Elite school clashes are the highlight of this weekend

We are spoilt for choice this weekend for quality fixtures, despite the fact that many schools have already begun half term, meaning there is a slightly depleted fixture list. Schools are now jostling for position at the top of the rugby tree this year, and many of the main protagonists are in action tomorrow.

September’s team of the month, Marlborough College, have an excellent opportunity to further demonstrate the strength of this season’s first XV as they take on an out of sorts St Edward’s side.

Marlborough have been nigh on impossible to play against this season, winning all six of their fixtures and gaining in more and more confidence every week.

Speaking of class, two of the most well respected school side of all time take each other on in one of the classic schoolboy fixtures: Millfield v Colston’s.

Colston’s have not been at their best this season, having already lost three times. They have perhaps lost some of their aura, but the culture of rugby excellence in the school has not diminished, and their ability to raise their game for the classic fixtures is well known.

Millfield meanwhile have had what on the surface looked like a mixed season, by their lofty standards, but when their two defeats are analysed the true nature of their season comes out.

Millfield consistently challenge themselves, meaning that they are prepared to travel where others are not (i.e to the academy college’s),  it is for that reason that they took on Hartpury College, coming away with a tough but repectable 25-8 defeat.

Against the traditional school sides, Millfield have been in excellent form, winning all but one game where they suffered a narrow loss to Bryanston after a poor start. Do not expect the Somerset side to allow that to happen against Colston’s.

Over on the opposite side of the country, Daily Mail Cup holders Dulwich College take on Bedford School.

Dulwich have been in outstanding form this season, winning five and drawing one of their six games so far. They have been routinely stuffing the opposition, with that draw away at Wellington the only blot in the copybook.

Bedford meanwhile began the season in outstanding form with three victories on the bounce. Since then though injury has stuck and coupled with a loss of confidence they have slumped to defeat against Tonbridge, Harrow and Stamford.

After positioning themselves to join the school rugby elite early in the season, I wrote that they would need a victory against either Tonbridge or Dulwich to do that. The second of those opportunities comes tomorrow, and do not expect then to do anything other than fight tooth and nail for that victory.

Dulwich will not back down though, they have a determination and an ability to risk their won safety in the pursuit of victory, typified by their captain Dom Wroe-Wright, that almost no other side can match. Bedford can boast a few players of their own that go to such depths too though, perhaps none more so than hard-hitting full back Ben Nethersole.

Not far from that game, Harrow and Tonbridge clash in a game that is hugely significant for both sides. Both had an excellent start to the season but lost to Wellington and Radley last weekend, victory or defeat in this game could really make or break either sides season.

Other games to look out for this weekend are:

Sherborne v Cheltenham

Bromsgrove v Clifton

Bryanston v Blundell’s

Wellington v Eton

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