The Champions Trophy quarter finals take place this week, the competition’s final round before the half term break.
They are, naturally, four huge fixtures. They feature some of the biggest schools rugby teams in the country and look like producing a brilliant quartet of games.
Blundell’s v Barnard Castle
Taking place on Wednesday, this could arguably be the tie of the round. Both sides are certainly in magnificent form. Both are unbeaten this season and arrive following superb wins at the weekend. Blundell’s beat Bryanston 23-8, only their second victory over them in twenty years, while Barnard Castle beat Hymers College by a staggering eighty points to three.
The form of both sides makes it very hard to predict a winner, but both certainly appear to be real dark horses in this competition, making this a hugely exciting game of rugby. Both came through tough games in the last round, against Monmouth and King’s Macclesfield respectively and came away with great wins. This is a huge game.
Prediction – Home advantage may just help Blundell’s edge it.
Bedford v Sherborne
Another monster of a game, particularly in light of the weekend’s results, which saw Bedford beat Dulwich College 29-3, and even more impressively, saw Sherborne beat Wellington College 34-29, a truly outstanding result.
Picking a winner is again tough, we are yet to see Bedford live but highlights of their games suggest a side with all of the qualities that we come to expect of Bedford, who always use their forwards well across the pitch as runners for a lively backline.
If we want to talk about lively backlines though, Sherborne are a side in possession of one of the most lively backlines in the business. If they start firing then life will be very tough for Bedford, but as their results have shown this season, Bedford can handle life being tough.
On this season’s form, it is no surprise at all to see these two in the quarter finals.
Prediction – Sherborne’s backline and confidence after the weekend may see them take this one.
Haileybury v Epsom College
An intriguing game. Both sides come off the back of disappointing weekend’s, with Haileybury suffering a heavy defeat to Rugby and Epsom going down at Stowe.
Given both team’s form in this competition though, you suspect that those results will likely make both sides even more determined to show the best of themselves on Thursday.
On paper Epsom are the stronger side, but Haileybury have beaten bigger sides before already and have some serious talent within their own ranks, not to mention home advantage.
Prediction – Epsom College, but Haileybury will give them a real battle.
Millfield v Sedbergh
One of the very biggest games in the competition, arguably the biggest game in the history of this competition, since last year’s final anyway. However taking recent form into account, this perhaps will not live up to the billing.
Millfield have lost their last two games on the bounce, conceding over forty in each, to Wellington College and Bromsgrove. That is tricky form to carry into a game against Sedbergh, who are unbeaten, scoring huge points, topping the Daily Mail Trophy, and who are arguably the form team in the country.
However, Wellington College and Bromsgrove are the reigning Daily Mail Trophy and NatWest Cup champions and are two fine teams, and losing like that will surely provoke a huge response from Millfield. If they do respond and find the sort of form that we are used to, we could be treated to one of the games of the season on Wednesday. If not, Sedbergh will be ruthless, for they will consider themselves favourites for this entire competition right now.
Prediction – Recent form makes Sedbergh favourites.
Champions Trophy Quarter Finals:
Blundell’s v Barnard Castle – Wednesday
Millfield v Sedbergh – LIVE STREAM – Wednesday
Bedford v Sherborne – Thursday
Haileybury v Epsom College – Thursday