Day 3 of the HSBC Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s looks like being an incredibly exciting day, with the start of the Festival, and the last 16 of the Colts tournament.
The day begins with the Festival, the Colts do not kick off until 13.00, where there will be plenty of interest in what looks to be a wide open competition.
75 teams compete, and with no holders (Bedford have moved over to the Open) KCS Wimbledon are the top seeds in Group A. They are one of a number of schools who could do damage, with each group looking like it contains a threat.
Canford head Group B and could well go far, but Group C will be very interesting, with both Kings Macclesfield and Dauntseyâ€™s well placed to go far, while Prior Park could yet prove a thorn in the side.
If that looks tough though, just look at groups D and E. In D Seaford and Stonyhurst could both easily win the whole thing, but they must beat each other and get past Manchester Grammar and St Edwardâ€™s Oxford, not to mention Gunnersbury. Meanwhile in E we have Stamford, Clifton College, and Kingâ€™s College Taunton, top schools all. We really will see some crucial action there.
In F, Monmouth are the standout side, brilliant in the fifteen-a-side season, and coached by Welsh legend John Bevan, expect them to cause some ripples in the knockout stages, similarly Blundellâ€™s in Group G, who have been doing great work on the 7s circuit this season.
Group H is likely to see Bradford Grammar School and Uppingham as the two fighting it out, but Portsmouth Grammar, QEH and Latymer are all likely to ruffle a few feathers and could get in the mix. Cranleigh will likely be kicking themselves if they do not top Group I.
In Group J RGS Newcastle and Skinnersâ€™ top the billing, while Group K possesses a side that will really fancy their chances of reaching the end stages of the tournament, Epsom College, who have been highly impressive this 7s season. They will have their work cut out though, the likes of St Peterâ€™s York and Kingâ€™s Canterbury will challenge hard.
Group L contains the school without whom this tournament could not exist, the founders of the game, Rugby School. They will be favourites for the group and with a little luck could get in the mix later on.
Group M meanwhile contains a side who ought to be challenging at the deep end of this competition come Thursday afternoon, Stowe. They are certainly clear favourites and given the players at their disposal and the rugby they can play, they should go far.
Group N hosts Dulwich College but the triple NatWest Cup champions are unlikely to challenge here as they will have their 1st XV players over at Twickenham playing in their 4th NatWest Cup final in a row at the same time. That ought to make Radley College favourites but this should be a very exciting group.
Finally to Group O, where Coleg Sir Gar enter a 2nd VII against KES Bath, RGS Lancaster, The Perse, and Torquay Grammar, in what looks like being yet another close and exciting group.
Groups P and Q are likely to see Cheltenham College and Abingdon in charge, especially Cheltenham in P, but look out for Felsted and Durham in Q.
Group R could see Oakham start a long campaign, Trent College, St Georgeâ€™s and Caterham will cause problems though, likewise Berkhamsted and Kingâ€™s Worcester might cause the serious challenge of Trinity School a few early issues.
Tonbridge, winners in 2010 and runners up in 2013 will be firm favourites in T and real challengers for the title, Group U will be very open but it will be interesting to see how the Millfield 2nd VII rate. Meanwhile Group V should be dominated by Denstone College, who are an excellent side, but could be threatened by some quality elsewhere in the Group.
Group W ought to be a straight fight between Hymers College and Reedâ€™s, either of whom could go far, whereas Group X really could be a case of anyone seizing it by the scruff of the neck. Look out for Chris Cracknell commentating on his old school Shiplake College though.
Group Y sees one of our favourites to go far in the Festival, Kingswood, who have been doing exceptionally well on the South West 7s circuit and will be looking to make that a national success now too, it is well within their grasp. Group Z really could go any one of four ways â€“ definitely one to keep an eye on.
Groups AA and BB look likely to be two horse faces between St Paulâ€™s and Worth and Bedford Modern and Marlborough respectively, but as we all know, anything can happen in 7s.
All throughout the Festival it looks as though we are going to have entertaining groups and the competition looks wide open, there really do seem to be plenty of teams who could win this yearâ€™s Festival. While most of the top schools have moved to the Open, which worried many, it has had the excellent effect of really blasting this Festival open to all.
The Festival groups will go on all day but come 13.00 many peopleâ€™s attention will turn to the business end of the Colts tournament, which will start at the last 16 stage after the Groups and last 32 round took place today.
Holders QEGS Wakefield face Warwick first up, oddly enough it will be at the same time as their U15 counterparts meet in the U15 NatWest Cup final at Twickenham, a fixture that both of these schools also played in last year â€“ these two teams and yeargroups seem inextricably linked.
Last yearâ€™s runners up Wellington College face Brighton College, with the winner of that playing either Reigate Grammar School or Wallington County Grammar.
Tonbridge won the title in 2011, and they will be hoping to do so again this year but must beat Stowe first in their last 16 tie. The winner of that game will play either Bedford, Festival winners last year, or Bromsgrove.
Eton College are arguably the most famous school in the country, they face a fairly unknown quantity in the last 16 in Heathfield College at 13.00.
If Eton are the most famous school, surely Millfield are the most famous rugby school? Or at least one of. They face Canford and are looking for a first Colts trophy since they won back to back titles in 2009 and 2011. The winner of this game plays the winner of that QEGS v Warwick tie.
Finally there is Clifton College against St Johnâ€™s Leatherhead, with the winner of that game facing the winner of the Eton v Heathfield tie.
The Colts tournament certainly looks like an excellent afternoon of rugby, picking the winner will be a challenge for everyone, with so many sides looking capable of going all the way.
It should be a superb day of rugby all around!
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Colts Last 16 Ties:
QEGS Wakefield v Warwick â€“ 13.00, RE1
Canford v Millfield â€“ 13.00, RE2
Clifton College v St Johnâ€™s, Leatherhead â€“ 13.00, RE3
Heathfiled Community College v Eton College â€“ 13.00, RE4
Bedford v Bromsgrove â€“ 13.20, RE1
Tonbridge v Stowe â€“ 13.20, RE2
Reigate GS v Wallington CGS â€“ 13.20, RE3
Brighton College v Wellington College â€“ 13.20, RE4
Manchester Grammar School
International College, Beirut
Bishop Stortford HS
St Edwardâ€™s, Oxford
St Columbaâ€™s College
Duke of York RMS
Kingâ€™s School Macclesfield
Queen Elizabethâ€™s Hospital
Kingâ€™s College, Taunton
Hereford Cathedral School
Queen Victoria School
European School, RheinMain
St Peterâ€™s York
Christ College, Brecon
Bishop Stortford College
Kingâ€™s School, Canterbury
Coleg Sir Gar (2nd VII)
Christâ€™s Hospital School
Hertfordshire & Essex HS
Kingâ€™s School, Bruton
Royal Hospital School
Torquay Grammar School
Kingâ€™s School Worcester
Sir Joseph Williamsonâ€™s
St Georgeâ€™s, Weybridge
Millfield School 2nd VII
Sir William Borlase
St. Johnâ€™s Leatherhead
Bristol Grammar School
St. Olaveâ€™s Grammar School
Lord Wandsworth College