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Top 5 Schools Rugby Teams of the Weekend

This weekend saw some truly brilliant schools rugby action, as opening weekend often seems to, and some very exciting a tense finishes.

Trawling through all of that quality, drama, excitement, and passion to pick our five teams of the weekend was no easy task but we think we have picked out five sides that for one reason or another were highly impressive, we would love to hear your opinions though!

Top 5 Teams of the Weekend:

Epsom College

Epsom had a fantastic unbeaten season last year, indeed only a draw with Brighton College brought them short of a completely victorious season, and that brings with it a hefty dollop of pressure for the following season.

Throw into that mix the fact that Epsom started their opening game of the season against Tonbridge on Saturday with eleven debutants in their starting fifteen and you can see what a challenging fixture it was, particularly given the quality that we all know Tonbridge posses.

That Epsom overcame that pressure to win 34-23 away at Tonbridge was very impressive indeed and shows what a strong rugby culture and depth of talent there is at the school.

Grammar School at Leeds

GSAL started this season under pressure, positive pressure but pressure nonetheless. They had a good season last year, with their lower 6th year contributing heavily too that, and now their former U15 Schools Cup stars are now maturing into 1st XV players.

All of that meant that they arrived at the start of the season under pressure to fulfil that promise and to go even better than last year and to break into the upper echelons of the school game in 2014/15.

With that in mind their 59-7 demolition of St Peter’s York was a truly outstanding result. It was a brilliant result in its own right, St Peter’s are a quality side, but as a statement of intent it was huge.

Haileybury

Haileybury’s proud rugby tradition that produced players such as Saracens’ Jamie George had just slipped a little in recent years, big results had been hard to come by and their fixture list began to look a little less challenging.

They made big steps to change that though, beginning with the appointment of former Wales captain and British & Irish Lions star Michael Owen as Director of Rugby. Results still were not quite what they might be but there was a hope that this year might see them really beginning to punch high again.

A tricky opening game against St Paul’s School was an ideal chance to prove a point then, and prove it they did, winning 24-22.

They secured their place in the top 5 this week though for the manner of victory. It came through a last minute penalty, which serves as an example of the belief and desire that this team must now have.

Stamford

Much of the theme of this week’s top 5 has been about pressure. If there is one team that knows about pressure, it is Stamford. They have not lost a home game in three years; many will argue that that makes things easy; it puts pressure on the opposition. In a sense that is true, but a record like that also brings immense pressure on the team that holds that record. Pressure not to be the year that loses it, pressure to maintain the record, to live up to the standards of your predecessors. Just look at the pressure Arsenal felt at the end of their 49 game unbeaten run.

So Stamford’s game against Stowe, who arrived as Tynedale champions no less and with a much-fancied team, was a highly pressured affair.

Indeed Stowe were arguably the better side, and going into the final play they were deservedly leading. However Stamford were not about to let that record go. They fought and battled their way to score a try on the final play, dramatically winning the game 19-18.

It seems that Stamford are a side who just simply refuse to be beaten at home, quite brilliant. The record goes on, three years and one week…

Whitgift

Whitgift v Sedbergh was always going to be one of the major events of the opening weekend, how could it not be – these were two absolute giants of schoolboy rugby. However few would disagree that Sedbergh were just favourites going into it.

Sedbergh were brilliant last year, while Whitgift were a little shy of where they would have hoped to be, and were coming off the back of a bit of an underwhelming President’s Cup at Esher.

The game went to script early on with Sedbergh’s physically bigger side leading at the break. However Whitgift fought and battled their way back into the game and all the way to a highly impressive 24-22 victory.

It could well be a result that makes their season, and certainly it was a showing of spirit and togetherness that ought to be able to define their season. That is a feeling that stays with a team forever, fighting and scrapping your way to victory alongside your mates.

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