Champions Trophy Quarter Final Previews

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Coach Logic

This week sees the four Champions Trophy quarter finals take place, with the games spread across Wednesday and Thursday, and Oakham’s tie with Epsom College being broadcast live by the RFU.

Each of the four games has something about it that captures the imagination, and at this stage of the competition, it seems a near certainty that each will be a top class game.

Barnard Castle v Marlborough College

The first quarter final takes place at 13.30 on Wednesday at Barnard Castle. The home side took something of a risk in joining the new competition, they are Schools Cup legends, but their decision has been vindicated with their performances so far.

They have scored ninety-one points in two games, beating RGS Lancaster 49-14 in the opening round and Reading Blue Coat 42-0 in the last 16. It could be said that they are yet to be truly tested but they have been pretty impressive either way.

Marlborough, by contrast, have been tested. They had to really fight away at Eltham College in the last round for their 15-11 victory, while their 17-5 first round victory over King’s Taunton was no walk in the park either, it was certainly highly impressive though.

They are travelling up as we write, trying to negate any tiredness from the journey ahead of tomorrow’s game. It should be a real battle, and the atmosphere will be fizzing among the loyal Barnard Castle supporters.

Route to the Quarters:

 

Barnard Castle – Round 1, beat RGS Lancaster 49-14. Round 2, beat Reading Blue Coat 42-0.

 

Marlborough College – Round 1, beat King’s College Taunton 17-5. Round 2, beat Eltham College 15-11.

Prediction – Barnard Castle, by a whisker.

 

Millfield v Eton College

Kicking off at 14.30 at Millfield School’s Gareth Edwards pitch, this has quite a romantic feel about it, probably the most prestigious school in the country against probably the most prestigious schools rugby team in the country, two sides that almost never meet. It sets quite a scene.

Millfield’s competition began with a bye before what can only be described as an epic last 16 encounter with Tonbridge. The game was broadcast live by the RFU and turned out to be one of the great school games.

Millfield came from 14-0 down to win 16-14, but it was the passion and intensity that really struck. If tomorrow is anything like that, we have a treat in store.

Eton College began with a good 56-12 victory over Haileybury, setting them up for a tough away trip to West Yorkshire to play Daily Mail Trophy Champions Woodhosue Grove. Eton came away from that with an impressive 38-12 victory and a very much enhanced reputation.

In the last week both sides have, interestingly, faced Wellington College. Both have lost, but for Eton having watched Millfield face Wellington before then facing them themselves, they may have learned a few lessons and gained a few tricks.

Millfield are bang up for this though and will have their strongest possible squad out as they hunt down some silverware. It should be a top game.

Route to the Quarters:

Millfield – Round 1, Bye. Round 2, beat Tonbridge 16-14.

 

Eton College – Round 1, beat Haileybury 56-12. Round 2, beat Woodhouse Grove 38-12.

 

Prediction – Millfield

 

Oakham v Epsom College

Hosted at Oakham’s Doncaster Close 1st XV pitch, this game will be broadcast live at www.englandrugby.com and kicks off at 14.45 on Thursday. Like Barnard Castle, Oakham have made something of a shift in switching to this competition, having been serial winners in the Schools Cup.

Epsom College by contrast had not entered the Schools Cup previously and this is their first real shot at fifteen-a-side knockout silverware at senior level, and after an unbeaten season last year and an unbeaten start to this, they are looking like serious challengers.

Oakham will be determined to stop them though, and having defeated another legendary Schools Cup side, Bradford Grammar School, 22-17 in the last round after a first round bye, they will be full of confidence.

They will draw a huge crowd to support them, making life as tough as possible for Epsom but Epsom will be confident having won 86-0 at the weekend. Their opening two games in this competition have been impressive too. They beat Bishop’s Stortford High School 48-0 first, before hitting forty again against Blundell’s last time, winning 40-7.

It will be a tough outing for Oakham, and Epsom are going to come out hard, but do not count your chickens to early with these Cup legends.

Route to the Quarters:

 

Oakham – Round 1, Bye. Round 2, beat Bradford Grammar School 22-17.

 

Epsom College – Round 1, beat Bishop’s Stortford High School 48-0. Round 2, beat Blundell’s 40-7.

 

Prediction – Epsom College

 

RGS Guildford v Grammar School at Leeds

This one takes place at a neutral venue at 15.00 on Thursday, and should prove fascinating. Grammar School at Leeds have been making big waves in the North and their progress in this competition is seen as one of the key tests for them. RGS Guildford are one of the surprise packages but have been preforming very well.

RGS have been packing in the fixtures, playing eight already this season, winning half of those. Their Champions Trophy progress has been high scoring and impressive. They began with a good 37-25 win over Cranbrook before a 41-0 thumping of Eastbourne College in the last 16.

Grammar School at Leeds have also packed the fixtures in, like RGS they have played eight, unlike them though, they have won all 8. Progress in this competition has been a little tougher than RGS’, but their opposition has been incredibly good. They began with a highly impressive 31-8 victory over Schools Rugby giants RGS Newcastle, before in the second round doing exactly what they had been desperate to do – coming South and winning. They did so by beating the excellent Bedford School side 13-10 to progress to the quarters.

GSAL must again win in the south to progress but they will be the favourties to do so. RGS will be pushing hard to overcome the underdogs tag though and to seal a semi final spot that would be highly impressive.

Route to the Quarters:

 

RGS Guildford – Round 1, beat Cranbrook 37-25. Round 2, beat Eastbourne College 41-0.

 

Grammar School at Leeds – Round 1, beat RGS Newcastle 31-8. Round 2, beat Bedford 13-10.

 

Prediction – Grammar School at Leeds.

Champions Trophy Quarter Finals:

Wednesday

Barnard Castle v Marlborough College – 13.30

Millfield v Eton College – 14.30

Thursday

Oakham v Epsom College – 14.45 LIVE www.englandrugby.com

RGS Guildford v Grammar School at Leeds – 15.00

Do you agree with our Champions Trophy Predictions? Who will win the new competition? Let us know what you think via @FifteenRugbyXV or via the comment box below.

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