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Schools Rugby Weekend Preview & Predictions – Final weekend for many

It has been a brilliant term of schools rugby, there have been some truly outstanding teams and some wonderful games of rugby.

This weekend marks the last weekend of the season for many teams, and as such is the last time that many players will ever represent their School 1st XV. That often makes for an even greater level of competition as players drive and determination to finish their school careers on a high, so this weekend out to be one of the most spectacular of the season.

Daily Mail Trophy Prediction Competition

As ever we begin our preview with our Prediction Competition, which you can still enter here: Daily Mail Trophy Prediction Competition.

Brighton College v Hampton

This game ought to be a great contest, Brighton College have had a very even season, winning five, losing five, and drawing one. This is there last game of the term and will therefore define whether it was a winning term or a losing term, and coming off the back of a 71-0 win over Eastbourne College, they will be full of confidence about making it the former.

Hampton are full of confidence themselves though, they have won six out of seven games since half term, including their last five in a row, the only defeat was by just two points, to Wellington College. It seems that their injury crisis of the first half of term is well and truly behind them and they are getting the chance to show just how good they are.

Prediction – Hampton

 

Clifton College v Cheltenham College

Defeat to Sherborne last week was Clifton’s first loss since Kingswood back at the end of September, the South West side have been playing brilliantly well, beating the likes of St Edward’s Oxford, Marlborough College, and Bristol Grammar School, and they will be looking to end the term with yet another win following that Sherborne defeat.

Cheltenham too have been in good form, they had won four in a row before two defeats in two weeks leaves them looking for a win this weekend to make sure that the season ends on a high. It will not be easy though, one of those defeats was to Marlborough, who Clifton beat, suggesting that the hosts may just have the edge. Except a close and well fought contest though, Cheltenham have more than enough to win.

Prediction – Clifton, just.

 

Dulwich College v Epsom College

This could quite possibly be the game of the weekend. Dulwich College had been unbeaten until a few weeks ago when they lost on successive weekend’s, first a heartbreaking last gasp defeat to Whitgift, followed by defeat to Hampton. Since then though they have bounced back displaying excellent tactical acumen to beat both Tonbridge and John Fisher, progressing to the 6th round of the NatWest Cup.

Epsom too had been unbeaten for a long time, over a year in fact, before an injury plagued defeat to Oakham just before half term halted that streak. They bounced back with a win over Brighton College but came unstuck again the following weekend against Wellington College, a side whom Dulwich have drawn against. Last week though Epsom were right back on track again though, beating St John’s Leatherhead 45-3 to set them up perfectly for this final game of the season, and the schools rugby careers of many of their players.

It ought to be incredibly tight, fatigue following a midweek game could hurt Dulwich, who with another game to play next week may not quite be so desperate for victory as Epsom, for whom this is the final fifteen a side fixture of the season. This is going to be a very, very good game of rugby.

Prediction – Epsom College, in an incredibly tight game.

 

Tonbridge v Wellington College

It has been something of a topsy-turvy season for Tonbridge, they are more than capable of beating any side on their day, as they first half performance against Millfield showed, yet they have ended up losing five games to date.

They were on a three game unbeaten run since half term last week until defeat to Dulwich College ended that run, a game against Wellington College is not necessarily what you would pick to bounce back with, but against one of the top few teams in the country in their last ever fifteen-a-side game of their school for many, you can bet that Tonbridge will be more than ready for this.

As will Wellington College though, they have lost just once all season, that 37-34 classic to Sedbergh, and since then have been unstoppable, beating Epsom, Cranleigh, and St Paul’s by increasingly dominant margins. Like Tonbridge, this is their final game of the season and with the Daily Mail Trophy heading their way if they secure a bonus point win, by our maths at least, you can be certain that Wellington College are going to be fired up for this one as much as any game this season.

Prediction – Wellington College.

 

Woodhouse Grove v Hymers College

A poor start to the season had left the 2013 Daily Mail Trophy Champions looking like a shadow of last year’s side, however four wins in a row, including taking Grammar School at Leeds’ unbeaten run, had really injected a sense of confidence into the side. That was punctured last week by Kirkham Grammar School, but the Yorkshire side still ought to be confident ahead of this clash against Hymers College, after all Kirkham have beaten everyone they have crossed this year.

For Hymers though there is no ‘ought to be’ about their sense of confidence, they are brimming with confidence. The Hull side are unbeaten in their last eleven games, and have only lost once all season, to Barnard Castle. It has been a tremendous season for them and with just a couple of games left this term they will be absolutely determined to make sure that they go into the Christmas holiday’s feeling as positive as they deserve to after such a term.

Prediction – Hymers College

 

Five Previews

Abingdon v Marlborough College

It has been a fantastic season for Abingdon and they will be in no mood to let up now, since half term they had been unbeaten before that was punctured against Bedford last week, so they will be determined to get back on track this weekend to see off the season with another win. Marlborough will not make it easy, but with just four wins to their name this season they are going to be up against it, like everyone else though, the end of the season brings that extra bit of motivation.

Prediction – Abingdon

 

Llandovery College v Sedbergh

So far in their games against English opposition, Llandovery are yet to win, losing to both Plymouth College and Millfield. Sedbergh are coming off the back of an excellent victory over Millfield in midweek and have lost just twice all season. The Cumbrian side will fancy their chances of victory but the long away trip is a hurdle that they will have to overcome.

