There were some absolutely key fixtures in the school rugby world this weekend, and our Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend reflected that.
From the Daily Mail Trophy to the Schools Cup, vital results came in on a weekend that thrilled all round – there were no less than four draws, and all high scoring, not your old fashioned 3-3 efforts, reflecting just how much entertainment there was on show.
Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend
How could we not include Harrow, whose 21-13 defeat of Wellington College maintained their outstanding unbeaten season. Both sides had to deal with injuries, and Wellington did particularly suffer from a number of losses, but this was a brilliantly deserved Harrow win, as they became the only side to defeat the Wellington College 1st XV this season. It was a vital result for schools rugby too, keeping the Daily Mail Trophy alive and giving extra spice to Wednesday’s Wellington v Sedbergh fixture. For Harrow though that was irrelevant, though it does almost guarantee them a high finish, this was about demonstrating their position as one of the best in the country against another of the very best.
King’s Macclesfield secured their place in the U18 Schools Cup quarter finals with a brilliant 26-0 win against a very good Stonyhurst College side, proving our predictions wholly inaccurate. It secured them the North A berth in the quarter finals, where they will face either last year’s runners-up, QEGS Wakefield, or former winners RGS Newcastle. It was a superb achievement for the men from the North East, who are now just a game away from Allianz Park and two away from Twickenham, fantastic stuff.
Big margins of victory are no guarantee of a place in our Top 5, just ask any of the many sides that scored over fifty points this weekend. However when a side posts a 76-19 win as Solihull did this week, it simply cannot be ignored. They were playing Sandbach, and while Solihull were favourites to win, and perhaps even to win well, a scoreline of that margin was certainly not expected. It truly was exceptional, and a fantastic response having been knocked out of the Cup by Warwick in midweek, bouncing back in that manner speaks volumes about the strength of mind of the coaches and players.
This has been a tough old season for Tonbridge at times, but on Saturday they turned in a superb result, beating Dulwich College 27-22. Dulwich may have been resting a few names having reached the Champions Trophy final just two days before on the Thursday with a hard fought win over St John’s, but they are still one of the top sides around – as that Champions Trophy final spot demonstrates. For Tonbridge it was their most important win of the season, and no doubt as the current holders of the Trophy they wanted to make a point, and what better way than to turn over one of this year’s finalists. It was poignant that they did so in front of some of the star players from their unbeaten sides of the mid-2000s too, who were at pains to celebrate the outstanding performances of the Tonbridge second row partnership. An outstanding victory and a truly determined performance.
Whitgift are one of the main contenders for this year’s U18 Schools Cup title and they showed just why on Saturday with a genuinely excellent 46-8 victory over Millfield. Millfield might have lost a few more games than they would ordinarily expect this season, but let’s not forget that this is a side that reached the St Joseph’s Festival final, a notoriously difficult tournament. Whitgift were certainly the favourites, but to win in such commanding fashion was a real statement and an example of the quality that they have in their ranks. As the quarter finals of the Cup approach, this is the sort of performance that will have them heading in full of confidence and expectation.