Schools Rugby Weekend Preview: Final weekend of a wonderful 2016 winter season

This weekend marks the final weekend of the term, and the last round of the 2016 Daily Mail Trophy.


Wellington College secured the title last weekend but there is still plenty left to play for with the remaining positions below them still wide open. There are also some games with intriguing sub-plots as a result of potential NatWest Cup draws.


For all though, this weekend is crucial. It is the final weekend of the Upper 6th players’ school careers, and is a game that will stay with them forever. Each and every player and team will be determined to make that memory a winning one.


Focus On


Bedford v Abingdon

This is a huge game between two schools who have been playing some fantastic rugby this season. For Bedford it is a chance to end the season on a high after their defeat in the Champions Trophy final last Friday. They will head into this final game of the season as favourites, but they face an Abingdon side who have taken some big scalps this year, and for whom a victory could seal a top 20 finish in the Daily Mail Trophy. It should be a fantastic game, and a superb way to finish the season for both.

Prediction: Bedford.

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Bromsgrove v Warwick

In midweek both sides secured their places in the NatWest Cup semi finals, so there is a good chance that this is just a precursor to a meeting in the semi finals, or even possibly the final. The two sides are in fantastic form and are securely in the Top 20 in the Daily Mail Trophy. Separating them is a tricky task, home advantage may favour Bromsgrove, however when the two sides met earlier in the season Warwick took the win, 15-7. That might just give them the confidence to go on and win this second game between the two, though Bromsgrove will be determined to even this series at 1-1.

Prediction: Warwick, just.

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Canford v Bishop Wordsworth’s

Another mammoth fixture between two sides who have quietly performed exceptionally well this season. Canford’s victory over Seaford College in midweek moved them into the Top 10 in the table, while Bishop Wordsworth’s have a NatWest Cup quarter final coming up after the Christmas break. The two have very similar records this season, so calling this game is a tricky task. Home advantage and a slightly better record against their common opponents suggests that Canford may just have the edge, but expect a fantastic game of rugby here.

Prediction: Canford.

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Epsom College v St John’s Leatherhead

These two met back in October in the last 16 of the Champions Trophy, with Epsom College triumphing 29-7. The game was a fantastic one though, with both sides demonstrating exactly why they are set to finish the season in the Top 20 in the table. Epsom College will be the favourites, particularly given that earlier win, but St John’s have been producing some spectacular rugby this season and will give their hosts a real test.

Prediction: Epsom College.

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Hampton v Dulwich College

This is always a fantastic game of schools rugby and a wonderful fixture with which to end the season. Hampton have had a fantastic season and will be confident of victory here, particularly at home, however Dulwich College have really begun to find their form since the half term break after a slow start. They will be desperate to end the term with a victory and to set themselves up for a strong crack at the 7s season. Expect a full blooded and entertaining final game of the term here.

Prediction: Hampton.

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Llandovery College v Sedbergh

This is a huge annual Anglo-Welsh clash between two schools who are among the most dominant rugby schools in their country. Sedbergh are coming off a very important win over Millfield in midweek, a side who have already beaten Llandovery College this season. Llandovery have struggled for form and consistency this season, while Sedbergh have won every fixture bar a tough defeat to the excellent Kirkham Grammar School. They will fancy themselves to continue that run on Saturday.

Prediction: Sedbergh

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Marlborough College v Wellington College

This is a good classic schools rugby fixture, though it looks set to be a tough afternoon for a Marlborough College side who are still building from the bottom up. They face a Wellington College side who sealed a third straight Daily Mail Trophy title last weekend, and for whom it is their last game under their legendary Head Coach, Kevin Brennan. Victory on Saturday will crown an outstanding 9 year stint in charge for the former Oxford Blue.

Prediction: Wellington College

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RGS Newcastle v Barnard Castle

This is a huge game between two schools rugby legends. Both have been in good form this season, with some big scalps and important wins between them. Perhaps the most telling result though came when these two met on the 16th November in the NatWest Cup. RGS Newcastle won that day, 17-8, and at Barnard Castle. That should fill RGS with confidence ahead of this game, though Barnard Castle will surely be even more determined than ever to turn that result around.

Prediction: RGS Newcastle.

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Stowe v Oakham

This fixture intrigues us, it is always a good game with plenty of drama, but this season’s fixture looks like a very interesting one. Stowe started the season slowly but have really picked up in the second half of term, while Oakham were flying through most of the season, reaching the Champions Trophy semi finals, but do seem to have been in a bit of a stutter in recent weeks, only just beating local rivals Uppingham, whom they previously put 50 past, and being heavily beaten by Warwick last week. Form over the season suggests that Oakham are favourites though, and there is no doubt that after such a successful season they will want to end it on a real high. Stowe are a tough nut to crack though, especially at home.

Prediction: Oakham

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Whitgift v Cranleigh

What a massive game to end the term on this is! Whitgift’s early win this season over Wellington College set them up as one of the best sides in the county. They proved to be that through the rest of the season, but a shock defeat to Feslted in the NatWest Cup in late November, followed by defeat to Millfield a few days later, just took some of that edge back. Saturday is a real chance to end on a high and to prove that they really are among the very best in the country. Any side that beats Cranleigh has to be considered in that bracket, their only defeats have been to Wellington College and Brighton College, undoubtedly two of the very best, and back in October they won the prestigious St Joseph’s Festival, making them one of the best in the business. This game is going be a massive fixture, one of the biggest of the season to end the term on. We can’t wait.

