The Schools Cup returns this week for the third round, or what is effectively the regional semi finals round.
Up until the quarter finals of the competition, it is split regionally, only becoming truly national with the final eight teams. That means within the eight regions, North, Midlands, London & South East, and South West, all with A and B sections, the teams are in a knockout situation for that quarter final spot.
We already have one team through to a regional final, the play-off for that all important quarter final spot, last year’s champions, Warwick. They beat last Newcastle-under-Lyme last week in an early fixture in this round in Midlands B.
Merchant Taylors’ v King’s Macclesfield – Wednesday
Stonyhurst College v Manchester GS – Wednesday 15th November
Merchant Taylors’ and King’s Macclesfield meet on Wednesday after strong progress so far. The winner will face a wait to find out their opponent for the North A final though, as Stonyhurst College and Manchester Grammar School, who both had to work hard last round, do not meet until next week.
RGS Newcastle v Barnard Castle – Wednesday
St Peter’s, York v QEGS Wakefield – Wednesday
What a section this is, four top schools, and four legends of this competition. All four sides have at least made the final at Twickenham Stadium, and whichever two sides lose on Wednesday can count themselves very unlucky to have been drawn in such a challenging section. St Peter’s have actually already beaten QEGS this season, and with home advantage they will really fancy their chances, though QEGS will have high hopes of revenge and are going to be hugely tough to beat, they love this competiton. As do Barnard Castle and RGS Newcastle, who looked equally well matched. What a day it is going to be.
Oundle 3-12 Stamford – Tuesday
St Joseph’s College v Northampton School for Boys – Wednesday
Oundle and Stamford kicked this one off on Tuesday. Stamford had already put forty past Oundle this season, but were made to work much harder on Tuesday, however the hosts could not keep Stamford out completely, with Stamford winning 12-3. That means that on Wednesday, when St Joseph’s College host a Northampton School for Boys side that have already beaten them earlier in the season, they will now know that Stamford will be the side awaiting them in the regional final for a place in the National Quarter Final draw.
Solihull v KES Five Ways – Thursday
Just the one game in this section, with Warwick already through to the regional final after that impressive win last week at Newcatle-Under-Lyme. Solihull and KES Five Ways will both be determined to have the chance to knock out the champions and will give this everything. Solihull will likely start as favourites, but will know that it is going to take plenty of hard work.
London & South East A
Felsted v Whitgift – Wednesday 15th November
Hampton v Wimbledon College – Wednesday
A treat awaits us in a week’s time in London & South East A when last year’s semi finalists, Felsted, host former back to back champions Whitgift. It should be a huge game of rugby between two very good sides. By that time that is played, they will know who their next opponents will be, with Hampton and Wimbledon College meeting on Wednesday. Hampton have had some stunning Cup runs in the past, and will fancy their chances of another, but they must beat a Wimbledon College side that has been in impressive form in this Cup run so far.
London & South East B
Churcher’s College v John Fisher – Wednesday
Judd v Eltham College – Wednesday
John Fisher have a great history of big Cup performances, and they will want another on Wednesday when they travel to a Churcher’s College side that are giving this tournament a really good crack. The winner of it will face a tricky task against either last year’s quarter finalists, Judd, or an Eltham College side that year on year are getting harder and harder to beat. This is a section where the winner will be a really tricky opponent in the quarter finals.
South West A
Portsmouth GS v Bishop Wordsworth’s – Wednesday
RGS High Wycombe v Dean Close – TBA
RGS High Wycombe v Dean Close is yet to have a date penned in, with RGS only completing their win over Sir Thomas Rich’s last week. When it is though, it is going to be a huge game. RGS are legends of this tournament but Dean Close are in simply outstanding form this year. The other game sees last year’s finalists, Bishop Wordsworth’s, make the trip to Portsmouth Grammar School. It will not be an easy trip for the men in blue, but with that experience from last year in the side, it is going to take a great performance for any teams to knock them out.
South West B
Canford v Colston’s – Tuesday
Ivybridge Community College v Exeter School – Wednesday 15th November
It is always a special occasion when Colston’s play in this tournament, they are the most successful side in Schools Cup history by a distance. They have had a strong run so far after a few fallow years, but on Tuesday they face a highly daunting task of a trip to a Canford side that are playing some great rugby and could well be dark horses. Whoever wins that will then be able to watch their next opponents the following week, when Ivybridge Community College host Exeter School in what looks like being a cracking encounter.