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Schools Weekend Preview – Reduced fixture list but no let up in quality

There is a vastly reduced school rugby fixture list this weekend, with several schools already on half term and a further sixteen taking part in the St Joseph’s Festival.

However there are still some exciting games elsewhere that are worth keeping an eye on this weekend, despite the focus being on St Joseph’s this weekend.

Two fixtures are particularly eye catching; Ampleforth v Durham and Sherborne v Wellington.

Ampleforth v Durham

These are two of the most prestigious rugby playing schools in the country, however in recent times Ampleforth have struggled a little to get the type of results that they are used to, this season being no different.

Durham by contrast have enjoyed great success recently and this season has been no different. Defeat to Sedbergh last weekend was their first defeat of the season.

How they react to that defeat will be of interest though, teams have been known to derail after a sudden defeat so Durham will be aware of the need to focus even more keenly this weekend.

The contrast in form between these two sides suggest that Durham should win though, however Ampleforth are no slouches as their two point defeat to RGS Newcastle last weekend showed, they can frighten any side.

Prediction – Durham

Sherborne v Wellington College

Wellington are one of the form teams in the country at the moment and they stretched their unbeaten run to six games in midweek with an 18-3 victory over Bryanston. That leaves them undefeated since that tight loss to RGS High Wycombe on the opening day of the season.

Sherborne have looked very good in patches and have some good results over Blundell’s, Bishop Wordsworth’s and Cheltenham in their locker, and an exceptional one against Prior Park at The Rec. However heavy defeats to Radley and Millfield, two sides in the Wellington class, mean that they go into this game on the back foot.

Everyone knows that Sherborne possess talent though and that they have the ability to beat any side that is put in front of them so Wellington would be well advised not to take them likely.

Wellington are on a real mission now though to kick on from being one of the best in the country this season to the best, and they know that to do so they must win every time they go out.

It should be a cracker.

Prediction – Wellington

It is also worth keeping an eye on Woodhouse Grove v St Ambrose College, Woodhouse are unbeaten this season and sit at the top of the Daily Mail Trophy table.

Debate rages as to just where they sit relative to the other top teams this year, but they are certainly among them, beating King’s Macclesfield demonstrated that. They ought to win again against St Ambrose but they know that to keep their reputation up they must win all of their matches from now until their big clash against Durham on the 23rd November.

Prediction – Woodhouse Grove

Other Selected Fixtures (Predictions in bold):

Kirkham Grammar v Audenshaw

Stowe v Aylesbury Grammar

St Paul’s v London Oratory

Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital v Prior Park

Colston’s v Taunton

Downside v Milton Abbey

Canford v King’s College Taunton

Hymers v Ashville

Previews for the St Joseph’s Festival are included elsewhere on the site and can be found on our School Rugby Pages

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