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Schools Rugby Weekend Preview & Predictions – Will it be another thriller?

After a breathtaking weekend of schools rugby last week, the anticipation ahead of this weekend has been soaring.

The quality of fixtures on the list suggests that we should certainly be in for a weekend of top class schools rugby once again. Whether it will be quite so high scoring remains to be seen, quality wise though – if you have failed to pick up any World Cup tickets for the weekend, these school games will make excellent live viewing.

As ever, we begin our weekly preview with our five Daily Mail Trophy prediction competition games, which you can still enter here: Prediction Competition

Bedford v Stamford

This should be a fascinating game. Bedford have started their season with two wins, a 29-0 effort on Tuesday, and a huge 82-12 win last weekend against Uppingham. Stamford by contrast have lost two in a row, to Oundle and Haileybury.

Yet there is a sense that there is plenty to come from Stamford, who have a big injury list at the moment. Much in this game could depend on that injury list, but early season form dictates that Bedford surely start as favourites.

Prediction: Bedford

 

Epsom College v Cranleigh

Another very interesting game. Wins over Tonbridge and St Paul’s suggest that Epsom are once again very strong indeed, but so too are Cranleigh, who put in a thumping performance last week to beat St John’s, who likes Epsom have beaten Tonbridge.

All of which suggest that this should be a cracking contest and a relatively even game. Home advantage and a history of winning these tight knit game perhaps send it just in Epsom’s favour.

Prediction: Epsom College

 

QEGS Wakefield v Woodhouse Grove

A draw last week with RGS Lancaster is all that QEGS have shown us so far, while Woodhouse Grove have a couple of good wins already in the bag.

These two local rivals should have a good contest, one would think. Certainly in the past they have. QEGS have much expected of them though, their team is made up of U15 NatWest Cup finalists, so they should be a strong outfit. Much will depend on whether Woodhouse Grove’s momentum plays a big role early on.

Prediction: QEGS Wakefield

 

St Paul’s v Radley College

A classic schoolboy fixture this, between two of the oldest rugby playing schools in the country. Both arrive at this fixture having won one and lost one, St Paul’s though are coming off the back of defeat to Epsom, while Radley will be flying after a 50-7 win over Oakham in midweek.

Will that win lift Radley beyond St Paul’s, or will tiredness be a factor and give St Paul’s the edge? Only time will tell but this should be a fascinating and close game.

Prediction: Radley College, just.

 

Wellington College v Tonbridge

An already interesting and top quality fixture has just been made even more interesting thanks to recent results. Wellington lost last weekend to Dulwich College, a result that will have annoyed them, as will Tonbridge’s midweek loss to St John’s Leatherhead.

Wellington have lots of players returning from injury though, a boost that should add to their performance, as will their desperation to right the wrongs of last weekend and to get firing this. Tonbridge will have exactly the same thoughts though and will be determined to put their defeat on Wednesday behind them. It should be compelling viewing.

 

Prediction: Wellington College

 

Our prediction competition is not the only source of exciting fixtures this weekend. It is a packed fixture list with a whole host of games that really suggest they will be worth getting along to and enjoying.

Here are just five that we have picked out and previewed.

 

Brighton College v John Fisher

Always a good battle this one, two excellent rugby schools who have produced good rugby again of late.

John Fisher narrowly lost last week to Trinity, who like Brighton are a World Cup training venue. Evidence so far this season is that being a World Cup training venue is proving to be a real inspiration and performance boost for schools, as Brighton College showed in their win over Sussex on Wednesday. That could just tip the balance Brighton’s way in this one.

Prediction: Brighton College

 

Harrow v Oundle

Two schools packed with talent here, and both have got off to excellent starts this season. Choosing between them is no easy task, though arguably home advantage should tip things in Harrow’s favour.

However there is something about this Oundle side, their physicality, aggression, and know how, that just gives us an inkling that they might just take this one. We suspect that this could be an old fashioned kind of game, where control of the gainline is everything.

Prediction: Oundle, by a whisker.

 

RGS High Wycombe v Millfield

Another fixture between what are two of the strongest schools in the country, traditionally.

Millfield have won their opening two games, against Canford and Bryanston, but not but huge margins, while RGS have beaten Solihull and Northampton School for Boys but were beaten by Wellington College.

