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Champions Trophy Round Up – New tournament starts with a bang

The opening round of the new Schools Champions Trophy has certainly not disappointed with some of the biggest names in schoolboy rugby flexing their muscles.

Here at Fifteen Rugby we went to see two of the very best teams of last season to see how they got on in the new competition, heading to watch Daily Mail Trophy champions Woodhouse Grove away at Uppingham on Tuesday, before heading over to South London on Wednesday to watch the Epsom College, unbeaten in 2013/14, play Bishop’s Stortford High School.

Both progressed but in very different manners. Woodhouse Grove needed a late and dramatic George Styles try to secure a 15-13 victory, while Epsom College romped to a 48-0 win.

Both progress though, and ultimately in a knockout competition, that is all that matters.

The trophy will take on an even greater level of competitiveness in the second round as it goes national. The draw was regional for round one but is expanded nationwide for the sixteen team second round.

It is going to be sixteen outstanding schools that are there too, all chasing that same Allianz Park dream for the final at the end of term.

The names read almost like a who’s who of legendary schoolboy rugby teams. Barnard Castle, producers of many an England international, are there after beating RGS Lancaster 49-14. Bradford Grammar School, the first great ‘dynasty’ side of the Daily Mail Cup era, will be there following a tight 19-16 victory over Durham, as will Tonbridge, who had a magnificent two year unbeaten run at the end of the last decade, they thumped Reading School 61-0 in a real show of strength.

Bedford have been a real force over the last couple of years and proved it today as they mastered the long trip up the A1 to the traditionally strong QEGS Wakefield, winning 17-6 to progress.

Joining them will be another side who have impressed recently, and whose results this season so far suggest that they might well be among the favourites for the new tournament, Grammar School at Leeds. The West Yorkshire side beat and excellent, just look at how they dismantled Durham, RGS Newcastle 1st XV 31-8. A superb result.

Also through are a trio of South East sides, who all played in first round local derby fixtures. RGS Guildford progress after a high scoring 35-27 victory over Cranbrook, while Eltham College came away with an excellent away 17-3 victory over Gordon’s School to progress.

The third of the trio to progress are Eastbourne College. They won a hard fought contest against Caterham 26-14 to secure their place in the second round.

One game that always looked destined to be a close one was King’s College Taunton against Marlborough College. Marlbrorough have not had the best of starts to the season but they showed that they still have the quality expected as they impressively won 17-5 away at the King’s School.

All in all then the opening round, or at least that which has been completed, looked to have gone pretty much according to script. Yes there were some games that could have gone either way, but there were no big shocks.

Except one.

Bryanston, whose alumni made up half of the Bath United backline in the Aviva A League on Monday night, as well as the captain and second row Charlie Ewels, lost 7-0 away at Reading Blue Coat. A truly stunning upset.

It will surprise many but perhaps not the Blue Coats, who must now prepare for the tough last sixteen draw, which will include both Millfield and Oakham aswell.

The two famous rugby schools saw their scheduled opponents withdraw, giving them a bye into the last sixteen and leaving many sides hoping to avoid them.

Before that though, there are still two first round fixtures to play, and what a pair of crackers they are. Perhaps the most famous school in the country, Eton College, will play Haileybury, while on Saturday perhaps the most famous school 1st XV in the country will be in action, Colston’s. The multiple Schools Cup winners will play Blundell’s.

The Schools Champions Trophy already looks like a hit, and we have not even finished the first round yet!

Champions Trophy 1st Round Results:

Uppingham 13-15 Woodhouse Grove

Barnard Castle 49-14 RGS Lancaster

Caterham 14-26 Eastbourne College

Cranbrook 25-37 RGS Guildford

Durham 16-19 Bradford GS

Epsom College 48-0 Bishop’s Stortford High School

Eton College 56-12 Haileybury

Gordon’s 3-17 Eltham College

Grammar School at Leeds 31-8 RGS Newcastle

King’s College Taunton 5-17 Marlborough College

Millfield – BYE

Oakham – BYE

QEGS Wakefield 6-17 Bedford

Reading Blue Coat 7-0 Bryanston

Tonbridge 61-0 Reading

Still to play:

Colston’s v Blundellls, Saturday.

What do you think of the new competition is it/will it be a success? Let us know your thoughts via the comment box below or through @FifteenRugbyXV

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