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Schools Rugby Weekend Preview: A big test ahead following the half term break

With half term out of the way, the rugby returns thick and fast on Saturday after a reasonably quiet midweek.

 

There are huge games across the country, with this a key week for sides aiming to set up some solid momentum for the second half of the season.

 

Focus On

 

As ever, we begin our preview of the weekend’s action with out ‘Focus On‘ fixtures, and as always there are some crackers in there.

 

Bishop Wordsworth’s v Bryanston

This is a game that historically leans Bryanston’s way, but Bishop Wordsworth’s will really be fancying their chances this season. They had a flying start to the year before half term and will be looking to kick on in this second half. Bryanston, meanwhile, are in a bit of recovery mode after starting the season rather slowing, and culminating in a loss to KES Bath for the first time in over ten year.

Prediction: Bishop Wordsworth’s

[poll id=”113″] 

Clifton College v Blundell’s

This is a huge game between two of the top sides in the country Both looked promising in the Champions Trophy, however Clifton were unlucky to have been knocked out before half term despite playing some beautiful rugby. That could work out for them in this game though as Blundell’s will surely have half an eye on Wednesday’s trip to Epsom College for their Champions Trophy quarter final. Either way, expect a brilliant game.

Prediction: Clifton College, just.

[poll id=”114″] 

Dulwich College v Wellington College

This will be the second time that these two sides have met after they played their traditional early season fixture back at the start of September. Wellington College won that one on home turf but were made to work hard for it after a pointless first half. They will strongly fancy their chances of repeating the effort, but away at Dulwich College that is no easy task and there is no doubt that the Dulwich faithful will be in full voice behind their team, making for a great atmosphere and a competitive game.

Prediction: Wellington College

[poll id=”115″] 

Eton College v John Fisher

Anther fantastic fixture, John Fisher are always pumped up for this fixture against the school giants that are Eton. Eton lost in the Champions Trophy to Tonbridge in midweek, which could leave them a little tired though one would expect that the reverse will be the case, having lost so narrowly against a top side and missing out on a semi final place, they will likely be determined to make amends and put in a huge performance on Saturday. John Fisher will be no walkover though, when are they ever.

Prediction: Eton College

[poll id=”116″] 

Millfield v Llandovery College

A huge game between one of the biggest rugby schools in England and one of the biggest in Wales. Millfield have been excellent at times this year, but they have lacked consistency on occasion. They will feel confident ahead of this game though, Llandovery are not blowing the competition out of the water as they sometimes can, while Millfield have already been and raided one of Wales’ top schools this year when they saw off Coleg Sir Gar handsomely, a repeat on Saturday would go down very nicely indeed in Somerset.

Prediction: Millfield

[poll id=”117″] 

Oakham v Rugby

There probably would not have been many people at the start of the season who would have flagged Oakham and Rugby as two of the top performing sides in the country. Both admirable sides, but not challenging right for the top places in the Daily Mail Trophy. They are challenging up there though, and deservedly so, both have been magnificent so far this year. Oakham’s performances have taken them to the quarter finals of the Champions Trophy, where they host Canford on Wednesday afternoon. That could just be a slight distraction on Saturday, though with the way they have been playing it seems unlikely that they will be distracted. However one slip up and this awesome Rugby side will pounce, they have been piling on points against some top sides this year and are looking like a good bet for a top 10 finish. This should be one of the games of the day.

Prediction: Oakham

[poll id=”118″] 

RGS Guildford v Cranleigh

This should be an interesting game as Cranleigh return to the field for the first time following that stunning title win at the St Joseph’s Festival just before half term. RGS Guildford will be fired up for a chance to take down the school who can now say that they are the Rosslyn Park and St Joseph’s Festival champions. It will be no easy task though, and Cranleigh will be strong favourites. However this is the sort of onslaught that Cranleigh must be prepared for now as they are a team that others will now see as one of the biggest scalps around.

Prediction: Cranleigh

[poll id=”119″] 

Sherborne v Abingdon

These two teams certainy have plenty of rugby pedigree. Both play highly attractive rugby and have a real reputation for being on the rise. For Abingdon that rise is sharp though, they are proving themselves to be up there with the best handful to teams in the country at the moment, no mean feat when you consider the opposition they have faced. They have challenged Kirkham Grammar School closer than anyone else this season, something that the rest of the schools rugby world should pay attention to after they so nearly overturned the mighty Blackrock College on tour. Sherborne haven’t had quite the same results as Abingdon but are still strong and capable of brilliant, home advantage and a well earned rest to ease any injury pain will have them feeling confident.

Prediction: Abingdon

[poll id=”120″] 

Tonbridge v Harrow

What a game this is. The first of the Champions Trophy semi finalists against the leaders of the Daily Mail Trohpy. These are two sides playing at an unbelievably high level. It has the potential to be one of the great games, but much will depend on Tonbridge’s recovery form that immensely tough Champions Trophy quarter final against Eton College in midweek. If they have recovered well then they will have a great chance, if not then this Harrow side is not one of play tired, their ability to force and opening and put pace on the ball can be spectacular. A crucial game in determining the momentum for these two for the rest of the season.

