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Schools Rugby Weekend Previews & Predictions

After a long half term break, the first full weekend of the second half of term is almost upon us and it brings some of the most exciting games of the season.

With the Autumn Internationals also up and running, this period of games often runs the risk of falling down the pecking order, but with the fixtures on the card this weekend, there was never any danger of the happening.

Prediction Competition

We begin, as always, with our Daily Mail Trophy Prediction Competition fixtures, which is still open for entries, five fixtures that all look highly competitive.

Brighton College v Epsom College

 

Last year Brighton were the only side to deny Epsom victory, the two sides drew to spoil Epsom’s perfect record. This year Epsom have been equally good, while Brighton have shown glimpses of being able to rise to that standard again, and are high on confidence after winning the St Joseph’s Festival Plate just before half term.

Epsom will either be low or confidence or determined to set the record straight after the fell to a shock defeat to Oakham just before half term in the Champions Trophy quarter final, a competition they were one of the favourites to win.

You sense with Epsom though that it will definitely be the latter reaction, particularly with a few big name players back after injury, this will be a tough one for Brighton, but they will be up for it.

Prediction – Epsom College

 

Bromsgrove v Stowe

 

For our money this is the game of the weekend, two of the very best sides in the Midlands facing off in a match which will not only be important on the day but that will also probably have a psychological effect ahead of a potential match up later on in the NatWest Cup.

Both sides have been in superb form all term, and Bromsgrove are coming off the back of a 61-17 victory over Solihull in midweek, a side that Stowe were not quite at their best against earlier in the term.

Make no mistake though, Stowe are a top quality side though and will be many people’s favourites, for us, the momentum may just swing Bromsgrove’s way.

Prediction – Bromsgrove, by a whisker.

 

John Fisher v Dulwich College

 

Another very interesting game, Dulwich have been the more impressive side over the campaign to date, in full matches they have only failed to win once, against Wellington College where they secured a 13-13 draw.

John Fisher’s season has been a little more volatile, they have tended to slip to defeat when facing the very best sides. However at the St Joseph’s Festival they came within points difference of making the final. Most intriguingly ahead of this game, they did so by defeating Dulwich, after a touch and go call from the officials – giving this game real added spice.

Dulwich will be favourites but Fisher can beat anyone on their day and will be determined to prove that that St Jo’s victory was no fluke, Dulwich have motivation of their own though, they want to put the record straight in their eyes.

Prediction – Dulwich College

 

RGS High Wycombe v Whitgift

 

Last year this game really would have been one of the very biggest of the entire year, this year it is perhaps slightly less big, but not a lot, these are two top schools who will produce a brilliant game of rugby.

Whitgift are probably just favourites, they have lost just twice, to Wellington and Warwick, and have beaten the high flying Sedbergh. RGS started off the season with tough defeats to Wellington and Millfield, but have since only lost to Warwick, suggesting that these two are incredibly well matched.

RGS will feel that home advantage should give them the favourites tag, but we just fancy Whitgift to nick it.

Prediction – Whitgift, just.

 

Stamford v Oakham

 

A big local derby to round off the prediction competition fixtures. Stamford are unbeaten this season and have not lost at home for three and a half years now, suggesting that Oakham’s task on Saturday is nigh on impossible.

However Oakham have proven themselves capable of battling against the odds this season, as their victory over Epsom College (themselves unbeaten in over a year) in the Champions Trophy semi finals showed.

Oakham’s season ahs been steadily building after a rocky start, and with a Champions Trophy semi final away at Millfield next week, they will be determined to keep the momentum up on Saturday. Unfortunately for them, Stamford may not be the side to do that against.

Prediction – Stamford

 

Previews

Elsewhere there are plenty of other big fixtures that warrant a mention as the second half of term picks up momentum, and one term schools start to see the finish line ahead.

Bedford v Warwick will rival Bromsgrove v Stowe for column inches in the Midlands. Both sides are top quality outfits, home advantage will play in Bedford’s favour and a dry day would really suit them, Warwick are among the best in the business though and will definitely fancy themselves, with winter closing, this is their time. Prediction – Warwick

 

Hampton v Wellington College. When you consider the horrific injury record of Hampton this season, it is almost a miracle that they have been as competitive as they are, unfortunately though they are still short of two of their very best players. Wellington College are not a side to turn up short of your best against, indeed they might well be the best team in the country, their defeat of Millfield was one of the most extraordinary performances of the year. They will take some stopping. Prediction – Wellington College

 

Uppingham v Oundle is one of the biggest derby games around and fixtures between these two are always emotional and highly charged occasions. Oundle are a fine side this season and picked up a good victory last weekend against Radley. Things have been less smooth for Uppingham though, and they have picked up some fairly heavy defeats that will have knocked the confidence. A baying crowd on the Leicester will not worry about that though. Prediction – Oundle.

