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Teams braced ahead of Champions Trophy semi final draw

The Schools Champions Trophy semi final draw takes place at 13.15 tomorrow at Twickenham Stadium.

To date the new competition has been an outstanding success, drawing huge interest from around the country, and not just from those schools competing.

Beginning with thirty-two teams back in the second week in September, the competition has been whittled down to just four remaining teams, with their semi finals likely to take place between Tuesday 11th November and Thursday 13th November ahead of the final at Saracens’ Allianz Park on Wednesday 26th November.

The four remaining teams are Barnard Castle, Grammar School at Leeds, Oakham, and Millfield who are fresh from victory at the St Joseph’s Festival and will be keen to add another trophy to their haul.

Barnard Castle, somewhat bizarrely, have never picked up a major National Schools U18 fifteen-a-side trophy, however they have reached three Schools Cup finals and several semi finals and will be eager to reach another final and have a chance at claiming that first big trophy.

Having eased through the first round before a tough quarter final against Marlborough College, where they won 12-11, Barnard Castle have shown both the ability to attack and to defend well so far in this competition.

Grammar School at Leeds, like Barnard Castle, are yet to lift a major National U18 honour, however this current crop of players won the U15 NatWest Schools Cup and are unbeaten this season. Winning is now a cultural thing for this group and having beaten RGS Newcastle at home in the opening round before two long away trips against Bedford and RGS Guildford, their confidence will be sky high, and on form they will fancy themselves to reach the final.

Millfield are one of the most prestigious names in schoolboy rugby. They won the St Joseph’s National Schools Festival this weekend, their sixth triumph in that competition.

They have never won a term long competition though, so this Champions Trophy represents a huge opportunity for the Somerset school, and having beaten top class opposition in Tonbridge and Eton College following an opening round bye, they have earned the tag of favourites heading into the semi final draw.

Oakham are the only one of the four to have ever won the NatWest Schools Cup. They won twice in a row back in 2002 and 2003, and reached the final again as recently as 2011, they are a legendary name in schools rugby.

This season had started as a bit of a struggle, but after beating one of the favourites, Epsom College, 17-15 in the last round, and school legends Bradford Grammar School 22-17 in the last 16, Oakham are riding on the crest of the wave and will be eager to mount a challenge for a final place, whoever their semi final opponent.

For now though it is a waiting game for the four remaining sides, Fifteen Rugby will bring you the draw live from Twickenham Stadium at 13.15 tomorrow afternoon.

Whatever order the names come out of the pot, we are going to have two cracking games of rugby to look forward to in a few weeks time.

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

Champions Trophy Routes to the Semis

 

Barnard Castle

Grammar School at Leeds

Millfield

Oakham

Last 32

49-14 v RGS Lancaster

31-8 v RGS Newcastle

Bye

Bye

Last 16

42-0 v Reading Blue Coat

13-10 v Bedford

16-14 v Tonbridge

22-17 v Bradford GS

QF

12-11 v Marlborough College

24-15 v RGS Guildford

29-17 v Eton College

17-15 v Epsom College

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