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Schools Champions Trophy last 16 exceeds all expectations

The last sixteen of the inaugural Schools Champions Trophy and the eight quarter finalists for Friday’s draw are now decided.

The round began on Tuesday with some titanic tussles between Bedford and Grammar School at Leeds and Millfield versus Tonbridge, as well as a slightly more straightforward tie from Epsom College, who beat Blundell’s 40-7.

Grammar School at Leeds came south with a point to prove, widely praised for their performances in the local area this season, a trip down to a good Bedford side was a chance for them to prove how good they are across the regions, and prove it they did with a 13-10 victory in what was by all accounts a pulsating match.

Fifteen Rugby travelled to Millfield to watch their game with Tonbridge (click here for the report from that game), a game which was streamed live by the RFU (you can watch a replay by clicking here).

It was truly one of the most brilliant and intense schools fixtures that we have seen, with Millfield coming from 14-0 down to win 16-14. It was a game that really highlighted what makes this competition special, top teams that ordinarily do not play each other being brought together to play in a serious competition, and both sides drew great praise from all onlookers.

Epsom College found things slightly easier against Blundell’s, winning 40-7 the day before we then named them as our School Team of the Month, strangely it was the two aforementioned winners that were their stiffest competition.

The remaining five games took place on Wednesday, with Fifteen Rugby travelling to Reading Blue Coat to watch them take on schoolboy legends Barnard Castle (you can see that report by clicking here).

Barnard Castle were the favourites but Reading Blue Coat stuck in well despite losing 42-0, a result that perhaps reflected a little harshly on the home side but showed the clinical ability of the away team.

RGS Guildford were similarly efficient in front of the whitewash, they beat Eastbourne College 41-0 to emphatically book their place in the last 8.

One of the most eye-catching ties of the round was Oakham v Bradford Grammar School. At one time or another each has been considered the best school side in the land and both are Schools Cup legends, making their meeting here in a different competition immediately compelling.

It was a tight affair, with Bradford taking the lead but Oakham coming back to win it 22-17, a timely return to good form for them as they edge into the quarters.

Another tight a tense affair was Eltham College v Marlborough College. On paper Marlborough should have been winning this, and indeed they did, 15-11, but not without first having a real shock. Eltham led for most of the game but Marlborough just did enough to take it by four points.

Rounding things off was a clash between last year’s Daily Mail Trophy champions Woodhouse Grove, and Eton College, perhaps the most well known school in the country. Eton were favourites but there was a lingering case to be made for Woodhouse Grove, first because they are a decent side, and second because the long journey had a chance of affecting Eton.

As it was there were no such worries for the away side, though Woodhouse did start well, Eton won 38-12 to emphatically book their quarter final place, and to seal their position as probably the 4th favourites for the title, although it is going to be very tight the whole way.

It is an interesting mix of sides in the final eight, there are some really prestigious schools both from a rugby and non rugby perspective, as well as a couple of less known quantities. There are also representatives from all four regions, which is a healthy sign for English schools rugby too.

It will be a fascinating draw on Friday morning, and we’ll be bringing it to you live.

Who do you think will win the Schools Champions Trophy? Let us know via @FifteenRugbyXV or via the comment box below.

Schools Champions Trophy last 16 results:

Tuesday

Bedford 10-13 Grammar School at Leeds

Epsom College 40-7 Blundell’s

Millfield 16-14 Tonbridge

Wednesday

Eastbourne College 0-41 RGS Guildford

Eltham College 11-15 Marlborough College

Oakham 22-17 Bradford Grammar School

Reading Blue Coat 0-42 Barnard Castle

Woodhouse Grove 12-38 Eton College

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