Millfield ought to be at Wellington’s level, making this game one that they should win, but RGS will be a tough nut to crack, as ever.

Prediction: Millfield

 

St Peter’s York v Ampleforth College

Last year this would have been a prediction for St Peter’s York, but after a stunning fifty point victory over Grammar School at Leeds last weekend there is now a huge sense of expectation about Ampleforth for this season. Can they get back up towards their former glories?

It is of course far too early in the season to tell such things, and St Peter’s York will probably provide a much sterner test than last weekend. Nonetheless, this is one to keep an eye on.

Prediction: Ampleforth College

 

Warwick v Stowe

A classic in recent years, but have Warwick recovered from their early season injury crisis that saw Bromsgrove put over fifty points on them last week?

If so, this could be a superb game of rugby between two sides who ought to be at the top end of the Daily Mail Trophy table come the end of the season. If not, then it could be another long day at the office, because Stowe are already looking like a very good outfit this year.

It’s been a great fixture in recent year’s, let’s hope it is again this year.

Prediction: Stowe

 

There are plenty of other exciting fixtures around elsewhere, for instance can GSAL bounce back into form at home against Durham? Rugby v Clifton College ought to be an excellent game, as should Sherborne v Cheltenham College, indeed it should be very close indeed. Uppingham will hope to put last week’s misery behind them at St Edward’s Oxford, and can St John’s carry on their good work in midweek away at St George’s?

As ever, let us know how you get on, and if you have any photos, videos, or reports from this weekend’s games, then do send your stuff in to @FifteenRugbyXV, www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby or promotions@fifteenrugby.com

Schools Rugby Weekend Fixtures (predictions in bold):

Daily Mail Trophy Prediction Competition

Bedford v Stamford

Epsom College v Cranleigh

QEGS Wakefield v Woodhouse Grove

St Paul’s v Radley College

Wellington College v Tonbridge

Previewed Fixtures

Brighton College v John Fisher

Harrow v Oundle

RGS High Wycombe v Millfield

St Peter’s, York v Ampleforth College

Warwick v Stowe

Other Key Fixtures

Altrincham GS v Wilmslow HS

Aylesbury GS v Bedford Modern

Bishop Vesey’s GS v Welbeck

Bradford GS v Crossley Heath

Brentwood v Bishop’s Stortford HS

Bristol GS v Kingswood

Bromsgrove v Oakham – Cancelled

Campion v Trinity

Canford v Hampton

Caterham v Worth

Cheadle Hulme v St Anselm’s

Chislehurst & Sidcup GS v Langley Park

Colfe’s v Judd

Colston’s v Blundell’s

Coopers Coburn v Dartford GS

Culford v RGS Colchester

Dame Allan’s v Austin Friars

Dauntsey’s v KES Bath

Eastbourne College v Christ’s Hospital

Eltham College v City of London Freemen’s

Glyn v St Benedict’s

Grammar School at Leeds v Durham

Haileybury v Felsted

Halliford v Reading Blue Coat

Harrogate GS v Ashville College

Hereford Cathedral School v Sir Thomas Rich’s

Hurstpierpoint College v King’s Canterbury

KES Stratford v Ratcliffe College

King’s College Taunton v Prior Park College

King’s Worcester v St Peter’s, Gloucester

Langley v Gresham’s

Lord Wandsworth College v Shiplake College

Malvern College v Bloxham

Merchant Taylors v Seaford College

 Mill Hill v The Leys

Nottingham HS v Bablake

Oratory v Eton College

Pate’s GS v Beechen Cliff

Princethorpe College v Lawrence Sheriff

RGS Guildford v Reed’s

RGS Lancaster v King’s Macclesfield

RGS Worcester v Solihull

Royal Hospital School v Norwich

Rugby v Clifton College

Rydal Penrhos v Shrewsbury

Ryde School v Portsmouth GS

Sedbergh v RGS Newcastle

Sherborne v Cheltenham College

Silcoates v Yarm

St Edward’s, Oxford v Uppingham

St George’s College, Weybridge v St John’s, Leatherhead

Trent College v Loughborough GS

UCS v Berkhamsted

Wallington CGS v Reigate GS

Whitgift v Skinners’

Wimbledon College v Tiffin

Wirral GS v Kirkham GS

Wycliffe College v Warminster

Wymondham College v The Perse

By Angus Savage

@AngusSavageXV

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