The final midweek of schools rugby before the short half term break is upon us, and it looks like being a great few days of rugby.
There are some big games on Thursday as sides try to squeeze in an extra fixture that they will not be able to get in on Saturday, while there are also some key fixtures in the Champions Trophy and Schools Cup as the back ends of their second round are tidied up. Wednesday sees the usual larget collection of fixtures, and there massive clashes at Allianz Park on Wednesday and Sixways Stadium on Thursday.
This week we also include Saturday’s fixtures as bar the St Joseph’s Festival, which we will preview separately and will be our main focus, there are only a handful.
There is just the one fixture on Monday as Bishop’s Stortford College make the trip to QES Barnet in the County Cup. By the time you read this the result may well be known but it ought to have been a superb game.
Tuesday is almost entirely about the massive Champions Trophy second round game as Dulwich College travel to Berkhamsted. A quarter final place is at stake, and the two sides know that awaits them there, a trip to the 2015 and 2016 Schools Cup champions, Bromsgrove, who a looking good. Berkhamsted beat Radley College 32-17 in their opener and are coming off an impressive draw against Felsted. Dulwich College came away with a narrow and exciting win at Eton College on Saturday and were stunning 43-12 winners over St Paul’s in their Champions Trophy opener. Expect a cracking game here!
You can see the full Champions Trophy Quarter Final Draw and Round 2 summary here: Champions Trophy Quarter Finals.
There is also Schools Vase action on Tuesday as Reading Blue Coat host Sir William Borlase’s in the third round of South West B.
There are some massive games on Wednesday, including the final game of the U18 Schools Cup second round, Maidstone Grammar v Judd. Both sides enjoyed huge first round wins, and the winner will host Eltham College in the third round in London & South East B, which is effectively the regional semi final stage.
Wednesday also sees one of the biggest games of the season to date taking place, between two of arguably the strongest sides in the country, Kirkham Grammar School at Sedbergh. Over the last few year’s Kirkham have had the edge in this fixture but Sedbergh have had some stunning results so far this term, Sedbergh scoring over fifty three times this season, and Kirkham doing so twice. Both sides are unbeaten, unless Kirkham’s one point defeat to Sherborne in a pre-season triangular is counted. Predicting the outcome is perilous, but either way, we are in store for one of the games of the year.
Another massive game is Eton College v Haileybury, which will take place on Wednesday evening at Saracens’ Allianz Park. Both sides are having cracking season’s and are playing some great rugby, so like, Sedbergh v Kirkham, expect another excellent game of rugby.
In the Schools Plate Bishop Heber are set to host Cheadle Hulme, while over in the Vase Bolton host Giggleswick, with the winners hosting Bradford Grammar in the regional semi final in the North A section.
Over in the Bowl Midlands A sees King Henry VIII Coventry host Kenilworth, while Ashville College travel to Wolfreton in North B, with a trip to Emmanuel College the reward for the winners.
Elsewhere on Wednesday there are plenty more exciting games, RGS Newcastle travel to Austin Friars, with Beth’s hosting Ravens Wood, while Cokethorpe welcome Burford.
Colston’s have a chance to get back on the horse again quickly after their unbeaten run was ended on Saturday, there welcome Truro School for what ought to be a top game of schools rugby.
Elsewhere KES Birmingham are hosting KES Five Ways, with Sir Roger Manwood’s making the trip to King’s Canterbury. King’s Grantham meanwhile host Queen Ethelburga’s and Manchester Grammar host St Mary’s.
Norwich v Wisbech Grammar ought to be a well fought game of rugby, so too Sandbach v Wilmslow High school at St John’s College v KES Southampton. Hayes’ wonderful season continues with a trip to St Dunstan’s, where they will have to work hard for victory. RGS Guildford meanwhile look to bounce back form a narrow defeat on Saturday when they host Robert Gordon’s College on tour from Scotland.
There is plenty of other top rugby on too, with Dr Challoner’s trip to Watford Grammar, Steyning hosting The Weald, Aylesbury Grammar travelling to Sir Henry Floyd’s, Sandringham hosting Birchwood, and Keswick’s trip to QES Kirkby.
At first glance, Thursday could be mistaken for a mini-Saturday. That is how strong some of the fixtures are.
There is one knockout game, with Gresham’s hosting Framlingham College in the U18 Schools Plate.
