Schools Rugby Midweek Preview & Predictions – Champions Trophy, NatWest Cup, Daily Mail Trophy, & more

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Coach Logic

The busiest midweek of schoolboy rugby so far this season is upon us, with exciting looking fixtures every day.

It is the real start of the U18 NatWest Cup this week, as well as the last 16 round of the Schools Champions Trophy. There are also fixtures against Dilworth, a touring side from New Zealand, and a few Daily Mail Trophy games for good measure too.

Monday

The action kicks off at Staines RFC this evening when Hampton welcome New Zealand touring school Dilworth. Given the notorious strength of schools rugby in New Zealand, this is sure to be a high level fixture.

Tuesday

Tuesday is a busy day, there a few NatWest Cup fixtures, including a first game of the 2014 competition for St George’s Weybridge, they host George Abbott.

There are also exciting looking fixtures between Pate’s Grammar and Cheltenham College, and Bishop’s Stortford College and Haileybury.

In all likelihood though, Tuesday’s major focus will be on the Champions Trophy, where three absolutely brilliant fixtures await.

Kicking things off in the last sixteen will be Bedford and Grammar School at Leeds. Bedford are at home and have been looking very impressive this year, they may have lost at the weekend away at Stamford but everyone does.

Grammar School at Leeds are one of the most highly rated teams in the country this year, and rightly so, they are unbeaten and have averaged over 45 points per game.

They were pushed more than they have been all season on Saturday though, yet still ran out 29-14 winners over RGS Lancaster. You suspect that Bedford might be another step up again though, and this result will be crucial, not just for this competition, but for form across the rest of the season for both sides.

Kicking off just after that will be Epsom College v Blundell’s. Blundell’s beat the legendary Colston’s to reach the last 16, while Epsom College almost hit a half-century against Bishop’s Stortford High School.

Epsom are unbeaten and are among the big favourites for the competition but this game will be a step up from the last round, however with home advantage they will be furious with themselves if they lose.

If those fixtures seen mouth-watering, how about the late kick off – Millfield v Tonbridge. These are two giants of the school scene, whose locations mean that they all to rarely come up against each other, making this a real treat.

Tonbridge look good this year, Fifteen Rugby saw them in action against Eton and they have some top players, not least Ben Earl. However Millfield have been mind blowing. They almost hit seventy against RGS High Wycombe, they beat Bryanston 40-0 on Saturday, they are cruising. That might be Tonbridge’s opening, it will not be easy though. This is one to watch though, a classic between two of the greats.

Wednesday

Wednesday is a huge day in the NatWest Cup, and even at this early stage there are some incredibly tough fixtures. Standing head and shoulders above the rest though is King’s Macclesfield v Stockport Grammar School, two sides who will both feel that they have the firepower to at least get to the last 16, yet on Wednesday one of them will go out, it will be fascinating.

John Fisher also begin their campaign, a fairly local game against Glyn.

Away from the Cup there is a fascinating fixture in Wales between Monmouth and Christ College, while Durham entertain Edinburgh Academy for another competitive looking Anglo-Scots clash.

There are also two belting Daily Mail Trophy games as Cranleigh travel to Portsmouth Grammar School, and St Joseph’s College make the long trek up to Lymm High School for their Trophy debut.

Once again though, the Schools Champions Trophy looks set to dominate. Two of the great Daily Mail Cup (as it was) sides will meet on Wednesday, Oakham and Bradford Grammar School. Bradford were the first truly dominant side in the now NatWest Cup, while Oakham were the first side to win the title back to back after the dominant Colston’s era, it will be fascinating to see them meet in a new tournament on Wednesday.

Another of the great Schools Cup sides are Barnard Castle, they to have left that competition though to join the Trophy and have long last 16 trip to Reading Blue Coat on Wednesday. Barnard Castle will be strong favourites but that journey will take some recovering from, which may just open the door.