Prediction: Harrow

[poll id=”121″] 

Uppingham v Oundle

Once upon a time this was one of the biggest games on the schools rugby calendar, between these two though it still means absolutely everything and you can be sure that they will be going hell for leather in pursuit of victory on Saturday. Form suggests that Oundle ought to have the edge in this game, though neither has hit the heights that they probably wanted to so far this season. One way or another though, this game will be something of a classic and is sure to have a touchline packed with supporters.

Prediction: Oundle

[poll id=”122″] 

Around the Grounds

 

There are some fantastic other fixtures on right across the country, with an exciting Barnard Castle side hosting Hymers College in the north east. Canford, who will face Bedford in the quarter finals of the Champions Trophy on Tuesday, are hosting Marlborough College, and with that quarter final to keep an eye on, this could just become a bit of a banana skin.

There is a big game for Brighton College on Saturday, their first since that heartbreaking final for them at the St Joseph’s Festival. They travel to Eltham College, a game that the south coast side will believe they should win, but one that they will really want to make a point with, too.

 

Judd host Trinity on Saturday, and given the home sides form so far this year they may just fancy their chances if being able to snaffle a victory in this one, though beating Trinity is a tough order for any side.

 

Bedford prepare for their Champions Trophy quarter final with a trip to Loughborough, while there is a big game in Scotland as Merchiston Castle hsot Edinburgh Academy.

 

There are plenty of derby games this weekend, and one of the most exciting should be London Oratory’s trip to the Oratory School in Reading, both sides have shown some excellent form at times this season, meaning Saturday could be very exciting indeed.

 

In South West London St Paul’s and KCS Wimbledon meet for what ought to be an excellent game between two sides who have been playing some wonderfully exciting rugby so far this term.

 

Pcoklington v Bradford Grammar usually produces a good game of rugby, so look out for that on Saturday, while just down the road Woodhouse Grove are hosting Yarm. Stamford v Haileybury ought also to be a good game of rugby in the midlands, with Bloxham’s trip to St Edward’s, Oxford also a potentially very good game.

 

All in all it looks like it should be a superb official start to the second half of the schools rugby season!

 

If you have any photos, videos, or reports from the weekend’s schools rugby, please do send them in via email (writers@fifteenrugby.com ), Facebook (www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby ), or via Twitter (@FifteenRugbyXV).

 

Schools Rugby Fixtures – Saturday 5th November (predictions in bold):

 

Focus On

Bishop Wordsworth’s v Bryanston

Clifton College v Blundell’s

Dulwich College v Wellington College

Eton College v John Fisher

Millfield v Llandovery College

Oakham v Rugby

RGS Guildford v Cranleigh

Sherborne v Abingdon

Tonbridge v Harrow

Uppingham v Oundle

 

Saturday 5th November

Adams GS v Bishop Vesey’s GS

Ampleforth College v Crossley Heath – NatWest Plate

Aylesbury GS v Northampton School for Boys

Barnard Castle v Hymers College

Birkenhead v Cheadle Hulme

Campion v Bishops Stortford HS

Canford v Marlborough College

Churcher’s College v Christ’s Hospital

Colfe’s v Reigate GS
Colston’s v KES Bath

Dame Allan’s v Ashville College

Downside v King’s Bruton

Duke of York’s RMS v Sevenoaks

Eltham College v Brighton College

Emanuel v Wallington CGS

Judd v Trinity

KES Southampton v Magdalen College

King’s Gloucester v Wycliffe College

King’s Macclesfield v Nottingham HS

Langley Park v Glyn

Leys v Cooper’s Coborn

Loughborough v Bedford

Merchiston Castle v Edinburgh Academy

Oratory v London Oratory

Pate’s GS v St Peter’s Gloucester

Pocklington v Bradford GS
Princethorpe College v Gresham’s

Prior Park College v Dauntsey’s

QEH v Bristol GS

Ratcliffe College v Wisbech GS

Reading Blue Coat v Merchant Taylors’

RGS Worcester v KES Stratford

Robert Gordon’s v Loretto

Royal Hospital School v Gresham’s

Skinners’ v Cranbrook

Solihull v Ellesmere College

Stamford v Haileybury

St Albans v Watford GS

St Ambrose College v Wirral GS

St Columba’s College v Richard Hale

St Dunstan’s College v Chislehurst & Sidcup GS

St Edward’s, Oxford v Bloxham

St Olave’s v RGS Colchester

St Paul’s v KCS Wimbledon

Trent College v Denstone College

UCS v Shiplake College

Wellington School v Christ’s College

Windsor Boys v Pangbourne College

Woodhouse Grove v Yarm

Worth v St Benedict’s – Cancelled

Wymondham College v Ipswich

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