Weekend Preview & Predictions – Top quality rugby looks likely again


With the World Cup in full flow, there’s certainly plenty of exciting rugby on show this weekend, but don’t let that keep you away from the school game, where there are some huge fixtures coming up.


Some of the biggest fixtures on the calendar are scheduled to take place on Saturday, so we are promised a weekend full of intrigue.


As ever, we begin our preview of the weekend with our Daily Mail Trophy Prediction Competition fixtures:


Bromsgrove v Oundle


A repeat of the 2015 NatWest Cup semi final. Bromsgrove won that day, and went on to win the entire competition, but it was one of the best matches of the competition. It was played with a physicality and quality that was breathtaking at times and seemed to elevate it beyond mere schoolboy level.


Expect Saturday to be no different. Both sides have started the season well, though after defeat to Harrow last weekend Oundle will be hurting. Bromsgrove are probably just favourites though, their start has been sensational and that huge win over Warwick was a big statement.


Prediction: Bromsgrove


Harrow v Dulwich College


Another titanic clash. Harrow are in fine form this season, and that win over Oundle, as mentioned above, was a superb victory in a game that we thought they may just come unstuck in.


Dulwich have also been excellent though, if inconsistent. They beat Wellington College two Saturday’s ago, a stunning result, but then lost to KCS Wimbledon last week.


Dulwich also have a Champions Trophy game against Millfield next week to consider, and that may just play into Harrow hands. It is going to be a very, very interesting game.


Prediction: Harrow, just.


King’s Macclesfield v QEGS Wakefield


It has been a mixed start for King’s Macclesfield so far, with three wins and two defeats, while QEGS have played just two games, winning one and drawing the other.


These have been two of the top sides in the north, and ought to be again this year, so picked a winner looks tricky. They have one common opponent so far this season, RGS Lancaster, whom King’s lost to but QEGS drew with. That suggests the Wakefield men may just have the advantage, but you suspect it will be close.


Prediction: QEGS Wakefield


St John’s Leatherhead v Brighton College


St John’s have had a flying start to the season, with victories coming over Cranbrook, St George’s Weybridge, and most impressive of all, Tonbridge, in the Champions Trophy. Their only defeat came against Cranleigh, who have beaten Epsom College away, just to underline their quality.


For Brighton the season started brightly with wins over Hurstpierpoint and Sussex County, before things turned with a defeat John Fisher. That suggest that St John’s probably just edge this one, but it ought to be a fantastic contest, and with Brighton College having hosted Japan at the time of their stunning win over South Africa, perhaps some of that inspiration has rubbed off.


It should be a cracker.


Prediction: St John’s


Wellington College v Whitgift


One of the biggest games in any year. Last year, despite not having the best season, Whitgift very nearly toppled Wellington in this fixture and Wellington will be weary of them once again.


Wellington look good once again this season, but that shock defeat to Dulwich still resonates, despite bouncing back well against Tonbridge last week. Still, they have two wins from three and with those wins being against Tonbridge and RGS High Wycombe, they ought to be very full of confidence.


Likewise Whitgift though, who have also won two from three. They have beaten Bishop Wordsworth’s and Skinners’, and their sole defeat came against Sedbergh, who have the look of a mighty impressive side this season.


This one will be a battle royale, home advantage and the sheer depth of their quality should tip the scales Wellington’s way, but never write off Whitgift.


Prediction: Wellington College


The quality of this weekend’s fixture list certainly does not end there, and picking just five others to look at was a challenge, but with a couple of ‘international’ matches the five below look particularly interesting to us.


Bradford Grammar School v Stonyhurst College


We are expecting this to be a superb game of rugby, between two sides that we are backing to have a top record by the end of this season.


Bradford have already shown their class with a stunning win over Hymers and by very nearly pulling off the unexpected and beating Sedbergh in the Champions Trophy. They certainly made the Sedbergh men sweat for their victory.


Stonyhurst have also been collecting victories and, as they have been for the last couple of years, they do appear to be real dark horses on the circuit, surprising teams regularly with their quality. This is another game that should be superb.


Prediction: Bradford


John Fisher v RGS High Wycombe


Two top quality sides here, in any year. Both look good again this year. Fisher bounced back from an opening defeat to the excellent Trinity with a very good win against Brighton College, while RGS are already five games deep.
RGS have lost three of those five, but it is something of a misleading statistic as two of those defeats came against Millfield and Wellington College, two sides who are always up at the sharp end of the school game.


Midweek defeat to Stowe will have hurt, but be in no doubt, RGS have quality. This should be a very close game, home advantage may just suit Fisher, especially given RGS played in midweek and so will be tired.


Prediction: John Fisher


Merchiston Castle v Sedbergh


One of Scotland’s finest against one of England’s finest, this ought to be a great contest, it usually is.


