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Schools Preview – Wellington v Whitgift tops the bill for a huge weekend

Wellington v Whitgift tops the bill for many this weekend but there are a huge number of exciting looking school fixtures from right across the country.

Our focus is on the four fixtures featured in our weekly Daily Mail Trophy competition, however we will be casting our eye far and wide beyond those four as there is such a wealth of competition this week.

Competition Fixtures Preview:

Cheltenham v Marlborough

Neither side has started the season as they would have liked, Cheltenham have played two and lost two while Marlborough have played three and only won one.

Marlborough’s start has been a particular surprise as they were expected to retain their splendid form from last year, however a convincing defeat to Bryanston followed by a bit of a trouncing by Wellington leaves them searching desperately for a victory to get them back on track.

Weighing in Marlborough’s favour though is the fact that the team they have beaten, Monmouth, beat Cheltenham on the 14th, suggesting that Marlborough out to have the upper hand here, provided their confidence is not too low.

Prediction – Marlborough

Colston’s v King’s Worcester

Successive defeats to Warwick and Solihull have left King’s Worcester short on form and confidence, it seems that they may be suffering a slight hangover from the loss of some of their stellar talents of the 2012/13 season.

Colston’s started the year poorly with defeats to Prior Park and Dean Close, however a victory over a decent Blundell’s side last week should fill them with confidence and might just be enough to make them favourites for this one.

Write off King’s Worcester at your peril though, they still have plenty of talent in their ranks.

Prediction – Colston’s, just.

RGS Newcastle v Barnard Castle

RGS have lost all three of their fixtures so far this season but initially it looked as though they were narrow defeats that still boded well for the rest of the year, however a 33-8 defeat to Sedbergh last week was a hammer blow to that theory.

Barnard Castle by contrast enjoyed a huge win on their last outing, beating Yarm 48-22. This famous rugby school will be confident of victory again tomorrow, though we still do believe that RGS will come good. It should be a good encounter.

Prediction – Barnard Castle

Wellington v Whitgift

Without wishing too much disrespect on Bishop Wordsworth and Skinners, judging the form of Whitgift this season relative to Wellington is a bit of a tricky task, their opposition simply has not been of the same class as Wellington’s, despite Whitgift’s 100% record.

Wellington have played three and won two, losing to RGS High Wycombe and beating Dulwich and Marlborough, the latter by 41 unanswered points, they certainly look to be in excellent form and are playing a good brand of rugby.

What can be accurately judged as a comparison though is the quality of the players at each sides disposal and here it is very tough indeed to separate them.

Our hunch is that home advantage and being slightly more battle hardened against some of the best sides in the country will play into Wellington’s hands, however just because Whitgift that is not to belittle Whitgift’s season so far, their opposition have been no slouches at all and they have beaten them well.

It ought to be a brilliant encounter, one that is almost too close to call, but one that is definitely worth going along to watch, the atmosphere of the Bigside crowd will be electric.

Prediction – Wellington, just.

Fixture Previews:

Outside of the four fixtures in our competition there is some outstanding rugby to be seen, with some of the most hotly anticipated fixtures on the calendar taking place tomorrow.

Millfield v Bryanston is traditionally one of the biggest fixtures of the season, tomorrow though Millfield go in as strong favourites after a brilliant victory last week against Coleg Sir Gar, whilst Bryanston surprisingly lost comfortably to Clifton College last week, despite having the likes of Max Clark and Rory Jennings still with them. The suspicion has to be though that they will raise their game for this one and this could easily turn out to be one of the games of the season – definitely not one to miss.

Prediction – Millfield

John Fisher v RGS High Wycombe also has the makings of a classic encounter. RGS are known to all as a quality outfit this year but a little wobble over the last 10 days or so may just have knocked their confidence.

John Fisher by contrast are yet to lose, though they are also yet to play anyone of RGS’s calibre. RGS will go in as favourites though, if they can click they can beat anyone and they can beat anyone well and the impression is that they are desperate to click tomorrow.

Prediction – RGS High Wycombe

There is a fantastic and historic cross border clash between Merchiston Castle and Sedbergh in Scotland tomorrow. Merchiston are always a top class outfit and always raise their game even further for these Anglo-Scottish encounters.

Sedbergh look to be in fantastic nick this year though, in their first two games they have scored eighty-five points and conceded just fourteen, their opponents have been no slouches either, RGS Newcastle and Wilmslow High were both excellent last year.

Prediction – Sedbergh

Also worth keeping an eye on are three big clashes in the midlands between six sides with very little to choose between them this season; Oundle v Bromgrove, Stamford v Bedford, and Warwick v Oakham.

Oundle began the year terribly, conceding 50 against Bedford, however a 41-5 win against Rugby last week was a welcome return to form and makes them favourites against a Bromsgrove side who lost 20-0 to Oakham.

Bedford slipped after that stunning win against Oakham, however they smashed their way back into form with a wonderful 36-17 victory against Harrow on Tuesday. Stamford have been very consistent though, collecting wins against Stowe, Oundle and Norwich and will expect to continue that consistency tomorrow.

Warwick started the season with a bang as they drew with Millfield, however a draw the following week against Bromsgrove rather took the edge off but they returned to winning ways last week against King’s Worcester.

Oakham started with a tight win against Loughborough before they fell to Stowe but recovered brilliantly from that to beat Bromsgrove 20-0 last week, making them marginal favourites tomorrow.

Predictions – Oundle, Stamford, Oakham (All very narrow)

Fixtures (Predictions in bold):

Cheltenham v Marlborough (XV Competition Fixture)

Colston’s v King’s Worcester (XV Competition Fixture)

RGS Newcastle v Barnard Castle (XV Competition Fixture)

Wellington v Whitgift (XV Competition Fixture)

Blundell’s v King’s College Taunton

Cranbrook v Worth

Denstone v Ellesmere College

Hurstpierpoint v King’s Canterbury

John Fisher v RGS High Wycombe

King’s Macclesfield v Lymm High

Merchant Taylor’s v Haileybury

Merchiston Castle v Sedbergh

Mill Hill v Campion

Millfield v Bryanston

Old Swinford Hospital v Nottingham High School

Oundle v Bromsgrove

RGS Lancaster v Grammar School at Leeds

Stamford v Bedford

St Albans v Hampton

St Ambrose College v Kirkham Grammar School

St John’s Leatherhead v Brighton College

St Peter’s York v Ampleforth College

Trinity School v Dulwich College

Warwick v Oakham

Wilmslow High v Woodhouse Grove

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