Finally it has arrived, it is the first official week of the 2014/15 Schoolboy Rugby season and that of course means that it is time for our first midweek preview of the season.
This week is a reasonably quiet one, with most waiting until Saturday for their first official game of the season, though a few did manage to squeeze one in over the past couple of days.
The big highlight of the opening midweek of the season is the very first Daily Mail Trophy fixture of the year.
Last year was the inaugural year for the Daily Mail Trophy, under that title at least, and proved to be a roaring success with some real competition from top to bottom.
It was eventually won by Woodhouse Grove, who managed to go the entire campaign without defeat. However the likes of Wellington College, Sedbergh, Epsom College and Millfield all pushed them close despite incredibly tough fixture lists.
Another side who pushed Woodhouse Grove all season were KCS Wimbledon. The South London side finished 6th overall and had a mightily impressive campaign. They will be looking to build on that this year and have the first opportunity of anyone to do so as they take on Caterham, who did not compete last year, in the opening fixture on Wednesday.
There is plenty of non Daily Mail Trophy action too though. St Georgeâ€™s Weybridge v Reigate Grammar School ought to produce a good game. In the corresponding fixture last season St Georgeâ€™s won 34-10 so Reigate will be looking to respond well this year.
Kingâ€™s Worcester also kick off their season with their traditional curtain raiser against King Edward VI. Last year they recorded a strong victory off the back of a tremendously successful season but never quite kicked on as they would have hoped. This year they will want another strong victory but for it to be a catalyst for more.
Despite losing some huge stars of schoolboy rugby over the 2013 summer Northampton School for Boys still had a very good season last year and they will be hoping to have another one this year, starting with a game against Watford Grammar School on Wednesday. Gravesend Grammar School face a tricky fixture against Colfe’s who have been in pre season action against King’s Canterbury this weekend.
Kingâ€™s College Taunton promise much this season and have a final pre season friendly on Wednesday, similarly on Tuesday both Canford and Hymers College are in pre season action.
So it seems to be a gentle first few days of the season, a nice way to ease ahead of what is going to be an enormous weekend of school rugby. Â Without wishing to creep too far into our weekend preview, with fixtures such as Barnard Castle v Durham, Whitgift v Sedbergh, Bedford v Oundle, Bromsgrove v Denstone, Wellington College v RGS High Wycombe, Cheltenham College v Rugby, Stamford v Stowe, Millfield v Warwick, and Tonbridge v Epsom College to come on Saturday, it is definitely going to be a brilliant opening weekend!
Midweek Fixtures: (Predictions in bold)
Hymers v Presidentâ€™s XV (Friendly)
Canford v Wimborne RFC (Friendly)
Kingâ€™s Taunton v B Tottle XV (Friendly)
St Georgeâ€™s Weybridge v Reigate Grammar School
King Edward VI Five Ways v Kingâ€™s Worcester
Caterham v KCS Wimbledon (Daily Mail Trophy)
Northampton SfB v Watford Grammar School
Colfeâ€™s v Gravesend Grammar School
What are your predictions for the 2014/15 Schools Rugby season? Do you think Woodhouse Grove will retain the Daily Mail Trophy? Will Dulwich College win a 4th NatWest Cup on the trot? Are you a fan of the new Champions Trophy?
Let us know your thoughts via the comment box below or via @FifteenRugbyXV