The final weekend of school rugby of the term is upon us, the fixture list might be short, with many already home for Christmas, but it is no less competitive.
As ever we begin our preview with a closer look at our four featured fixtures from our Daily Mail Trophy Competition, which this week sees a bit of a change to celebrate the end of term.
Correctly predicting the four featured fixtures will win you a Fifteen Rugby t-shirt, as ever, but this week there are three Bonus Fixtures. Correctly predict the three bonus fixtures as well as the four featured fixtures and you will win your ENTIRE TEAM a Fifteen Rugby t-shirt each.
Bradford Grammar School v Kirkham Grammar School
This ought to be a highly competitive game between to relatively evenly matched sides.Â Bradford had been ticking along rather nicely this season, however three defeats in a row leading up to this game may have just given the confidence a bit of a knock.
However those defeats came to strong opposition in Barnard Castle, RGS Newcastle, and St Peterâ€™s York so Bradford need not be too downbeat.
Kirkham, by contrast, come into this game on a bit of a high after they beat Old Swinford Hospital 54-8 in midweek. They have had mixed results this season with some brilliant victories and the odd difficult defeat but they may just feel that they have the narrowest of advantages in this one.
It is sure to be close though, and should be an excellent game.
Prediction â€“ Kirkham GS, just.
Dulwich College v St Benedictâ€™s
Dulwich College might have taken a bit of a bashing from Epsom College last weekend but do not let that fool you, the back to back Schools Cup winners have been in pretty magical form of late and will head into this game full of confidence.
St Benedictâ€™s have been in fine form this season and had only lost to Palmerston North, from New Zealand, all term. However in the last three weeks things seem to have unravelled just a touch after a draw with Hampton saw them exit the NatWest Cup and they then suffered successive defeats to RGS High Wycombe and John Fisher.
Given the quality of that opposition though it is hard to criticise those results, and in the midst of those games they have won the County Cup so they will definitely pose a strong threat, however we expect Dulwich to bounce back from defeat last week to take this one.
Prediction â€“ Dulwich College
Lymm High School v Manchester Grammar School
Lymm have had a pretty good season but it has been occasionally spoiled by a couple of monstrous defeats, to Kingâ€™s Macclesfield and Woodhouse Grove particularly, though many have suffered at the hands of Woodhouse this year.
They have picked up eight wins though and are in the last 32 of the NatWest Cup so they pose a threat every time they step onto the field, and Saturday will be no different.
Manchester Grammar have had a slightly different season, they have certainly lost far more often than Lymm but have generally been involved in relatively tight games, making it tough to see how this one will pan out.
Our suspicion is that Manchester Grammar may just have the edge but it ought to be mighty close.
Prediction â€“ Manchester Grammar, just.
QEGS Wakefield v Nottingham High School
QEGS have a proud rugby history but this season has just not been their year. They have just three victories to their name, with two of those coming in the Cup.
However things might be looking up for them at the moment, very narrow defeats to Bradford Grammar and Bristol Grammar sandwiched a draw against Ampleforth in the Cup that left QEGS progressing to the last 32 as the away side, so their confidence ought to be at the highest it has been this year.
Nottingham too have had a rather shaky season, though they have won a few more games than QEGS. However the most telling stat is probably that while QEGS narrowly lost to Bradford Grammar School, Nottingham just beat them, making Nottingham our favourites for this one.
Prediction â€“ Nottingham High School
St Pauls v Tiffin, Denstone v St Ambrose, and Wilmslow High v Grammar School at Leeds are the three bonus fixtures.
All three ought to be excellent fixtures, though it would be a surprise it St Paulâ€™s were not to beat Tiffin. Denstone v St Ambrose should be a tighter game though, Denstone will have the edge with home advantage and a slightly superior record this season but St Ambrose will definitely not roll over.
Wilmslow High v GSAL is possibly the biggest game of the three. GSAL have been excellent all season, getting some huge victories against strong opposition, and they will probably be favourites. However Wilmslow will be on a high, excuse the pun, after a smashing midweek victory in the NatWest vase and are a match for any side on their day.
Predictions â€“ St Paulâ€™s, Denstone, and GSAL.
Friday night sees St Josephâ€™s College take on Northampton Saintsâ€™ U18s. The Under 18 league picks up again this weekend, and we will look into it in detail elsewhere, but Saints do not have a game in it this week. As such they take on St Josephâ€™s College, who themselves have many Saints players, as they prepare for their next league game next weekend.
Selected School Fixtures and Predictions (predictions in bold):
Bradford Grammar v Kirkham Grammar (Featured Competition Fixture)
Dulwich College v St Benedictâ€™s (Featured Competition Fixture)
Lymm High School v Manchester Grammar (Featured Competition Fixture)
QEGS Wakefield v Nottingham High School (Featured Competition Fixture)
St Paulâ€™s v Tiffin (Bonus Competition Fixture)
Denstone College v St Ambrose College (Bonus Competition Fixture)
Wilmslow High v Grammar School at Leeds (Bonus Competition Fixture)
Whitgift v Glyn
Campion v RGS High Wycombe
Woodhouse Grove v Harrogate Grammar School
St Olaveâ€™s GS v Eltham College
Wimbledon College v Wallington County Grammar
Berkhamsted v Northampton School for Boys
St Josephâ€™s College v Northampton Saints Academy
Do you agree with our predictions? Let us know either through the comment box below or via Twitter – @FifteenRugbyXV