Schools Rugby Weekend Preview: Saturday 12th November

After last weekend’s thrilling schools rugby fixture, anticipation is high ahead of this weekend.

 

Rightly so, as across the board there are some fantastic fixtures with some of the top teams in the country being pitted together and a number of derby games all across the fixture list.

 

The fixtures are coming thick and fast for a number of schools, with a huge number of schools scheduled to be playing their third game in eight days. That means that a bit of squad rotation is highly likely, and as such could make this weekend’s fixtures even more unpredictable than usual.

 

Focus On

 

Abingdon v Rugby

This should be a fantastic fixture, both sides have been playing some outstanding rugby all season, performing beyond what a number of observers would have predicted. Abingdon were beaten by a very much in form Sherborne side last week, but would probably have expected to win that game given their own form, while Rugby were the narrow victors against an Oakham side who have been excellent this year, progressing to the Champions Trophy semi finals. It means that this should be a top fixture, with both sides wanting to prove a point, Abingdon looking to get back to winning ways, and Rugby looking to prove that they are every bit as good as their lofty Daily Mail Trophy table position suggests, both are without doubt excellent sides.

Prediction: Abingdon.

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Bedford v Warwick

Bedford v Warwick is a fixture that does not need much billing, both sides have set the school scene alight at times in recent years. Bedford are the reigning Champions Trophy champions, and progressed this week to the semi finals, while Warwick are a team full of U15 NatWest Cup winners, and are among the favourites for the U18 title this year. Bedford’s progress to the semi finals could have an impact here, they had a huge quarter final against Canford in midweek and there are sure to be some tired and sore bodies, how they respond to that could be key to this game.

Prediction: Bedford

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Brighton College v Epsom College

Yet another massive game between two sides that are among the very best in the business. Brighton have been playing some outstanding rugby all season, including a superb win last week. Epsom meanwhile have also been in flying form, and were outstanding in their midweek Champions Trophy quarter final victory against Blundell’s. The match up should be fascinating, with the power of Epsom College facing up to the artistry of Brighton College, in simple terms. It should be a fascinating game, and could easily go either way.

Prediction: Brighton College

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Eton College v Harrow

A classic encounter between two of the oldest and most prestigious schools in the country. More important in this context though is that both sides are playing some terrific rugby. Eton College reached the quarter finals of the Champions Trophy, and are coming off the back of a terrific win over John Fisher on Saturday, meanwhile Harrow are arguably the strongest side in the country. Certainly they are unbeaten and at the top of the Daily Mail Trophy, so there is no doubt that they are among the best. A win on Saturday would help solidify that top spot.

Prediction: Harrow.

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Hampton v Wellington College

Traditionally this has always been an excellent fixture between two side in reasonably close proximity of each other, and with a number of shared friends in either school. Wellington College are once again one of the very best sides in the country, they have lost just once all season, to the outstanding Whitgift. Hampton meanwhile have dropped a few more, but all have been against other top sides and have been highly competitive fixtures. Wellington will be favourites, but Hampton will take some beating, particularly at home.

Prediction: Wellington College.

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John Fisher v Dulwich College

This is always a great game of rugby, and this year in particular it looks like it should be an excellent game. The two teams appear to be reasonably evenly matched this year, and both have been playing some very attractive rugby this season. Both sides are coming off the back of defeats to top opposition, John Fisher to Eton, and Dulwich to Wellington College. That makes this fixture crucial for both as they look to start some momentum for this second half of the season.

Prediction: Dulwich College.

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Millfield v Blundell’s

After a tough loss to Epsom College in midweek in the Champions Trophy quarter final, Blundell’s will be desperate to bounce back right away. Unfortunately for them they face Millfield, not a side many would choose to face when looking to bounce back. Millfield were in great from last weekend with a convincing win over Llandovery College, but have been up and down at times this year, against a good Blundell’s side looking to secure a morale boosting victory they will need to be up.

Prediction: Millfield.

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Oundle v Oakham

Oundle are coming off the back of a strong win at Stamford in midweek, the Northamptonshire side may not be the force of last year, but they are certainly a tough nut to crack. Oakham are a side very much on the up, their rugby has been sensational this year and they blasted into the Champions Trophy semi finals in midweek with an excellent 23-8 victory over Monmouth. They will be favourites, but in a local derby that only counts for so much.

Prediction: Oakham.

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QEGS Wakefield v Barnard Castle

This is one of the great schoolboy fixtures between two sides who have absolutely fantastic schools rugby reputations. Barnard Castle are perhaps not the force that they once were, but they are a strong side who have been in flying form this season, only losing to Woodhouse Grove and Sedbergh, two of the strongest teams in the country. QEGS are right up there too, and will be the strongest test Barnard Castle have had since Sedbergh. The Wakefield men have also only lost twice, the NatWest Cup finalists have also lost to Woodhosue Grove, as well as St Peter’s York. Expect this to be a fantastic game between two teams with great history.

Prediction: QEGS Wakefield

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St Paul’s v Tonbridge

We have seen a decent amount of both of these sides this year, and both a capable of some excellent rugby. St Paul’s looked good in victory over KCS Wimbledon last weekend, while Tonbridge may have lost but they ran the outstanding Harrow very close indeed, something that few have managed. The Kent men will be the favourites heading into this, but as St Paul’s showed against Bedford, they relish the underdog tag. Tonbridge will want to show their strength though, and losing back to back is something that they will play hard to ensure they avoid.

