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Schools Rugby Weekend Preview & Predictions

This weekend sees a slightly reduced fixture list, with a few schools on a mid-term exeat, however there are still plenty of fascinating fixtures around the country.

With the Daily Mail Trophy nearing its conclusion, the final of the Champions Trophy taking place on Wednesday, and the NatWest Cup starting to bubble, the fixtures are getting more and more intense for everyone.

Daily Mail Trophy Prediction Competition

Our prediction competition fixtures turned out to be outstanding last week, and this week looks no less competitive.

Durham v Woodhouse Grove

 

Woodhouse Grove sunk the mighty Grammar School at Leeds last week, ending their unbeaten run and making it three wins in a row for last year’s Daily Mail Trophy champions following a below par first half of term.

This week they face Durham, last year’s NatWest Cup semi finalists. The North East side are not in that same vein of form this year though and have only won three games. Last week they drew against Yarm, who Woodhouse Grove beat the previous week.

All of which suggests that Woodhouse Grove are coming into form at just the right time and will be favourites on Saturday, however Durham are a proud rugby side and will not make it remotely easy for the visitors.

Prediction – Woodhouse Grove

 

Hampton v Dulwich College

 

Dulwich lost for the first time all season last week, to Whitgift, that could knock their confidence, but looking back over the course of the season they ought not to feel too much of a dent.

Hampton are in fine form though, they have won three of their four games since half term, only losing to the outstanding Wellington College, and even then only by two points.

It suggests that this should be a great game of rugby between two strong sides. Dulwich will just be favourites for it but with strong form and home advantage Hampton will be gunning for victory. The challenge for Dulwich is to make sure that they bounce back from that last gasp defeat to Whitgift in the right way.

Prediction – Dulwich College

 

John Fisher v Brighton College

 

John Fisher recovered from defeat to Dulwich a fortnight ago by beating Judd handsomely at the weekend and will be looking forward to having a chance to perform against another top side on Saturday.

Brighton are in decent form though, having lifted the Plate at the St Joseph’s Festival, they have since drawn with Eton, beaten Seaford, and run Epsom College extremely close, something that few others have been able to do.

It seems that Brighton are probably just about favourites but as everyone on the circuit knows, John Fisher are no pushovers and on their own patch they will prove a very tough nut to crack.

Prediction – Brighton College

 

Sedbergh v Warwick

 

This game looks set to be absolutely fascinating. Sedbergh suffered a surprise defeat to Kirkham Grammar School last weekend, just their second of the season, but it followed one of the great games of the season as they beat Wellington 37-34 in midweek last week.

Warwick meanwhile are unbeaten since September and, like Sedbergh, are showing themselves to be among the top teams in the country. There is no doubt though that this is their toughest test since half term.

Can Sedbergh bounce back after that surprise defeat? Having seen their resolve and quality through the rest of the season it seems likely that they can, but they would probably have liked a slightly less challenging opponent.

Prediction – Sedbergh

 

Whitgift v Millfield

 

Whitgift will be full of confidence after that late win over Dulwich last week, while Millfield are also in excellent form.

These are two heavyweights of schoolboy rugby and on form through the season you would put Millfield as slight favourites. However with a Champions Trophy final on Wednesday, ahead of which Grammar School at Leeds, their opponents, have postponed their game, will Millfield need to rest players?

If they do then that could open the door for Whitgift, who will already feel that they can mount a strong challenge anyway. That said, the depth of the St Joseph’s Festival champions’ squad is such that they could still come away with a win regardless.

It ought to be fascinating. Whitgift’s passionate home crowd plus a long away trip for Millfield might play a part as might the possibility of Millfield mixing up their team. However with plenty of players ineligible for Wednesday’s final due to the import rule, Millfield will be able to send out some real talent on Saturday without any fear of it impacting Wednesday.

It should be a cracker.

Prediction – Millfield, just.

