Riddlesdown Collegiate

Whitgift v Langley Park

St Olave’s GS v Judd

Skinners’ v Sevenoaks

Kent College v Simon Langton GS

BYE v BYE

Brighton College v Christ’s Hospital

BYE v BYE

BYE v BYE

Cardinal Newman v Hurstpierpoint College

BYE v BYE

Reigate GS v RGS Guildford

BYE v BYE

St Andrews Catholic School v Howard of Effingham

 

South West A

 

Winchcombe v Chosen Hill

Cheltenham College v Cheltenham Bournside

Dean Close v St Peter’s, Gloucester

Sir Thomas Rich’s v BYE

Hampton v Pangbourne College

Abingdon v Forest

BYE v BYE

Wellington College v Marlborough College

Lord Wandsworth College v Portsmouth GS

Churcher’s College v Ryde

BYE v BYE

King Edward’s v Bourne Academy

BYE v BYE

Canford v Priestlands

BYE v BYE

Bryanston v Thomas Hardye

 

South West B

 

Sherborne v Downside

Millfield v Clarendon Academy

Churchill Academy v Beechen Cliff

Clifton College v Wellsway

BYE v BYE

QEH v Mangotsfield

BYE v BYE

Bristol GS v Colston’s

Ivybridge Community College v BYE

BYE v BYE

Penryn College v Redruth

BYE v BYE

BYE v BYE

Truro v QE, Crediton

BYE v BYE

King’s College, Taunton v Taunton School