Both sides have great history and have started the season well. Sedbergh though have not just started well, they have absolutely exploded out of the traps, and sticking seventy points against RGS Newcastle last week was simply stunning.


It is hard to see what Merchiston will be able to do to stop the juggernaut, but expect a full blooded clash, Merchiston have been racking up the points too. Cross-border clashes are always special and this one will be equally so.


Prediction: Sedbergh


Millfield v Bryanston


This is a particularly fascinating game because the two sides have actually already met this season. They played in the Champions Trophy a couple of weeks ago, with Millfield winning 14-6.


Both sides will have learned a lot about each other in that game, so expect a cagey and well researched game of schools rugby on Saturday. Millfield will arrive full of confidence having won that day, and with the ability to play all of their players who have been new for 6th form, they will fancy themselves here.


However Bryanston will be looking for revenge and will feel that having played once, they are in a better position to have a go again on Saturday. It ought to be very interesting viewing indeed.


Prediction: Millfield


Warwick v Massey High School (New Zealand)


Tour games are always special, and there are a lot of them on at the moment (couldn’t have anything to do with teams wanting to be here for the World Cup could it?!). Tour games against sides from New Zealand always have that extra bit of bite to them though, perhaps it is because everyone knows there is no such thing as a weak New Zealand side, and the haka before the game always adds a bit of extra spice that we are not used to.


History, and what we know of New Zealand schools rugby, tells us that this ought to be a tricky test for Warwick, but without knowing much about Massey it is difficult to have too much of an opinion.


One thing is for certain, this will be a superb occasion and a great experience to be a part of, even if only in a watching brief.


Prediction: Too tricky to call on tour games.


Elsewhere we should be set for some other excellent rugby fixtures, Reigate Grammar will be expected to continue their fine start against Eltham College, as will Campion against Ravens Wood.


Colston’s v King’s Worcester stands out as one to keep an eye on, likewise KCS Wimbledon v Berkhamstead – two sides who have begun very nicely and should produce a good game.


Woodhosue Grove v Pocklington is another that stands out, while St Benedict’s v St George’s College ought also to be a good game to keep an eye on.


With England v Wales not kicking off until 8pm, there’s plenty of time this weekend to get your schools rugby fix before the World Cup fever truly hits!


If you see any fixtures missing or want to get in touch with your predictions then please get in touch, likewise if you have any photos, videos, or match reports from the weekend’s games, please send them in – @FifteenRugbyXVwww.facebook.com/FifteenRugby – and writers@fifteenrugby.com are your go to spots!


Weekend Schools Rugby Fixtures (predictions in bold):


Daily Mail Trophy Prediction Competition


Bromsgrove v Oundle

Harrow v Dulwich College

King’s Macclesfield v QEGS Wakefield

St John’s Leatherhead v Brighton College

Wellington College v Whitgift


Previewed Fixtures:


Bradford GS v Stonyhurst College

John Fisher v RGS High Wycombe

Merchiston Castle v Sedbergh

Millfield v Bryanston

Warwick v Massey HS (New Zealand)


Other Key Fixtures:


Ashville College v Silcoates

Bedford Modern v QES Barnet

Blundell’s v King’s College Taunton

Calday Grange GS v Cheadle Hulme

Campion v Ravens Wood

Churcher’s College v Portsmouth GS

City of London Freemend’s v Reading Blue Coat

Colfe’s v Brentwood

Colston’s v King’s Worcester

Cranbrook v Maidstone GS

Crossley Heath v Audenshaw

Dame Allan’s v Durham

Denstone College v Ellesmere College

Emanuel v Caterham

Grammar School at Leeds v RGS Lancaster

Haberdashers v Tiffin

Hereford Cathedral School v Pate’s GS

Hymers College v Mount St Mary’s College

KCS Wimbledon v Berkhamsted

KES Stratford v KES Birmingham

King’s Bruton v KES Bath

Kingswood v Taunton

Leicester GS v Princethorpe College

Loughborough GS v Bishop Vesey’s GS

Mill Hill v Magdalen College

Monmouth v Bristol GS

MTS Crosby v Manchester GS

Northampton SfB v Solihull

Nottingham HS v Old Swinford Hospital

Ratcliffe College v KES Aston

Reed’s v Hurstpierpoint College

Reigate GS v Eltham College

RGS Guildford v St Paul’s

Royal Hospital School v RGS Colchester

Seaford College v Worth

Skinners’ v St Olave’s GS

Stamford v King’s Grantham

St Alban’s v Hampton

St Ambrose College v Kirkham GS

St Benedict’s v St George’s, Weybridge

St Columba’s College v Wellingborough

St Joseph’s College v Norwich

Stockport GS v Wirral GS

Trinity v Judd

Wallington CGS v Glyn

Wellington School v Exeter School

Wilmslow HS v Rydal Penrhos

Wimbledon College v London Oratory

Woodhouse Grove v Pocklington

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