After a stunning opening weekend of schools rugby, another weekend full of huge head to heads awaits us.
Some of the top sides from the last coupe of years are matched up, but perhaps even more interestingly we get to see if some of last week’s standout performances can be continued this week and a guide of form for the rest of the season, or if they were one off performances.
Haileybury v Felsted
A game between two sides that have really been making waves over the last couple of years. Both sides enjoyed wins last weekend, with Haileybury beating St Edward’s Oxford and Felsted beating King’s Canterbury. This promises to be a superb game, and the winner could really kick on and make strides through the rest of the season. Last year Haileybury took the victory, 15-10, it looks likely to be equally close this weekend.
KCS Wimbledon v Wimbledon College
The Wimbledon derby is always an excellent occasion, KCS have won the last two meetings so likely have the greater confidence heading in. They also picked up a win in midweek, which could be a useful confidence booster, both sides lost their opening games of the season, KCS to Caterham and Wimbledon College to St John’s Leatherhead. Expect a tough and competitive game on Saturday.
Prediction: KCS Wimbledon
Oakham v Stamford
Another big local derby as these two local rivals meet. Both have tremendous schools rugby records, and picked up wins on the opening weekend. Oakham enjoyed a decent win against Denstone College, who have bee a strong force over the past few years, while Stamford enjoyed a stunning 78-0 victory over Leicester Grammar School. The quality of that performance will likely be truly revealed on Saturday against an Oakham side that is undoubtedly a stronger outfit that last weeks opponents. It should be fascinating.
QEGS Wakefield v Woodhouse Grove
QEGS were on fire last weekend, winning 82-0 against RGS Lancaster, a simply stunning result. Woodhouse grove meanwhile lost in a cracking game against St Peter’s York. Both sides have been among the strongest in the region for a long time, indeed among the best in the country, and this is another game that should be on the level of that St Peter’s v Woodhouse Grove fixture. QEGS’ performances over the last few years, particularly at U15 level, perhaps make them just the favourites for this one, but it’ll be a cracker.
Prediction: QEGS Wakefield
Radley College v Eton College
This is a classic schoolboy fixture between two of the most famous schools in the country. In the last two years Eton have had better seasons than Radley, but before that Radley were largely on top, it will be interesting to see which way the wind blows this season. Eton got off to a tough start this season, losing to RGS High Wycombe, while for Radley this is the season opener, so Eton could be a little more battle-hardened.
Prediction: Radley College
RGS High Wycombe v Millfield
A fascinating fixture. Millfield lost last weekend somewhat surprisingly, though the Canford side that beat them are definitely a side to keep an eye out for this year. RGS meanwhile opened up with a really difficult loss to Wellington College but recovered brilliantly last week to beat Eton. Things get no easier for them as they host Millfield, but with their tails up after that win they have a great chance. Expect a huge backlash from Millfield though, they will not be prepared to start their season with two defeats in a row.
St John’s, Leatherhead v Cranleigh
St John’s have been building and building for years and kicked off their season with a strong win over Wimbledon College. Cranleigh started in style too though, beating Brighton College, their great foes of last season. This ought to be another game on that sort of quality, with two fantastic sides competing. Undoubtedly Cranleigh’s tails are up, after a season like last year’s any side would. This will be another test of that confidence, but one that we think Cranleigh will probably just come out on top of.
Warwick v Harrow
Last year’s U18 Schools Cup winners against one of the strongest teams in the country for a couple of seasons. With large numbers of new players though, this season these are two new teams. Two new teams that are off to strong starts though, Warwick with a good win against Bromsgrove and Harrow with an absolutely thumping win in a training game against Norwich. It seems likely that both will be knocking around in the higher echelons this year, but whoever wins this one will lay down a huge marker for what lies ahead.
Wellington College v Tonbridge
Yet another absolutely titanic clash between two of the best sides in the country with two of the very best records, not just in recent schools rugby history, but of all time. Both are coming off the back of huge seasons last year, Wellington winning a third successive Daily Mail Trophy and Tonbridge winning the Champions Trophy. After decent starts, Wellington beating RGS High Wycombe and Dulwich College and Tonbridge beating Eastbourne College, these two giants now meet for one of the biggest games of the season to date.
