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School Fixtures Preview – Back with a Bang

As the half term break draws to a close there are some exciting school fixtures on the calendar this weekend.

The fixture list remains reduced with many schools not yet returned by Saturday by those that are playing provide some cracking looking match ups.

We begin our preview as ever with our four featured fixtures from our Daily Mail Trophy Competition. If you enter the competition and correctly predict the four fixtures you will win a Fifteen Rugby t-shirt.

Eton v Harrow

Defeats to Epsom and Wellington in recent weeks should not lead anyone to underestimate Eton, those two sides have lost just one match between them and are among the best in the country.

What is perhaps a better indication of Eton’s form was their 30-11 victory over KCS Wimbledon, who have been in fine form themselves this season.

Harrow have been a little below the level that they would have expected of themselves this year, however a 40-29 victory over St Paul’s in their final fixture before half term will have been a huge boost to the confidence.

With some outstanding individuals in the team this Harrow side has the ability to frighten anyone but the results have just not quite fed through as often as they would hope this season, however these two great schools are actually pretty well matched and have historically had some cracking fixtures.

Eton have hit greater heights so far this and so go in as favourites for this one, it should be a brilliant game though.

Prediction – Eton College

Radley v Oundle

Radley’s season has been a little mixed, there have been some outstanding performances such as the superb opening day defeat of Sherborne and victory over Eton a month ago, however there have also been a few that will have fallen below their expectations, such as defeat to Cheltenham in the their final game of last half term.

Oundle’s season has been an strange one, they have played six and lost five but their one victory was a huge win over Rugby, who have looked good this year, close defeats to Bromsgrove and Stowe recently also suggest a bit of return to form, suggesting that this fixture between two well rested sides out to be a close one.

Prediction – Radley College, just.

Stamford v Trent College

Stamford at home has become a byword for an easy prediction in recent times. They have not lost a home fixture since 2011 and have not looked like doing so anytime soon.

Trent are a good side though and their only defeat this year has been to Oakham in the NatWest Cup.

They may look to try and capitalise on any disappointment that Stamford may have after being knocked out in the group stages at St Joseph’s and then failing to reach the Plate final.

However Stamford are a class outfit and know that St Joseph’s is an unpredictable tournament. They will be equally determined to start off the second half of term with a victory and on home turf you would be a fool to bet against them.

Prediction – Stamford

Marlborough v Clifton

Marlborough have been below par this season, with a heavy defeat to Wellington College probably their lowest ebb. However injuries have played a big part in that lack of form and with players returning they scored fifty points in each of their last two games before half term.

Particularly impressive was that fact that one of those was against St Edward’s Oxford, who have a decent side, and added to a good win against Canford the week before, Marlborough have now won three in a row.

Clifton have been in fine form all season though, losing just once, the highlight being a 28-8 victory over Bryanston. However Clifton lost their most recent game, succumbing by a single point to Bromsgrove, meaning that Marlborough may just go into this with the greater momentum.

On the balance of their seasons so far though it would be hard not to place Clifton as marginal favourites for this one, though do not be surprised if Marlborough’s return to form continues.

Prediction – Clifton College, just.

Elsewhere there are some exciting fixtures in the North; Lymm High School welcome Cheadle, while Wilmslow High School host local rivals Sandbach. Perhaps the biggest fixture in the region on Saturday will be Pocklington v Mount St Mary’s.

Right at the opposite end of the country Seaford welcome Brighton College, while The Oratory play host to St Edward’s Oxford in what should be a fascinating fixture.

Veterrimi IV

Sherborne will be hosting the Veterrimi IV on Saturday, which features Cheltenham College, Durham School, St Paul’s and the hosts, Sherborne.

The teams play for the A.J.Dingle Cup and it is between the oldest four (Veterrimi IV) rugby-playing schools in the world. Unfortunately Rugby School are unable to play this year, so are replaced by St Paul’s.

On form Durham, who hosted the first such tournament in 2010, look like being the favourites, though Cheltenham College’s win against Radley just before the half term break will see them arrive full of confidence.

As hosts Sherborne will hope that they can make a big impact and having already beaten Cheltenham this season they will have reason to believe that they can go a long way.

St Paul’s actually have a very good record behind them this season, it is just that their defeat to Harrow leaves a sense of vulnerability. Five wins from seven games can hardly be sniffed at though.

It promises to be a very exciting tournament and will be worth the trip along without any doubt at all.

Selected Weekend Fixtures (Predictions in bold):

Eton v Harrow (Competition fixture)

Radley v Oundle (Competition fixture)

Stamford v Trent (Competition fixture)

Marlborough v Clifton (Competition fixture)

Lymm High v Cheadle

Wilmslow High v Sandbach

Pocklington v Mount St Mary’s

Seaford v Brighton College

The Oratory v St Edward’s Oxford

Veterrimi IV – Sherborne, Cheltenham, Durham, St Paul’s.

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