Next up will be Eastbourne College and RGS Guildford, two sides who will be really looking to seize the chance of a quarter final spot having avoided any of the supercharged schools in this round. That should not sound like a lack of respect though, these are two good teams and their game on Wednesday ought to be a great spectacle.

Woodhouse Grove put on a good spectacle in the last round, scoring a last minute try to edge past Uppingham. They were dominant last year but have already lost twice this year and their last 16 tie against Eton will be very tricky, Eton look like a very good team this year. That said, a trip from Eton to West Yorkshire will mean that the advantage will start with the home side.

Tying things up in the Champions Trophy is a good tie between Eltham College and Marlborough College. Marlborough College are a very strong rugby school, and looked a good team against St Edward’s last week, which ought to make them favourites, however Eltham have been playing well recently and picked up a good win at the weekend, with home advantage, they’ll feel this is an opportunity to try to seize.

Thursday

Thursday is a quieter day but there are still some good fixtures. QEH and Castle School round of the midweek NatWest Cup action, while Kingswood and Prior Park are also in action.

Grabbing the headlines though will be Dilworth’s second game of the week on their tour, they are hosted by Bryanston, who will be looking to step up having underperformed so far this season.

Friday

Rounding off midweek, or kicking off the weekend if you see it that way, will be Beechen Cliff v Sheldon, an evening kick off that is sure to gather a strong crowd.

What fixtures stand out for you and do you agree with our predictions? Let us know via the comment box below or via @FifteenRugbyXV

Schools Rugby Midweek Fixtures (predictions in bold):

Monday

Hampton v Dilworth (N.Z) Staines RFC 19.00

Tuesday

Bedford v Grammar School at Leeds (Champions Trophy)

Bishop’s Stortford College v Haileybury

Colfe’s v Sir Joseph Williamson’s (NatWest Cup)

Eastbourne College v RGS Guildford (Champions Trophy)

Epsom College v Blundell’s (Champions Trophy)

Frome CC v Beechen Cliff (NatWest Cup)

Millfield v Tonbridge (Champions Trophy)

Pate’s Grammar School v Cheltenham College

St George’s Weybridge v George Abbott (NatWest Cup)

Weald v Seaford College

Wrekin v Stafford (NatWest Cup)

Wednesday

Bablake v King Edward VI 6th form College (NatWest Cup)

Birkdale v Ashville College

Bloxham v Royal Latin (NatWest Cup)

Durham v Edinburgh Academy

Eltham College v Marlborough College (Champions Trophy)

Glyn v John Fisher (NatWest Cup)

Hereford Cathedral v Tewkesbury (NatWest Cup)

Kent College v Maidstone Grammar (NatWest Cup)

King’s Macclesfield v Stockport Grammar School (NatWest Cup)

KES Stratford v Prince Henry’s (NatWest Cup)

Lymm High School v St Joseph’s College

Monmouth v Christ College

MTS Crosby v Cheadle Hulme (NatWest Cup)

Oakham v Bradford Grammar School (Champions Trophy)

Portsmouth Grammar School v Cranleigh

Reading Blue Coat v Barnard Castle (Champions Trophy)

Reigate Grammar School v Salesian (NatWest Cup)

Sandbach v Bishop Heber

Shrewsbury v JCB Academy (NatWest Cup)

St Ambrose College v Fallibroome (NatWest Cup)

St Bees v Austin Friars (NatWest Cup)

St Columba’s v Sir John Lawes (NatWest Cup)

Tiffin v Royal Alexandra & Albert

Wimbledon College v St Bede’s (NatWest Cup)

Woodhouse Grove v Eton College (Champions Trophy)

Yeovil College v Sexey’s (NatWest Cup)

Thursday

Kingswood v Prior Park 14.00

Bryanston v Dilworth (N.Z) 14.30

QEH v The Castle School (NatWest Cup)

Friday

Beechen Cliff v Sheldon 19.00

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