There is no better time of the year here at Fifteen Rugby than right now, the start of the new season. Tomorrow we will be at the first Daily Mail Trophy game of the season, Caterham v KCS Wimbledon, before things really get firing on Saturday.
If pre season is anything to go by then we are in for a cracking year, there will be some familiar old faces but there also look to be a few schools who will be pushing their way up towards the top of the pile after languishing for the past couple of years.
From a coverage point of view we will be stepping things up in a big way this year, bringing you better coverage, more interactive coverage, more exciting things for you to get involved with, and a greater depth of coverage too. We are also hoping to be able to announce a couple of very exciting new developments for you in the coming weeks and months.
As far as schoolboy competition goes, the regular season fixtures will again provide the spine of the season, with the Daily Mail Trophy fixtures taking centre stage and featuring in our weekly prediction competition. The NatWest Cup will obviously play a huge part through the year, while next months St Josephâ€™s Festival is a great favourite of both our readers and ours.
The big exciting development this year in terms of fixtures is of course the inaugural Schools Champions Trophy. It is very much in the trial stage but it certainly appears that it could become a real focus of the season, both for those involved and for us in terms of coverage, with the final taking place at Allianz Park it is certainly at the very least going to provide a great day out for two schools in the final. We cannot wait to cover this new competition.
Then of course we have the sevens season, last year was one of the best we have seen so this has a lot to live up to but it is going to be brilliant to watch it all unfold, and hopefully this year we will be able to bring you some real insider knowledge.
We will also be covering the AASE league in far more detail than we have previously. Part of the reason for that is a step up in coverage of the U18 Academies league and the Aviva A League, two exciting competitions that we have loved covering in the past and cannot wait to explore in even more detail.
We will also have our unique take on the Aviva Premiership and the European Rugby Champions Cup, with Rhiannon Chandler-Day providing her regular and fun outlook on the club rugby world.
International rugby will also form a huge part of the coverage, as regular readers will know, our focus is on showing just how few steps there are from schoolboy rugby player to seasoned international. Our coverage will include England U16s, U18s, U20s, Saxons, and the full England team as well as some World Cup build up; with several schools opening their doors to international sides it could be a hugely inspiring time for school XVs.
As ever though, the focus is absolutely on School Rugby and the brilliant competitions that that includes. That starts this weekend with some truly brilliant opening day fixtures, to give you just two examples â€“ Whitgift v Sedbergh, and RGS High Wycombe v Wellington College â€“ what a couple of fixtures to kick off the season with!
While we will be covering as much as is possible, we are also always looking for contributions from you, our readers. There are hundreds of fixtures every week and we would love to be able to include detail about as many of those as possible.
So if you want to see your school more heavily featured, or to give yourself some experience and CV building just get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contact us through the form at the foot of the site or through any of our social media channels.
It does not necessarily need to be match reports; you might only want to send something over every few weeks as a blog about your schoolâ€™s season so far, or about rugby/schoolboy rugby in general. Just get in touch and we can help devise a plan that suits everyone. You will probably find a good stack of Fifteen Rugby t-shirts coming your way too!
That is all from me for now, I will be writing this column regularly throughout the year, updating you as to any Fifteen Rugby news and also giving you my view on what is happening in the rugby world from the school fields to Twickenham and everything in between.
All that remains is to say farewell to those stars of 2013/14 who have moved on to bigger and brighter things, good luck to everyone and we look forward to covering the progress of those who remain in the game. Some, like Kieran Treadwell with Rosslyn Park, are on dual contracts in the lower divisions, while many will be featuring in the Aviva A League throughout the year.
It is also a chance to say good luck to those entering their first season of 1st XV/6th from rugby â€“ enjoy the challenge and keep that work ethic up. For some this will be the peak of their rugby years for others just the start, but if the last few yearâ€™s have taught us anything it is that with the right application anyone can make that leap from school rugby to the professional game, even if you have been overlooked before.
For those in their final year, good luck and make the most of it. Most of all though, like everyone else, enjoy it â€“ we will certainly enjoy covering it.
Hereâ€™s to a cracking 2014/15 season!
By Angus Savage