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Schools Rugby Weekend Preview & Predictions – Saturday 4th October

Following a packed midweek schedule, the weekend is almost upon us with another exciting batch of fixtures.

For many sides it will be their third game in eight days, possibly bringing tiredness into the equation, while for others it is a first for a couple of weeks after many had an exeat weekend last weekend.

Prediction Competition

As always, we begin by previewing our five Daily Mail Trophy prediction competition fixtures, which you can still enter for via this link – Daily Mail Trophy Prediction Competition.

All five games look like they could go either way, which is perhaps reflected by the fact that we have gone for home wins in all 5, perhaps a small margin such as location could make the difference.

RGS High Wycombe v Hampton

 

This ought to be a very interesting game, two schools that have been very strong in recent years and have played out some enormous fixtures, including the NatWest Cup quarter final last year.

Hampton are shorn of a lot of players through injury at the moment, yet against New Zealand based Dilworth on Monday that did not hurt them too much. Their defence was impeccable and the team are definitely a tough nut to crack. (You can see that report here – Hampton v Dilworth).

RGS have had a topsy turvy old season, some good results such as victory over Sir Thomas Rich’s and John Fisher, even a narrow defeat to Wellington College was impressive enough, but then there was that thumping from Millfield. The sense is though that that defeat has driven them on somewhat and we just make them favourites on Saturday, just.

Prediction – RGS High Wycombe, just.

 

King’s Macclesfield v Woodhouse Grove

 

The world is not as it was last year for Woodhouse Grove. One loss all season has been replaced by three losses in six this year, albeit against some tough opposition.

For King’s it has been a near perfect season so far, played five, won four, drawn one – vs Lymm, and in their first three games they conceded only 7 points in total.

That ought to make them favourites but Woodhouse Grove have faced sterner test so could possibly be more battle hardened, it remains to be seen.

Prediction – King’s Macclesfield

 

Stowe v Oundle

 

A real cracker in the midlands this one, Stowe are looking very, very strong this season, only a loss away at Stamford has blotted their copybook so far, and from 1 to 15 they look ready and able to play with the ball in hand.

Oundle are impressive too by the looks of things, yes they have lost twice but one of those was away at Stamford where, like Stowe, they discovered that that home record is going to take something incredible special to break.

This game ought to be a really top quality affair, Stowe are probably just favourites and with home advantage that should translate to a win, but do not write off Oundle, they are a good team who will have no doubt in their minds at all that they can return with a win.

Prediction – Stowe

 

Tonbridge v Radley College

 

Tonbridge have won three from five so far, but those stats lie. The two sides they have lost to are Millfield and Epsom College, two of the very best teams in the country and Tonbridge have pushed them hard. We were at their game against Millfield on Tuesday(report – Millfield v Tonbridge) and it was one of the best school games we have witnessed.

Radley have lost two of their three games but are always a strong side and have a good record against Tonbridge. They pushed Eton College hard, and Eton also gave Tonbridge a good game, suggesting that they can cause Tonbridge some problems.

Tonbridge are favourites though, perhaps their greatest fear might be a bit of emotional burn out following Tuesday’s defeat. It was an intense and emotionally draining game, and to lose it by just two points will have been devastating for the players. They will need to pick themselves up, if they do, they should win.

Prediction – Tonbridge

 

Warwick v Whitgift

 

Warwick are a team that many are tipping for good things this season, having performed so well in the NatWest Cup at both senior, and crucially U15 levels in recent years.

However they have lost two of their opening three games. Like Tonbridge though, the statistics are somewhat misleading. They have lost to Millfield and Stowe, two of the best around, and they have beaten Bromsgrove, who have conquered some big names this season – that is probably a truer reflection of their standing. How they fare on Saturday will be very interesting then – it ought to signal how accurate the pre-season assumptions were.

Whitgift are clearly a good team, they have beaten Sedbergh and pushed Wellington College hard. Yet they struggled to command against Bishop’s Wordsworth and Skinners’ (though they did win both games). It will be crucial that they perform to their Sedbergh/Wellington standards against Warwick, if they do, they could win.

Prediction – Warwick, by a whisker.

 

Five to Watch

Brighton College v Dulwich College

 

Two good teams, both unbeaten, and both with excellent recent records.

Brighton have beaten Cranleigh, no mean feat at all, as well as Hurstpierpoint and St John’s Leatherhead, while their game against Reed’s had to be called off.

Dulwich meanwhile have beaten Trinity, KCS Wimbledon, and Campion, while a draw against Wellington College was also highly creditable.

Results wise then the two are fairly even, however Dulwich’s fixtures look to have been slightly tougher this year so we are just predicting them to edge this one.

Prediction – Dulwich College

 

Grammar School at Leeds v RGS Newcastle

 

These two have already met in the new Schools Champions Trophy, where GSAL won 31-8. It would be a surprise to see any change in the result this weekend. GSAL are a top quality side, and proved as much my beating Bedford on Tuesday in the last 16 of the Champions Trophy.

RGS are very good though as the rest of their results this season show, and having lost once to GSAL, they will be determined to right that wrong and put them under real pressure on Saturday. Expect a big performance and an excellent game.