Prediction: Tonbridge.

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Around the Grounds

 

There are some fantastic fixtures elsewhere this weekend too. Back to back NatWest Cup champions, Bromsgrove, are at home against Monmouth. It should be a fascinating game, Bromsgrove had to work hard in the Cup in midweek to beat Lawrence Sherriff, while Monmouth were knocked out of the Champions Trophy quarter finals by Oakham.

 

Cheltenham College v Stowe ought to be another excellent game between two sides who have been playing some outstanding rugby at times this year.

 

Clifton College have been highly impressive all season, and will be looking to put on another strong display on Saturday against a Bryanston side who must be reeling after a tough defeat to Bishop Wordsworth’s last weekend.

 

There is a classic fixture between Marlborough College and Radley College, a game that is usually a great spectacle, while Cranleigh are in search of yet more success as they welcome Hurstpierpoint College.

 

Sherborne had a fantastic victory over Abingdon last weekend, and they have another spectacular looking fixture this weekend as they host a Canford side who will be desperate to get back to winning ways after back to back defeats.

 

Whitgift travel to RGS High Wycombe for what is usually a very good fixture, Whitgift will feel confident though given their stunning form this year, but RGS is always one of the toughest places to go.

 

Moving north, there is a huge fixture as RGS Lancaster host the outstanding Sedbergh. Sedbergh’s big recent rivals in the north are Kirkham Grammar School, they travel south once again to face Sir Thomas Rich’s.

 

Friday

 

There are two huge games under the lights on Friday evening. Shiplake College host KCS Wimbledon at Henley Hawks, while the very much in form Woodhouse Grove host the 2014 Champions Trophy finalists, Grammar School at Leeds.

 

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

 

Schools Rugby Fixtures – Saturday 12th November (predictions in bold):

 

Focus On

Abingdon v Rugby

Bedford v Warwick

Brighton College v Epsom College

Eton College v Harrow

Hampton v Wellington College

John Fisher v Dulwich College

Millfield v Blundell’s

Oundle v Oakham

QEGS Wakefield v Barnard Castle

St Paul’s v Tonbridge

 

Around the Grounds

Austin Friars v Giggleswick

Bishop’s Stortford College v The Perse

Bishop Vesey’s GS v Bablake

Bloxham v Merchant Taylors’

Brentwood v Ipswich

Bristol GS v King’s Worcester

Bromsgrove v Monmouth

Cheadle Hulme v Bolton

Cheltenham College v Stowe

Christ’s Hospital v Worth

Churcher’s College v Pangbourne College

Claire’s Court v Reading Blue Coat

Clifton College v Bryanston

Cokethorpe v King Henry VIII, Coventry

Colfe’s v Eltham College

Cooper’s Coborn v Richard Hale

Cranleigh v Hurstpierpoint College

Dartford GS v Bishop’s Stortford HS

Dauntsey’s v Bishop Wordsworth’s

Dollar Academy v Merchiston Castle

Duke of York’s RMS v Ashford

Eastbourne College v Skinners’

Ellesmere College v Calday Grange GS

Emanuel v St Dunstan’s College

Exeter School v Truro School

Felsted v New Hall

Glenalmond v Loretto

Glyn v Gunnersbury

Gresham’s v Norwich

Haileybury v King’s Canterbury

Hymers College v Pocklington

KES Bath v QEH

KES Birmingham v Princethorpe College

KES Southampton v Lord Wandsworth College

King’s Bruton v Monkton Combe

King’s College, Taunton v Taunton School

King’s Macclesfield v Adams GS

Kingswood v Colston’s

Langley v St Joseph’s College

London Oratory v Campion

Loughborough v Nottingham HS

Magdalen College v Aylesbury GS

Malvern College v Dean Close

Marlborough College v Radley College

Merchant Taylors’, Crosby v Wilmslow HS

Mill Hill v Uppingham

Northampton School for Boys v Leicester GS

Pate’s GS v KES Stratford

Portsmouth GS v Seaford College

Prior Park College v Downside

Ratcliffe College v Wellingborough

Reed’s v St John’s Leatherhead

Reigate GS v Sutton Valence

RGS Guildford v Judd

RGS High Wycombe v Whitgift

RGS Lancaster v Sedbergh

RGS Newcastle v St Peter’s York

RGS Worcester v Old Swinford Hospital

Robert Gordon’s College v Fettes College

Royal Hospital School v The Leys

Sevenoaks v Caterham

Sherborne v Canford

Sir Thomas Rich’s v Kirkham GS
Stamford v Berkhamsted

St Ambrose College v Lymm HS

St Benedict’s v Wimbledon College

St Columba’s College v St George’s Harpenden

St Edward’s College v Rydal Penrhos

St Edward’s, Oxford v The Oratory

St George’s College, Weybridge v City of London Freemen’s – NatWest Vase

St Peter’s Gloucester v The Crypt

Stonyhurst College v Ampleforth College

Tiffin v Trinity

Trent College v Bradford GS

Wallington CGS v Latymer Upper

Watford GS v Haberdashers

Wellington School v Queen’s College, Taunton

Windsor Boys v UCS

Wirral GS v Manchester GS

Worksop College v Ashville College

Wycliffe College v Sidcot

Wymondham College v Wisbech GS

Yarm v Durham

 

Friday

Shiplake College v KCS Wimbledon

Woodhouse Grove v Grammar School at Leeds

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