The Champions Trophy edged a step closer to its conclusion this week, with the first of the two semi finals being played.
That game was one of the greats of schools rugby, a passionate, intense, and immensely physical game of rugby between last year’s champions, Bedford, and the runners up, Epsom College.
Like last year’s final, Bedford won, 10-5, but it was oh so different in style, with Epsom College pushing them all the way. (You can see our report form the game here: Epsom College v Bedford).
It is typical of this tournament, ever since its inception it has been of a consistently high standard and a huge proportion of the fixtures are immensely physical, competitive, and high quality – above and beyond that of regular school fixtures.
What is it that makes the difference? The quality of teams certainly helps, but then these teams are consistently playing other good teams on a Saturday, and while those fixtures can be good, they are not as consistently high level as these can be.
Perhaps it is the element of competition, a trophy at the end of the road, and the fact that with only 32 teams in the competition each side is very quickly in a position where they feel within touching distance of a shot at the title.
Either way, the games produced in this competition are simply spectacular, and on Tuesday we have the second semi final, Oakham v Tonbridge, which will likely be equally spectacular. Oakham are former NatWest Cup champions and have moved across to this competition. Tonbridge, being a firmly one term rugby school, never competed in the NatWest, the Champions Trophy was designed specifically for sides like them.
Both sides are up there with the best in the country this year, as are Epsom and Bedford, both are in with a real chance of victory in the final too. Oakham have already beaten Bedford this season, while a win for Tonbridge over Oakham would suggest that they are able to beat a side beaten by Oakham.
Which means that no matter what happens, we are in for a cracking final. Bedford will be going for back to back titles, while however is facing them will be aiming for a first, and will be doing so in the full belief that they can beat these impressive men in red.
It is going to be a colossal game of rugby at Allianz Park on Friday 2nd December, who will win will likely come down to the finest of margins, until then, let’s enjoy this semi final!
Champions Trophy Semi Finals Fixtures:
Oakham v Tonbridge
Epsom College 5-10 Bedford
Champions Trophy Quarter Final Results:
Bedford 31-8 Canford
Oakham 23-8 Monmouth
Epsom College 29-7 Blundell’s
Eton College 10-18 Tonbridge
Champions Trophy Round 2 Results:
Bristol GS 19-44 Blundell’s
Canford 48-20 Kingswood
Epsom College 29-22 St John’s Leatherhead
Eton College 55-12 Grammar School at Leeds
Monmouth – BYE
Oakham 15-3 Clifton College
St Paul’s 13-16 Bedford
Tonbridge 26-7 Millfield
Champions Trophy Round 1 Results:
Bristol GS 29-29 Sherborne
Bedford – Bye
Blundell’s – Bye
Canford 57-10 Marlborough College
Clifton College – Bye
Cranleigh 19-36 St John’s Leatherhead
Dulwich College 17-17 Eton College
Epsom College – Bye
Grammar School at Leeds 25-17 Uppingham
Kingswood 20-7 Bryanston
Millfield – Bye
Monmouth 21-13 Radley College
Oakham 38-7 Berkhamsted
St Paul’s 20-5 RGS Guildford
Tonbridge 28-22 Hampton