Prediction: Whitgift, just.

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Around the Grounds


There are plenty of other huge fixtures all over the country to end the season on, not least Blundell’s v Cheltenham College, two sides who have been in great form this season, picking up some major scalps along the way. This should be a fantastic game, and one that will certainly send everyone away to the Christmas break full of the joys of schools rugby.


Moving north, there is a big game as Bradford Grammar host Ampleforth College. Neither side has quite hit the heights that they would have wanted to this season, but this game offers both to end the term on a real positive not.


Eton College v Merchant Taylors’ looks like it could be a game to keep an eye on. Eton have performed well this season and start as favourites, but Merchant Taylors’ will work hard to trouble them and have had some fantastic results of late. Felsted v St Paul’s should be a superb fixture too, Felsted have turned in some stunning performances to reach the NatWest Cup semi finals, while St Paul’s have impressed greatly against some of the top schools too, so this should be an exciting game of rugby.


There is a massive game in Hertfordshire as Haileybury, fresh from winning the County Cup on Wednesday, host Berkhamsted, who thumped Tonbridge at Allianz Park on Wednesday evening and have secured three successive years unbeaten at home. This game really could go either way and should be a bit of a classic.


Mobmouth host St Peter’s Gloucester in what should be another big game, while QEGS Wakefield, fresh from midweek defeat in the Cup to Warwick, travel to Nottingham High School, and will be looking to get right back on track.


There is a fascinating game in the Midlands as Oundle host Radley College. Both sides have produced wonderful rugby in the last three or four years, but Oundle will fancy their chances here. King’s Macclesfield travel south to Solihull for what should be another big game, while Skinners’ v RGS Guildford will also be one to keep an eye on.




There are a number of huge games on Friday, headlined by Kirkham Grammar School’s tri to the AASE’s 5th place finishers, Beechen Cliff. It should be a fantastic game of rugby between two sides who have really performed outstandingly well this season.


Elsewhere Emanuel host Windsor Boys and there is an exciting looking game between Worksop College and King William’s College. UCS, meanwhile, face Mill Hill. UCS have been in stunning form this term, almost unfairly under the radar, and Friday’s game will be another chance for them to display their great quality once again.


Finally on Friday there is another exciting game, this time in South West London as KCS Wimbledon meet Reed’s. Both sides have played very well at times this season, and you would expect this to be a fantastic and exciting game of rugby.


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



Schools Rugby Fixtures – Saturday 10th December (predictions in bold):


Focus On


Bedford v Abingdon

Bromsgrove v Warwick

Canford v Bishop Wordsworth’s

Epsom College v St John’s Leatherhead

Hampton v Dulwich College

Llandovery College v Sedbergh

Marlborough College v Wellington College

RGS Newcastle v Barnard Castle

Stowe v Oakham

Whitgift v Cranleigh


Around the Grounds


Austin Friars v RGS Lancaster

Blundell’s v Cheltenham College

Bradford GS v Ampleforth College

Bristol GS v RGS Worcester

Caterham v Eastbourne College

Chislehurst & Sidcup GS v Gravesend GS

Churcher’s College v Shiplake College

Colfe’s v City of London Freemen’s

Crossley Heath v St Ambrose College

Culford v St Joseph’s College

Dartford GS v Brentwood

Denstone College v Loughborough

Eton College v Merchant Taylors’

Felsted v St Paul’s

Glenalmond v Merchiston Castle

Grammar School at Leeds v Wilmslow HS

Haileybury v Berkhamsted

Hymers College v Yarm

Judd v Maidstone GS

KES Bath v Prior Park College

KES Camp Hill v Bishop Vesey’s GS

King’s Bruton v Taunton

King’s Canterbury v Sutton Valence

King Henry VIII, Coventry v Bloxham

King’s Ely v Woodbridge

Kingswood v Dean Close

Kirkham GS v Merchant Taylors’

Lord Wandsworth College v Dauntsey’s

Magdalen College v Reading Blue Coat

Manchester GS v Lymm HS

Monkton Combe v Wycliffe College

Monmouth v St Peter’s Gloucester

Northampton School for Boys v London Oratory

Nottingham HS v QEGS Wakefield

Oundle v Radley College

Pate’s GS v Colston’s

Princethorpe College v KES Stratford

Queen’s College Taunton v Wells Cathedral

Ratcliffe College v Lawrence Sherriff

Ravens Wood v Wallington CGS

RGS Colchester v New Hall

Rydal Penrhos v Newcastle-Under-Lyme

Silcoates v Cheadle Hulme

Simon Langton v Kent College

Skinners’ v RGS Guildford

Solihull v King’s Macclesfield

Stamford v Welbeck

St Albans v St George’s, Harpenden

St Benedict’s v Tiffin

St Dunstan’s College v Cooper’s Coborn

St George’s College, Weybridge v Hurstpierpoint College

St Ignatius v St Columba’s College

St Peter’s York v Pocklington

Trent College v King’s Worcester

Watford GS v Bishop’s Stortford HS

Whitchurch HS v KES Southampton

Wimbledon College v Portsmouth GS

Worth v Seaford College




Beechen Cliff v Kirkham GS

Emanuel v Windsor Boys

KCS Wimbledon v Reed’s

Mill Hill v UCS

Worksop College v King William’s College

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