School Rugby – Weekend Preview & Predictions

Another weekend brings with it yet another fascinating line up of school rugby fixtures and another round of previews and predictions.

We begin as ever with our four featured Daily Mail Trophy competition fixtures:

Dulwich College v Brighton College

Brighton go into this one with a slightly better record than Dulwich, three wins and one defeat to two and two from Dulwich, however it is fair to say that Dulwich have probably had marginally tougher opposition.

Both sides would probably agree that this season was always going to be a tough one having lost so many excellent players from either side over the summer, however both would still rightly claim that they have formidable teams and that no side would fancy playing them.

Indeed the fact that Dulwich lost so narrowly to Wellington College who then went on to comprehensively beat Marlborough and Whitgift on their way to claiming our Team of the Month award, rather proves the point.

It is this toughness which we believe will see Dulwich through, the power of their forwards is still there and in Josh Ibuanokpe and John Winter, to name a couple, they have real talent there, whilst Ali Neden is still magical in the backs.

Prediction: Dulwich

Hampton v RGS High Wycombe

Hampton were ticking along unbeaten up until they lost to a New Zealand touring side earlier this week but they had looked very impressive despite not yet coming up against the toughest of opponents.

RGS by contrast have had a mammoth start to the season, facing Wellington, Millfield, Harrow, John Fisher and now Hampton. They now sit with two wins and two defeats, a modest record on the face of it, however given the level of their opposition it is really a perfectly reasonable return.

It makes judging the result at Staines RFC very difficult though, had Hampton not had the hit out in midweek then RGS would probably be the favourites given that they have had plenty of big game experience already this year, however Hampton now have some of that under their belts too.

RGS probably do still just edge though because of those four tough fixtures worth of preparation, however the impact on their confidence of that tight defeat to John Fisher will probably be crucial to the outcome tomorrow.

Prediction: RGS High Wycombe, just.

Radley v Tonbridge

A good win away at Eton last time out will have filled Tonbridge with confidence however Radley also beat Eton when they played, albeit despite being under enormous pressure at the maul.

Home advantage will help Radley, they always get a good crowd at home, but this looks like a very tight game to us.

Our hunch is that Radley will nick it, they have a habit of being able to secure a result when they need it and that may just be the difference tomorrow.

Prediction: Radley

Uppingham v Rugby

Uppingham have had an exceptional start to the season and are yet to lose. After a disappointing year last year they have really turned a corner and were under serious consideration for our Team of the Month award this month.

Rugby by contrast have struggled, they started well against Cheltenham but successive defeats to St Edward’s and Oundle leave them desperately in need of a confidence boosting result tomorrow.

Prediction: Uppingham

In the north one fixture has really grabbed our attention: Woodhouse Grove v King’s School Macclesfield. Both featured heavily when we debated our Team of the Month but were eventually ruled out because we felt that neither had faced tough enough opposition yet to truly merit the award, despite being unbeaten.

Tomorrow is a chance for both to beat what is undisputedly top quality opposition. We think Woodhouse Grove will probably just edge it, home advantage just giving them the edge they need but it will be close.

Also of interest in the North is RGS Newcastle v Grammar School at Leeds. RGS really seemed to turn a corner last week with victory over Barnard Castle, whilst GSAL have totalled 100 points in their last two games.

In terms of form GSAL would have to be favourites but RGS are a very strong side and have got their confidence back now.

Predictions: Woodhouse Grove and RGS Newcastle (Both close)

In and around London Whitgift v Warwick, Harrow v Wellington and Eton v KCS Wimbledon have all caught our eye.

Whitgift suffered a surprisingly conclusive defeat to Welington last week and will be looking to bounce back strongly, however Warwick are having a very strong season and beat a resurgent Oakham well last week.

Harrow seemed not to be able to buy a win but a big NatWest Cup win in midweek, against admittedly weak opposition, will have boosted the confidence. It may not be enough though against a rampant Wellington College outfit who have gone from strength to strength following their opening day defeat.

KCS Wimbledon are on fire as well this season and will travel to Eton full of confidence, they will be favourites but Eton know that they have an incredibly strong maul up their sleeve and that if they can work that into the game enough then they can beat anyone.

Predictions: Whitgift, Wellington and KCS Wimbledon

In the Midlands Bedford v Oakham stands out, Bedford beat Stamford in Stamford last week, the first side to do so in nearly two years, after seeing them beat Harrow so well that week also, we can say that they definitely look a strong side.

Oakham have had some strong results recently too and despite defeat to Warwick last week are a good side. They traditionally do well against Bedford and will feel that they have a strong chance.

Prediction: Bedford

Two games in the South West round up our in depth predictions, Clifton College v St Edward’s Oxford and Millfield v Sherborne.

Both Clifton and Millfield came very close to our Team of the Month award after both performed excellently in September, St Edward’s also performed well, winning three of their four fixtures.

Sherborne also have a three from four record, with three very strong wins, however a fairly big defeat to Radley was a bit of a blow.

A 59-0 win at the Rec on Monday will have really boosted the confidence though but Millfield will start as favourites despite losing to Palmerston North in midweek.

Clifton will also start as favourites against St Edward’s but the away side will put up a strong fight without any shadow of a doubt.

Predictions: Clifton and Millfield

Further Predictions (In Bold):

Lymm High v Wilmslow High

Ravens Wood v John Fisher

Sir Thomas Rich’s v Colston’s

King’s Worcester v Monmouth

St Paul’s v Abingdon

Stamford v Bedford Modern

Solihull v Bromsgrove

Eltham v Sevenoaks

Durham v Hymers

Christ College v Malvern College

Downside v Monkton Combe

Barnard Castle v Pocklington

Worth v Reigate Grammar School

Cranleigh v Portsmouth Grammar School

Reeds v The Oratory

RGS Lancaster v Kirkham Grammar

Mount St Mary’s v Ratcliffe

Blundell’s v Truro School

Oundle v Stowe

King’s College Taunton v Cheltenham College

Malborough v Canford

St Albans v Haileybury

Ampleforth v Sedbergh

Do you agree with our predictions? Get in touch via @FifteenRugbyXV Facebook, or the comments box below and let us hear your thoughts!

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