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Schools Rugby Weekend Preview: 7s season set to kick into life

This weekends constitutes the first big weekend of schools 7s this season after last week’s Colston’s 7s was forced to be cancelled.

 

Two major tournaments take place, the South Coast 7s at Portsmouth Grammar School and the Shiplake 7s (you can see the draws for both tournaments at the foot of the page).

 

Wellington College are looking to retain the South Coast 7s title that they won last year, a trophy that kickedoff their incredible unbeaten 7s season that culminated in the HSBC Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s title.

 

It will be a tricky task though, right from the group stage, where they are drawn with Reigate Grammar, Peter Symonds’, and Epsom College, they will face some incredibly tough fixtures.

 

Looking across other groups there are a number of teams with the potential to challenge hard for the title, 2014 winners Millfield in Group 3 being one such example, though they too will have some challenges in a pool that contains the hosts, Portsmouth Grammar School.

 

The AASE sides will, as ever, be a threat, notably Hartpury College in Group 2, where Brighton College are also always a threat, and Sherborne, with their outstanding fifteen-a-side backline, will also likely challenge.

 

So too KCS Wimbledon in Group 4, alongside the other AASE side, St Paul’s Catholic College. All around, this looks like a tournament that is once again set to be one of the early highlights of the 7s season.

 

The Shiplake 7s looks like being another real highlight of the 7s season, indeed it has the look of being one of the strongest Shiplake 7s lineups that there has been.

 

Champions Trophy winners Bedford have the potential to be a top 7s side this year if they can translate their fifteen-a-side form. That will be tested thoroughly on Wednesday when they take part in an incredibly tough group alongside Oakham and Abingdon.

 

Tonbridge also have a huge amount of potential, and always turn out a good 7s side, they too face a tricky task, being drawn with the hosts, Shiplake College, and Caterham.

 

Seaford College could be real dark horses in the 7s season, they were outstanding in the fifteen-a-side season and could well be again in the shortened format, their early tests will be Cheltenham and Hurstpierpoint, while Haileybury, Radley, and Worth will make up a highly competitive Group D.

 

This weekend really has the feel of being a key one in the early rounds of the 7s season, with two such competitive and high class tournaments taking place.

 

It is not just 7s this weekend though, there is some Saturday fifteen-a-side action too.

 

The biggest game of the day looks likely to be Sir Thomas Rich’s v Warwick, though St Joseph’s College v Campion is also always a feisty affair.

 

One game worth keeping an eye on is Dame Allan’s v Merchiston Castle, and schoolboy Calcutta Cup fixture that should serve as a great precursor to the real thing later on in the day.

 

Dartford Grammar v Chislehurst & Sidcup ought to be competitive, so too New Hall v St Olave’s Grammar.

 

Judd travel to Wallington County Grammar with St George’s Harpenden hosting Tiffin and St Ambrose College welcoming Queen Ethelburga’s College.

 

Loughborough Grammar will fancy their chances at home to Old Swinford Hospital, while Nottingham High School make the trip to KES Stratford. Glyn meanwhile host City of London Freemen’s, with Shrewsbury heading to Bishop Vesey’s.

 

It is certainly a busy weekend of schools rugby, and that is not all, on Sunday at 13.00, the ISRFC Lambs face the RFU Midlands Counties U18s at Uppingham School, while on Saturday at 13.00 Northampton Saints U18 host Sale Sharks U18, with Sale aiming for a top 3 finish in the Northern Division of the U18 Academy Premiership, and with it a place at Allianz Park a week on Monday for finals day.

 

Meanwhile the whole weekend is kicked off on Friday evening by the start of the U20 RBS 6 Nations, with Scotland hosting England, Ireland hosting Wales, and France facing Italy.

 

You can see the home nations’ team news here:

 

England U20

Ireland U20

Scotland U20

Wales U20

 

Meanwhile previews for the weekend’s 7s can be seen here:

 

Shiplake 7s

South Coast 7s

 

If you have any photos, videos, or reports from any of the weekend’s Schools, U18, or U20 rugby, please do send them in to writers@fifteenrugby.com

 

Schools Rugby Weekend Fixtures (predictions in bold):

 

Saturday

 

Bishop Vesey’s GS v Shrewsbury

Dartford GS v Chislehurst & Sidcup GS

Dame Allan’s v Merchiston Castle

Glyn v City of London Freemen’s

KES Stratford v Nottingham HS

Loughborough GS v Old Swinford Hospital

New Hall v St Olave’s GS

Sir Thomas Rich’s v Warwick

St Ambrose College v Queen Ethelburga’s College

St George’s Harpenden v Tiffin

St Joseph’s College v Campion

Wallington CGS v Judd

 

Sunday

 

Shiplake 7s

South Coast 7s

 

Shiplake 7s Draw
Group A Group B Group C Group D
Tonbridge Seaford College Bedford Haileybury
Caterham Cheltenham College Oakham Radley College
Shiplake College Hurstpierpoint College Abingdon Worth

 

 

South Coast 7s Draw
Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
Epsom College Brighton College Millfield St Paul’s Catholic College
Peter Symonds’ College Hartpury College Pangbourne College Canford
Reigate Grammar School Merchant Taylors’ The Oratory Eastbourne College
Wellington College Sherborne Portsmouth Grammar School KCS Wimbledon

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