Prediction: Wellington College
Whitgift v Hampton
A really interesting game. These two teams met a few weeks ago in the final of the Esher RFC President’s Cup. Whitgift came out on top that day, defending their title. They may therefore have the upper edge mentally here, however Hampton started the regular season with a win, while Whitgift were defeated. However that defeat came against Sedbergh, one of the best sides around, and was narrow. Rather than breaking any Whitgift confidence, it might well have battle-hardened them. Either way, it should be quite some game.
Around the Grounds
There are some huge games elsewhere on Saturday, too. Standing out among the crowd though is a triangular tournament between Blundell’s, Kirkham Grammar, and Sherborne. All three sides were outstanding last year, Kirkham in particular, and that ought to make Saturday’s triangular a truly outstanding event with some of the very best rugby of the weekend. There is another exciting Triangular at Ellesmere College, they host Newcastle-Under-Lyme School and Christ College, Brecon. Much like the other triangular, this should provide three brilliant games of rugby and will be worth keeping a close eye on.
Not far down the road Bryanston will host Clifton College, a game that in years gone by was huge. The hope is that it will be again, Clifton have been on fantastic form for a few years, and if Bryanston can rediscover some of their old swagger then we will have a cracker of a game on our hands.
One that almost certainly will be is Oundle’s trip to Bromsgrove, a repeat of the NatWest Cup semi final of 2015. If this game is anything like that one was, then it will be one of the games of the season.
Caterham go looking for a second win in a row as they host King’s Canterbury on Saturday, while in one of the biggest games of the season Epsom College host Dulwich College. Epsom got their season off to a flyer, but Dulwich looked impressive against Wellington College. They may have lost but they were in good form on a wet and wild afternoon.
One that is worth keeping a close eye on is Glyn v Judd. Glyn have absolutely flown out of the traps this season and Judd are a tough test after last year’s Schools Cup quarter final run.
Brighton College are looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat as they travel to Hurstpierpoint College, while Durham are also looking to bounce back, they make the trip to Grammar School at Leeds.
There is a cracking local derby in Croydon as John Fisher host Trinity, while up in Scotland there is an equally big fixture, with Merchiston Castle hosting Dollar Academy.
Sedbergh’s strong start last weekend against Whitgift will be put to the test on Saturday in another huge game, they host RGS Newcastle. In Buckinghamshire there are two classic school rugby teams facing off, Stowe and Cheltenham College, it ought to be a top game of rugby.
Teddies Oxford look to get back on track at home to a Rugby School side that went unbeaten last year and look formidable again this, meanwhile Marlborough College make the trip to St Paul’s.
St Peter’s York will be looking to build on last weekend’s strong win over Woodhouse Grove as they host Ampleforth College. Bedford, meanwhile, fresh from beating Oundle, make the trip to Oundle’s big rivals, Uppingham.
There are four big games on Friday, St Albans host Mill Hill for what should be a great local derby. Wells Cathedral are hosting Warminster, while in a massive Daily Mail Trophy clash, Manchester Grammar face Stockport Grammar.
Rounding things off is a huge game between Reed’s and RGS Guildford, a game that should be a cracking encounter.
