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St Joseph’s Festival Preview – Group C

Part three of our St Joseph’s Festival Preview looks at Group C, widely considered the most open group of the competition.

There is a case for all four sides to qualify and that makes this group absolutely fascinating.

St Joseph’s Festival 2013 Group C

Bedford

Brighton College

Merchiston Castle

RGS Newcastle

Bedford

Bedford are one of the most difficult sides to predict in the country, they can be absolutely brilliant at times and play some brilliant schools completely off the park but equally they can lose games and leave you wondering how.

What is certain is that on dry grounds they can be close to unplayable at times, they use the full width of the pitch as well as anyone and have an incredibly dynamic pack, and back row in particular, led by Ollie Lyons.

Their trouble often comes when the weather prevents their all court game, which will be a worry for them given the forecast this weekend.

A big defeat at Dulwich last week will not have helped confidence but we suspect that Bedford have what it takes to recover, we know that they are a side that on their day can unlock anyone.

Verdict – Trophy

Brighton College

Brighton just seem to have slipped a little from the heights of last year, though in fairness losing the England U18 captain, James Chisholm, along with some other top players was always going to be difficult to adjust to.

They have still won two thirds of their games though and retain the ability to score tries – a crucial quality in this format of the game.

They will need to be on their game in this pool though, the only way to guarantee progress is to win three from three because teams will all be taking points from each other and no side wants to be left waiting on points difference or head to heads.

Verdict – Trophy

Merchiston Castle

Merchiston Castle are always a competitive side and they have shown that again this season. At the pre season Tynedale Festival they beat Durham, Yarm and RGS Newcastle, proving that they can beat anyone and landing an important psychological blow against RGS ahead of this weekend’s fixture.

They may have taken a bit of a heavy beating from Sedbergh recently but many sides have and many more will do again, it is not a game to read a lot into other than that Sedbergh are brilliant.

Merchiston could easily get out of this group, indeed they could well top it but we have a sneaking suspicion that they may, just, miss out.

Verdict – Plate

RGS Newcastle

Like last season RGS have started slowly before gradually finding their way into the season. Recent victories against Ampleforth and Barnard Castle suggest that they have the quality to get out of this group.

With four defeats under their belt already this season though they must ensure that the RGS of recent weeks turns up not the RGS of the opening few.

If they can get things to click then they have the ability to get out of this group without any shadow of a doubt, the only question is if they can get things to click.

Verdict – Plate

 For our other previews, please follow these links:

Group A

Group B

Group D

Tournament Overview

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