2017 Champions Trophy draw – Wellington College join the fray


The draw for the 2017 Schools Champions Trophy sees Wellington College join the elite Schools competition.


Former champions Millfield, Bedford, and Tonbridge are all given 1st round byes, as are the incoming Wellington College, triple winners of the prestigious Daily Mail Trophy, along with last year’s semi finalists, Epsom College, as well as Eton College.


The tournament has, over the last few years become arguably the most exciting and talked about tournament in schools rugby, certainly at fifteen-a-side level and with the addition of Wellington College, alongside so many stellar names, it looks to be once again.


Also entering the fray are the 2015 and 2016 Schools Cup champions, Bromsgrove, they face Monmouth in their opening game. For the three years prior to Bromsgrove’s titles, Dulwich College were the dominant force in the Cup, they too are in the Champions Trophy, having debuted last year, they face St Paul’s in a classic fixture.


The tournament consists of 32-teams and stretches across only the first term of the school year, making it a fast, sharp, and high quality competition. The opening round takes places on a vaguely regional basis, before a redraw for the last 16 stage, at which point it becomes truly national.


That makes for some exciting local fixtures in the opening round, including Sherborne v Blundell’s two side that have really made their mark in this tournament over the last couple of years.


St John’s Leatherhead were highly impressive last year, losing out in a thrilling quarter final to Epsom College. They host King’s Canterbury in their opener this year.


Caterham travel to RGS Guildford for what ought to be a fierce contest between two rising powers, while old powerhouses Bryanston host Bristol Grammar School, who were exceptional last season.


Grammar School at Leeds’ hopes to return to the final, following their 2014 run, will get off to a tough start as they host Oakham, who were one of the stars of last year’s competition.


Stowe, who could fancy their chances this year as they move across from the Cup, host St Albans in their opener, while Radley College v Berkhamsted ought to be a true Champions Trophy classic, so too Kingswood’s trip to Marlborough College.


The Champions Trophy has developed a reputation in its three years to date of being full of thrilling and intense games of rugby. More so than any other school tournament, games seem to remain incredibly close yet very high scoring, often staying in the balance right until the last few minutes.


With any luck, it will remain, and with the quality of sides that remain and are joining, there is no sense that that aura should be lost. One thing is for sure, we are going to be treated to 31 games of tremendous schoolboy rugby through the course of September, October, and November. With the big guns joining in for the second round, the quality will only increase as time ticks by.


Long live the Champions Trophy!


2017 Champions Trophy Draw

Bromsgrove v Monmouth

Bryanston v Bristol Grammar School

Dulwich College v St Paul’s

Grammar School at Leeds v Oakham

Marlborough College v Kingswood

Radley College v Berkhamsted

RGS Guildford v Caterham

Sherborne v Blundell’s

St John’s Leatherhead v King’s Canterbury

Stowe v St Albans


1st Round Byes:

Bedford, Epsom College, Eton College, Millfield, Tonbridge, Wellington College

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