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Schools Rugby Weekend Fixtures – Saturday 16th September (predictions in bold):
Haileybury v Felsted
KCS Wimbledon v Wimbledon College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Oakham v Stamford (Daily Mail Trophy)
QEGS Wakefield v Woodhouse Grove (Daily Mail Trophy)
Radley College v Eton College (Daily Mail Trophy)
RGS High Wycombe v Millfield (Daily Mail Trophy)
St John’s Leatherhead v Cranleigh (Daily Mail Trophy)
Warwick v Harrow (Daily Mail Trophy)
Wellington College v Tonbridge (Daily Mail Trophy)
Whitgift v Hampton (Daily Mail Trophy)
Ashford v Duke of York’s RMS
Austin Friars v Queen Ethelburga’s
Aylesbury GS v Bedford Modern (Daily Mail Trophy)
Bablake v KES Camp Hill
Bancroft’s v Colfe’s
Berkhamsted v UCS
Bishop Vesey’s GS v Nottingham HS
Blundell’s v Kirkham GS v Sherborne
Bradford GS v Crossley Heath (Daily Mail Trophy)
Bromsgrove v Oundle (Daily Mail Trophy)
Bryanston v Clifton College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Campion v Merchant Taylors’ (Daily Mail Trophy)
Caterham v King’s Canterbury (Daily Mail Trophy)
Charterhouse v Gordon’s
Cheadle Hulme v St Anselm’s College
Chislehurst & Sidcup GS v Langley Park
Churcher’s College v Dauntsey’s
City of London Freemen’s v Cobham International (U18 Vase)
Colston’s v RGS Worcester (Daily Mail Trophy)
Cooper’s Coborn v Dartford GS
Cranbrook v Sir Joseph Williamson’s
Dame Allan’s v Barnard Castle (Daily Mail Trophy)
Denstone College v Solihull (Daily Mail Trophy)
Eastbourne College v Skinners’ (Daily Mail Trophy)
Ellemsere College v Christ College
Epsom College v Dulwich College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Exeter v West Buckland
Fettes College v Dundee HS
Glenalmond v Loretto
Glyn v Judd
Grammar School at Leeds v Durham (Daily Mail Trophy)
Gresham’s v St Joseph’s College
Gunnersbury v Cardinal Vaughan
Haberdashers v Hitchen
Halliford v Reading Blue Coat
Harrogate GS v Ashville College
Hereford Cathedral v Wycliffe College
Hurstpierpoint College v Brighton College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Hutton GS v St Ambrose College
Hymers College v Worksop College
Kelvinside Academy v Merchiston Castle 2nd XV
KES Bath v Bristol GS
KES Stratford v King Henry VIII, Coventry
King’s Bruton v Clayesmore
King’s College Taunton v Prior Park College
King William’s College v QES Kirkby
King’s Worcester v St Peter’s Gloucester (Daily Mail Trophy)
John Fisher v Trinity (Daily Mail Trophy)
Latymer Upper v Saint Cecilia’s
Liverpool College v Bolton
Malvern College v Bloxham (Daily Mail Trophy)
Merchiston Castle v Dollar Academy
Monkton Combe v Downside
Monmouth v Old Swinford Hospital (Daily Mail Trophy)
New Hall v Bishop Stortford’s HS
Northampton School for Boys v Sir Thomas Rich’s (Daily Mail Trophy)
Pangbourne College v St George’s College, Weybridge
Plymouth College v Mount Kelly
Portsmouth GS v Lord Wandsworth College
Princethorpe College v Ratcliffe College
RGS Colchester v Culford
RGS Lancaster v King’s Macclesfield (Daily Mail Trophy)
Royal Hospital School v Norwich
Rydal Penrhos v St Mary’s College
Seaford College v Shiplake College
Sedbergh v RGS Newcastle (Daily Mail Trophy)
Sevenoaks v Reigate GS
Silcoates v Yarm
Stewart’s Melville v George Watson’s
Stowe v Cheltenham College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Strathallan v Edinburgh Academy
St Aloysius’ v Glasgow Academy
St Benedict’s v London Oratory (Daily Mail Trophy)
St Columba’s College v Watford GS
St Edmund’s College v Robert Clack
St Edward’s, Oxford v Rugby (Daily Mail Trophy)
St Ignatius v QES Barnet
St Paul’s v Marlborough College (Daily Mail Trophy)
St Peter’s, York v Ampleforth College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Sutton Valence v Christ’s Hospital
Taunton v Kingswood
Uppingham v Bedford (Daily Mail Trophy)
Wallington CGS v Tiffin
Wellington v QEH
Wirral GS v Kirkham GS 2nd XV
Wisbech GS v Wellingborough
Worth v The Oratory
Manchester GS v Stockport GS (Daily Mail Trophy)
Reed’s v RGS Guildford
St Albans v Mill Hill
Wells Cathedral v Warminster