 

Radley College v Marlborough College. It has not been a vintage season for these two after some really impressive results over the past couple of years, however both a capable of some very impressive results, as Marlborough’s run to the Champions Trophy semi finals showed.  That run, coupled with Radley’s lack of victories this term makes Marlborough favourites. Prediction – Marlborough College.

 

St Edward’s Oxford v Cheltenham College. As with the game above, this has not been a vintage year for these two, however both have picked up a fair few wins and have put in some impressive displays. Teddies may fancy that home advantage will swing the favour their way, however with three victories in a row ahead of half term, momentum is with Cheltenham College right now and they might well capitalise on Saturday. Prediction – Cheltenham College.

 

Around the grounds

There are plenty of other big games around the country too, with some big cross border clashes really grabbing the headlines. Millfield v Llandovery College is always a top game and one of the biggest of the season, while Merchiston Castle are in such fine form that Durham’s trip across the border looks like being one of the biggest challneges of the weekend.

Tonbridge v Harrow is a game that could become a classic if Harrow’s form can match their potential, while Bryanston v Sherborne ought to be a huge game, however given Bryanston’s form Sherborne will be favourites.

Sedbergh will expect yet another victory when they meet RGS Lancaster, as will Grammar School at Leeds, who face Crossley Heath.

Do you agree with our predictions? Let us know yours via @FifteenRugbyXV or drop a comment in the comment box below. Don’t forget to send in your reports, videos, and photos to promotions@fifteenrugby.com or to our social media channels over the weekend.

Schools Rugby Fixtures – 8th November (predictions in bold):

Prediction Competition Fixtures:

Brighton College v Epsom College

Bromsgrove v Stowe

John Fisher v Dulwich College

RGS High Wycombe v Whitgift

Stamford v Oakham

Previewed Fixtures:

Bedford v Warwick

Hampton v Wellington College

Uppingham v Oundle

Radley College v Marlborough College

St Edward’s Oxford v Cheltenham College

Other Fixtures:

Austin Friars v RGS Newcastle

Aylesbury v Northampton School for Boys

Bedford Modern v Bishop’s Stortford College (NatWest Cup)

Bryanston v Sherborne

Campion v Bishop’s Stortford High School

Caterham v Lord Wandsworth

Clifton College v Blundell’s

Downside v King’s Bruton

Eastbourne College v King’s Canterbury

Eltham College v Dartford GS

Eton College v Abingdon

Grammar School at Leeds v Crossley Heath

Hurstpierpoint v Reigate GS

Hymers College v Ampleforth College

King’s College Taunton v Canford

King’s Macclesfield v Nottingham HS
Loughborough GS v QEGS Wakefield

Lymm High v MTS Crosby

Malvern College v Denstone College

Manchester Grammar v Kirkham Grammar

Merchiston Castle v Durham

Millfield v Llandovery College

Monmouth v Colston’s

Old Swinford Hospital v KES Birmingham

Oratory v St Benedict’s

Plymouth College v Truro School

Pocklington v Bradford GS

Princethorpe v John Cleveland

QEH v Bristol GS

Ratcliffe v Wisbech GS

RGS Guildford v Cranleigh

RGS Lancaster v Sedbergh

Royal Hospital School v Gresham’s

Richard Hale v St Columba’s (NatWest Cup)

Seaford College v Reed’s

Sir Thomas Rich’s v Pate’s GS

Skinners’ v Cranbrook

Solihull v Ellesmere College

St Ambrose College v Wirral GS

St George’s, Weybridge v Tiffin

St John’s Leatherhead v Haileybury

St Joseph’s College v Felsted (NatWest Cup)

St Paul’s v KCS Wimbledon

St Peter’s, York v Barnard Castle

Sutton Valence v Worth

Tonbridge v Harrow

Trinity v London Oratory

UCS v Shiplake College

Wilmslow High v Queen Ethelburga’s

Woodhouse Grove v Yarm

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