 

Five Previews

There are some exciting matches elsewhere too as we build towards the end of the term. Campion v St Benedict’s ought to interest plenty. In the same fixture last year this was sandwiched between two of Campion’s best results of the season, victories over Hampton and St Joseph’s College. Unfortunately for them though this game against St Benedict’s in the middle was a 30-3 win for the Ealing based side. Given their form this season, it looks likely that St Benedict’s will win again. Prediction – St Benedict’s

 

Denstone College v Stamford at the start of the season looked like a mammoth occasion, with Stamford well tipped and Denstone also looking like one of the strongest around. Stamford’s season has gone even better than expected, unbeaten to date and with a loss at home in four years. Denstone have been good but their season has not yet hit the heights imagined. They will feel that they can stop Stamford, but it seems hard to see the Stamford bus stalling now. Prediction – Stamford.

 

Eton College v St Paul’s  – This one looks very interesting. Eton started the season with a bang, it has since slowed slightly but they remain a dangerous side, defeats have tended to come against exceptional sides. St Paul’s have had a very good season, losing just three times, and beating the likes of Harrow, Abingdon, and Marlborough, they will fancy their chances on Saturday but Eton are a tough side to beat. Prediction – Eton College, just.

 

QEGS Wakefield v Bradford Grammar School is a good Yorkshire derby game, QEGS have won one and lost one since half term after they reached the Plate final at the St Joseph’s Festival, while Bradford are two from two. They two sides are enjoying relatively similar seasons, and while home advantage ought to benefit QEGS, Bradford might just have slightly greater momentum. Prediction – Bradford Grammar School, just.

 

Whimslow High School v King’s Macclesfield is truly fascinating. In the NatWest Cup last week Wilmslow stunned King’s with a 29-26, a game that King’s would have been expecting to win. That victory ought to fill Wilmslow with confidence, but the sense is that King’s will be raging and fuelled by a desire to avenge that defeat and show their true quality. Both will have learned a lot from that game though and having won once, Wilmslow will see no reason why they cannot do so again. Prediction – King’s Macclesfield.

 

Overall it looks like being yet another excellent weekend of rugby, with some fascinating games right around the country.

Do you agree with our predictions for the weekend’s games? Let us know what you think via @FifteenRugbyXV or through the comment box below.

 

Schools Rugby Fixtures (predictions in bold):

Prediction Competition

Durham v Woodhouse Grove

Hampton v Dulwich College

John Fisher v Brighton College

Sedbergh v Warwick

Whitgift v Millfield

Five Previews

Campion v St Benedict’s

Denstone College v Stamford

Eton College v St Paul’s

QEGS Wakefield v Bradford GS

Wilmslow HS v King’s Macclesfield

Other Fixtures

Abingdon v RGS Guildford

Bedford Modern v St Albans

Bishop’s Stortford HS v Uppingham

Bloxham v Bishop Vesey’s

Bristol GS v Clifton College

Bryanston v Portsmouth GS

Caterham v Skinners’

Churcher’s v Seaford College

City of London Freemen’s v Reigate GS

Colston’s v Bromsgrove

Crypt GS v Sir Thomas Rich’s

Emanuel v Worth

Hereford Cathedral School v Colston’s

KCS Wimbledon v St John’s Leatherhead

KES Birmingham v Loughborough GS

King’s Canterbury v Tonbridge

King’s Worcester v Bablake

Kingswood v King’s College Taunton

Lymm HS v Wirral GS

Manchester GS v Altrincham GS

Mount St Mary’s v Kirkham GS

Pate’s GS v St Peter’s Gloucester

Reading Blue Coat v Reading School

RGS Colchester v Eltham College

RGS Newcastle v Dame Allan’s

Solihull v Nottingham HS

St George’s Weybridge v Hurstpierpoint College

St Joseph’s College v Royal Hospital School

Stockport GS v Bolton

The Perse v Norwich

Wellingborough v Princethorpe College

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