There is plenty of Daily Mail Trophy action, and one game in particular will draw a huge clash, the Modus Cup between RGS Worcester and King’s Worcester, being played once again this year at Worcester Warriors’ Sixways Stadium. King’s have won the last three in a row, but this is always a massive clash with a huge amount of rivalry behind it, and can always go either way.
Stowe v Rugby is another fascinating game, Rugby’s recent poor run came to an abrupt end on Saturday with their stunning destruction of Trent College, who are also in action on Thursday, away at The Perse. Stowe meanwhile last on Saturday but by the most slender of margins to Bromsgrove, and must still have a huge amount of confidence after beating Millfield last week. Expect a cracking game on Thursday.
St Edward’s Oxford came oh so close to spoiling Cheltenham College’s unbeaten half of term on Saturday, and Dean Close will have to be at their absolute best to stop St Edward’s from spoiling their unbeaten first half of term.
Kingswood are another side having a fine start to the season, they travel to Prior Park surely buoyed with confidence after a win in midweek over Bedford in the Champions Trophy and a Friday night win over Beechen Cliff.
Sutton Valence are also in great form, they may have been well beaten by Whitgift on Saturday, but among the majority on their circuit, they are right up there. Cooper’s Coborn will mount a challenge, but Sutton Valence will be keen to get Saturday out of their systems fast.
Another monster of a fixture is the trip of the outstanding Canford 1st XV to Bryanston. Canford have been in flying form, including a win over a very good Blundell’s side on Saturday.
Elsewhere in form Downside host the Beechen Cliff 2nd XV, or the non-AASE 1st XV, for what should be another good game, while Monmouth host invitational side Crawshays Welsh.
As mentioned, with so few fixtures on Saturday due to half term and the St Joseph’s Festival, we include them in this week’s midweek list.
Without a doubt the big game is the Anglo-Welsh fixture between Sedbergh and Llandovery College. It will be Sedbergh’s second huge fixture in four days, following on from Wednesday’s monster of a game against Kirkham. Expect another top quality game of schools rugby.
Elsewhere, Hymers College host Wolfreton, while St Edward’s Oxford are over in Northern Ireland and playing a second game in two days as they meet Campbell College.
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Schools Rugby Midweek Fixtures (predictions in bold):
QES Barnet v Bishop’s Stortford College (County Cup)
Berkhamsted v Dulwich College (Champions Trophy)
Reading Blue Coat v Sir William Borlase’s (Schools Vase)
Austin Friars v RGS Newcastle
Beth’s GS v Ravens Wood
Bishop Heber v Cheadle Hulme (Schools Plate)
Bolton v Giggleswick (Schools Vase)
Cokethorpe v Burford
Colston’s v Truro
Eton College v Haileybury (Daily Mail Trophy) – Allianz Park
KES Birmingham v KES Five Ways
King’s Canterbury v Sir Roger Manwood’s
King’s College, Taunton v Richard Huish
King’s Gratham v Queen Ethelburga’s
King Henry VIII, Coventry v Kenilworth (Schools Bowl)
Kirkham GS v Sedbergh
Maidstone GS v Judd (Schools Cup)
Manchester GS v St Mary’s College
Norwich v Wisbech GS
QES Kirkby v Keswick
RGS Guildford v Robert Gordon’s College
Sandbach v Wilmslow HS (County Cup)
Sandringham v Birchwood
Sir Henry Floyd v Aylesbury GS
St Dunstan’s v Hayes
St John’s College v KES Southampton
Steyning v The Weald
Watford GS v Dr Challoner’s
Wolfreton v Ashville College (Schools Bowl)
Bryanston v Canford (Daily Mail Trophy)
Dean Close v St Edward’s Oxford (Daily Mail Trophy)
Downside v Beechen Cliff 2nd XV
Gresham’s v Framlingham College (Schools Plate)
Monmouth v Crawshay’s Welsh
Perse v Trent College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Prior Park College v Kingswood
RGS Worcester v King’s Worcester (Daily Mail Trophy) – Sixways
Stowe v Rugby (Daily Mail Trophy)
Sutton Valence v Cooper’s Coborn
Campbell College (N.I.) v St Edward’s, Oxford
Hymers College v Wolfreton
Sedbergh v Llandovery College