Prediction – Grammar School at Leeds

 

Marlborough College v Sherborne

 

Marlborough are having a decent season, they have played five, won three, lost two, and are in the Champions Trophy quarter finals. Furthermore, their defeats came to Wellington College and Monmouth, two sides who are in superb form this year.

Sherborne are enjoying a good season too, and are back in form after a bit of a sluggish season last year by their own lofty standards. They have beaten Blundell’s, Bishop’s Wordsworth, and Radley College, and are yet to conceded more than a solitary converted try in any match.

This will be a different test though, Marlborough will probably be their toughest opponents to date, bar perhaps Radley, so a tight scoreline is expected, it could swing either way.

Prediction – Sherborne, just.

 

Oakham v Bedford

 

Following a great start to the season with a commanding victory over Loughborough Grammar, Oakham suffered a blip, shipping 82 points in total against Craighouse and Stowe, without scoring a single point of their own.

Since then they have had a recovery though and had a strong win over Haileybury and also beat Bradford Grammar in the Champions Trophy, to beat Bedford though, they will need to step up another level again.

Bedford have had a mixed year, playing six, winning three, and losing three, but it is who those defeats are too, and how close they are that proves that the stats are misleading. Oundle, Grammar School at Leeds, and Stamford are the sides to beat them, all of whom are formidable. Harrow, QEGS Wakefield, and a stunning 51-0 victory against Uppingham have been their positive results.

Oakham will have their work cut out, Bedford are a top team, but those defeats show that there are areas that Oakham can exploit. Bedford will be favourites, but Oakham have a decent chance.

Prediction – Oakham

 

Sedbergh v Ampleforth College

 

Sedbergh are yet to lose since the opening weekend two point loss to Whitgift, picking up four wins since, including scoring 78 against Wilmslow High School.

They are favourites against Ampleforth but this is a fixture that historically has always been a big one and that Ampleforth will want to make as difficult as possible for Sedbergh. Three losses on the trot suggests that it will be tough though.

Prediction – Sedbergh

 

Ones to Watch

There are a number of other fixtures worth keeping an eye on, St Edward’s Oxford v Clifton College looks like one that will be worth keeping an eye on, as does Rugby v Uppingham, two sides looking to make a statement.

RGS Lancaster v Kirkham Grammar will be a big game, it will be held at Flyde RFC ahead of their National 1 League game. RGS Guildford and Epsom College both meet having qualified for the Champions Trophy quarters, on Friday we will find out if this could even end up being a quarter final in its own right.

Bromsgrove v Solihull ought to be a good local derby, while Hymers will be looking to extend their unbeaten run against a struggling Durham side.

Another interesting game will be Bedford Modern v Stamford. Both are having stunning seasons, but this will be Stamford’s first game on the road, will leaving their home fortress be a challenge? They should be favourites, but it will be interesting.

Do you agree with our predictions? Which teams will you be looking out for this weekend? Let us know via @FifteenRugbyXV or comment at the foot of the page.

 

As ever, if you have any match reports, photos, videos, or any other content – please feel free to send it in to promotions@fifteenrugby.com – we are always looking for contributers!

Schools Rugby Fixtures 4/10/14 (predictions in bold):

Daily Mail Trophy Prediction Competition Fixtures:

RGS High Wycombe v Hampton

King’s Macclesfield v Woodhouse Grove

Stowe v Oundle

Tonbridge v Radley College

Warwick v Whitgift

Five Previewed Fixtures:

Brighton College v Dulwich College

Grammar School at Leeds v RGS Newcastle

Marlborough College v Sherborne

Oakham v Bedford

Sedbergh v Ampleforth College

Other Fixtures:

Abingdon v St Paul’s

Ashville v Giggleswick

Austin Friars v Merchiston Castle

Aylesbury GS v Reading Blue Coat

Bedford Modern v Stamford

Bradford GS v Nottingham HS

Bristol GS v RGS Worcester

Bromsgrove v Solihull

Campion v QES Barnet

Christ’s Hospital v Eastbourne College

City of London Freemen’s v Caterham

Colston’s v King’s College Taunton

DoY RMS v King’s Canterbury

Haileybury v St Albans

Hymers College v Durham

John Fisher v Ravens Wood

KCS Wimbledon v Eton College

Leicester GS v Bablake

London Oratory v Wimbledon College

Lord Wandsworth College v Churcher’s

Loughborough GS v Adams GS

Malvern College v Cheltenham College

Millfield v Cowbridge Comprehensive

Mill Hill v Pangbourne College

Monmouth v King’s Worcester

Northampton School for Boys v St Joseph’s College

Oratory v Reed’s

Pocklington v Barnard Castle

QEGS Wakefield v St Peter’s, York

Ratcliffe College v Mount St Mary’s

Reigate GS v Worth

RGS Guildford v Epsom College

RGS Lancaster v Kirkham GS

Rugby v Uppingham

Sevenoaks v Eltham College

Shiplake v Bloxham

Sir Thomas Rich’s v Kingswood

Skinners’ v Cranleigh

St Benedict’s v Tiffin

St Edward’s Oxford v Clifton College

St John’s Leatherhead v Hurstpierpoint

Trent College v Old Swinford Hospital

Trinity v New Hall

Wellington College v Harrow

Wilmslow High v Lymm High

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