Prediction – Sedbergh

 

QEGS Wakefield v RGS Newcastle

RGS were on a four game unbeaten run before a last minute defeat to Bradford Grammar School last weekend. All in all it has been a decent term for the north eastern side, but they will want to finish up on a high in the last week of term. QEGS will provide stiff opposition though, theirs has been an up and down season, but it is one that has seen victories over the likes of St Peter’s York and a great win last weekend against Bristol Grammar School. It should be a good game.

Prediction – RGS Newcstle

 

Rugby v Oundle

Rugby’s season has not been their best in recent memory, while Oundle have been excellent this season, particularly in this second half of term, where they have won five games in a row and also progressed to the 6th round of the NatWest Cup. They will be favourites, but any trip to William Webb Ellis’ old school brings a certain pressure and Rugby will be determined to make sure that their last two games of the season bring a decent reward.

Prediction – Oundle

 

Stowe v Bedford

Stowe’s season has been truly magnificent, they have lost just three times and have beaten some of the very best teams in the business. Unfortunately for them that third defeat of the season came on Wednesday against Monmouth and saw them get knocked out of the NatWest Cup, leaving Bedford, a good team themselves, with a real opening this weekend. Bedford are on a three game winning streak and will be determined to make it four on Saturday. Stowe ought to have the edge, but it should be one of the games of the weekend.

Prediction – Stowe

 

Around the grounds

There are plenty of other exciting fixtures taking place around the country, and with this being the final game for so many, each has an even greater level of excitement attached than usual.

One that has caught our eye is St Benedict’s v John Fisher. These are two well matched teams, and with St Benedict’s enjoying a big win last time out, while John Fisher suffered a midweek defeat to Dulwich, the contrasting emotions in both camps ought to make for an even more spectacular game. With home advantage though, we just fancy St Benedict’s to edge it.

Kirkham Grammar School look to continue their unbeaten season when they play AKS Arnold, who have just had four players included in the ISRFC Lambs North XV. Kirkham will be favourites following a spectacular season to date.

Another side looking to continue their unbeaten season is Stamford. They play Loughborough Grammar School in a game that also doubles as a 5th Round NatWest Cup tie. It would take a brave man to bet against Stamford failing to extend this extraordinary unbeaten season.

King’s Macclesfield v Denstone College ought to be an excellent game, these are two reasonably well matched sides who have had decent seasons to date. King’s might just be favourites with home advantage, but it should be a great game of rugby.

Do you agree with our predictions? Let us know via @FifteenRugbyXV or through the comment box below. Remember to keep us updated through the weekend with your results, photos, and match reports – you can get in touch through Twitter, Facebook  (www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby ) or through promotions@fifteenrugby.com

Schools Rugby Weekend Fixtures:

Daily Mail Trophy Prediction Competition:

Brighton College v Hampton

Clifton College v Cheltenham College

Dulwich College v Epsom College

Tonbridge v Wellington College

Woodhouse Grove v Hymers College

Five Previews:

Abingdon v Marlborough College

Llandovery College v Sedbergh

QEGS Wakefield v RGS Newcastle

Rugby v Oundle

Stowe v Bedford

Other Fixtures:

Adams GS v Solihull

Ampleforth College v Pocklington

 Bishops Stortford HS v Bedford Modern

Blundell’s v Monmouth

Bradford GS v St Peter’s, York

Calday Grange v Lymm HS

Canford v Bryanston

Christ’s Hospital v Reed’s

City of London Freemen’s v Worth

Colston’s v Malvern College

Cranbrook v Hurstpierpoint

Dame Allan’s v Barnard Castle

Eton College v Merchant Taylors’

Framlingham v Royal Hospital School

Haileybury v New Hall

Judd v RGS Guildford

KCS Wimbledon v Harrow

KES Birmingham v Bromsgrove

King’s College Taunton v Sherborne

King’s Macclesfield v Denstone College

Kirkham GS v AKS Arnold

Loughborough GS v Stamford (NatWest Cup)

Nottingham HS v Grammar School at Leeds

Oakham v Trent College

Old Swinford Hospital v King’s Worcester

Oratory v Bloxham

Pangbourne College v Cranleigh

Pate’s GS v Bristol GS

Portsmouth GS v King Edward’s, Southampton

Princethorpe College v Bishop Vesey’s

Prior Park v Dean Close

QEH v Kingswood

Reigate GS v Caterham

RGS High Wycombe v Campion

RGS Lancaster v Ellesmere College

RGS Worcester v St Peter’s, Gloucester

Shiplake College v Seaford College

Sir Thomas Rich’s v Bro Morgannwg

St Ambrose College v Merchant Taylors’

St Benedict’s v John Fisher

St George’s, Weybridge v Lord Wandsworth College

St John’s Leatherhead v Eastbourne College

St Joseph’s College v Ipswich

St Paul’s v Berkhamsted

Stockport GS v Crossley Heath

Uppingham v Gresham’s

Wilmslow HS v Manchester GS

Worksop College v Lawrence Sheriff

Yarm v Ashville College

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