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Champions Trophy semi finals decided

The Schools Champions Trophy semi final was made at Twickenham Stadium today by former British and Irish Lions, England, Wasps, Newcastle, and Barnard Castle fly half, Rob Andrew.

With his former school, Barnard Castle, in the pot after that dramatic game against Marlborough, he would have been feeling the tension as much as anyone.

The thinking ahead of the draw was that there could be some monumental away trips, particularly with the possibility of Barnard Castle and Millfield drawing each other, there is barely a longer journey in England!

It was Grammar School at Leeds who came out first though, finally back at home after successive away ties against Bedford and RGS Guildford.

Next up it was Andrew’s team, Barnard Castle. Drawn away against Grammar School at Leeds, which as away ties went was as good as they could have hoped for.

That left Millfield and Oakham in the hat, a fantastic tie between two prestigious rugby schools, but who would have the home advantage? Would it be Millfield on their famous Gareth Edwards turf or Oakham at Doncaster Close?

It was to be Millfield, their third home tie in a row, while Oakham can expect a noisy and enthusiastic Jubilee stand to be making noise all afternoon long.

At this stage though, in all honesty, home or away should not make too much of a difference, these are all top teams and with the carrot of a place in the final at Allianz Park on the 26th November dangling in front of them, they will all be giving more than ever in the pursuit of victory.

The semi finals are set to take place between Tuesday 11th November and Thursday 13th, with the RFU set to work out the possibility of streaming one of the games, as previously, over the coming days. Given that Millfield and Oakham have both already been streamed it would appear likely that Grammar School at Leeds v Barnard Castle will be the option, but that remains to be seen.

In terms of Cup form all four are on a relatively even keel, each has had their close run games, but each have come through. Outside of the Cup though you would say that Millfield and Grammar School at Leeds stand out. Millfield have just won the St Joseph’s Festival, arguably the toughest test in school rugby, while GSAL have won every game this season.

Barnard Castle have been in fine form though, only dropping games to the very strongest sides in the region, such as Sedbergh, and given the points Sedbergh have put on some top quality teams this year, just keeping them in check is the sign of a good side.

Oakham meanwhile had a slow start to the year but have been flying recently, and that 17-15 victory over Epsom College in the quarter finals should steer everyone away from writing them off, nobody has beaten that side for nearly two years.

In truth though, this is Cup semi final rugby, there is a place in a final at stake and any form is close to irrelevant. It is all about who performs on the day, who handles the pressure best, and who wants that place at Allianz Park the most.

One thing is for sure, with four great schools in the semi finals, the remaining three games in this excellent new competition are going to make for compulsive viewing.

Schools Champions Trophy Semi Finals:

Grammar School at Leeds v Barnard Castle

Millfield v Oakham

Final – Allianz Park, Wednesday 26th November

Who do you think will win the Champions Trophy, and what do you think of the semi final draw? Let us know via @FifteenRugbyXV or through the comment box below.

Champions Trophy Routes to the Semis

 

Grammar School at Leeds

Barnard Castle

Millfield

Oakham

Last 32

31-8 v RGS Newcastle

49-14 v RGS Lancaster

Bye

Bye

Last 16

13-10 v Bedford

42-0 v Reading Blue Coat

16-14 v Tonbridge

22-17 v Bradford GS

QF

24-15 v RGS Guildford

12-11 v Marlborough College

29-17 v Eton College

17-15 v Epsom College

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