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Schools Champions Trophy last 16 draw throws up some fascinating ties

The draw for the second round, the last 16 stage, of the new Schools Champions Trophy was made at Twickenham Stadium this morning.

Drawn by the impartial Zoran Higgins from Hampton School, the draw threw up some fascinating ties, not least of which were heavyweight clashes between Millfield and Tonbridge, and Bedford v Grammar School at Leeds.

In terms of historic significance though, perhaps the most romantic tie is that between Oakham and Bradford Grammar School, the first tie to be drawn from the pot.

Bradford Grammar School, as we mentioned earlier this week, were the first great school dynasty of the Schools Cup era, while Oakham were the first side to win back to back Schools Cups following the end of the Colston’s ‘empire’. That both are now in this new competition is certainly significant.

2013 Daily Mail Trophy Champions Woodhouse Grove only just edged past Uppingham, 15-13, in the opening round (see our report here). Their reward is a home tie against the most well known school in the land, Eton College, who put fifty points on Haileybury yesterday.

Reading Blue Coat were one of three sides to receive a bye, alongside Oakham and Millfield, after their opponents – Bryanston in Blue Coat’s case – pulled out. Bryanston’s loss is very much Reading Blue Coat’s gain though, they are at home to one of the most famous rugby schools, and indeed the most successful, Barnard Castle, who enjoyed a big win against RGS Lancaster in round 1.

Eastbourne College and RGS Guildford will both be feeling like they have a real shot at reaching the last eight after being drawn against each other in the last 16. Both won away from home in the first round, RGS 37-25 against Cranbrook and Eastbourne 26-19 at Caterham.

Eltham College were delighted to progress with a 17-3 away victory over Gordon’s School but their reward is a very tricky tie, albeit at home, against the excellent Marlborough College, who beat King’s Taunton 17-5 in the last round, in Taunton.

One of the favourite teams for the competition is surely Epsom College. They were absolutely tremendous in beating Bishop’s Stortford High School 48-0 in the opening round.

Their reward is another home tie, however they must wait until the close of play tomorrow between Colston’s and Blundell’s to find out their opponent. Both are traditionally good sides, but in either case, Epsom will be confident.

So to those two belting fixtures at the top of the article. Bedford did brilliantly to win away at QEGS in the first round and with a 51-0 thrashing of Uppingham already under their belts this year, they will feel confident.

However Grammar School at Leeds are one of the top teams in the country this year, averaging roughly fifty points a game. In the first round they beat RGS Newcastle, themselves a top team this year, by an astonishing 31-8 scoreline.

GSAL might just be favourites, but it is a long old trip to Bedford, and Bedford are no slouches.

Millfield v Tonbridge is one to really whet the appetite. Traditionally two of the strongest sides in the country and they are again this year. Both have some superstar players and both are formidable. Tonbridge beat Reading 61-0 in the opening round while Millfield received a bye, however having put over 60 points of RGS High Wycombe this season already, their quality is clear to see.

Millfield in theory are probably favourites for this one, particularly with home advantage, however much may depend on what type of side they can/are allowed to field. It should be fascinating.

What do you think of the Schools Champions Trophy last sixteen draw? What are the ties/schools to look out for & how pleased/nervous are you about your school’s draw?

 

Let us know via the comment box below or via @FifteenRugbyXV

Schools Champions Trophy Last 16 Draw:

Oakham v Bradford Grammar School

Reading Blue Coat v Barnard Castle

Eastbourne College v RGS Guildford

Woodhouse Grove v Eton College

Bedford v Grammar School at Leeds

Millfield v Tonbridge

Eltham College v Marlborough College

Epsom College v Colston’s/Blundell’s

The live draw for the second round of the inaugural Schools Champions Trophy.

Thoughts?

So, the eight last sixteen ties are: 

Oakham v Bradford GS

Reading Blue Coat v Barnard Castle

Eastbourne College v RGS Guildford

Woodhouse Grove v Eton College

Bedford v Grammar School at Leeds

Millfield v Tonbridge

Eltham College v Marlborough College

Epsom College v Colston’s/Blundell’s

The final two are….Eltham College v Marlborough College and Epsom College v Colston’s/Blundell’s.

Millfield v Tonbridge….massive

Next two out of the draw, a big trip to Yorkshire for Eton College to face Woodhouse Grove, while Bedford host Grammar School at Leeds – what a pair of ties!

Eastbourne College v RGS Guildford is next out – local game.

First 2 out of the pot…Oakham v Bradford Grammar School and Reading Blue Coat v Barnard Castle. Long trip for Barney!

Some big names in there that people will want to avoid. Big draw for some of the ‘lesser’ teams.

7 minutes untill the draw, Woodhouse Grove, Barnard Castle, Eastbourne, RGS Guildford, Bradford GS, Epom, Eton, Eltham, GSAL, Marlbrorough, Millfield, Oakham, Bedford, Reading Blue Coat, Tonbridge, and Colston’s/Blundell’s are all in.

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