Schools Rugby Weekend Preview: Strong fixtures for the second weekend of 2018

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Coach Logic

Another exciting weekend of school rugby awaits us, as the fifteen-a-side edges ever nearer and the 7s season looms large.

 

Last weekend kicked off 2018 in style and we can look forward to more of the same this weekend, with some huge fixtures on the card.

 

Five to Watch

                                       

Campion v Brighton College

 

Campion were surprisingly beaten by Skinners’ last weekend, but they have had one of their best seasons in recent memory. At home, in particular, they are an incredibly tough to beat, and they will be giving everything to claim a scalp of the size of Brighton College’s. Brighton really are a massive scalp though, they are the St Joseph’s Festival champions and one of the strongest sides in the country. They will be missing players due to the U18 Academy League, but they are still packed with quality. Following their triangular with Millfield and Portsmouth Grammar School last weekend, you can expect them to be playing with even more of a heads up style than usual.

 

Prediction: Brighton College

 

George Watson’s College v Stewart’s Melville

 

Two of the most prestigious and successful rugby schools in Scotland again go head to head. The two have actually already met this season, with George Watson’s beating Stewart’s Melville 19-14. Stewart’s Melville are more game hardened though, they played last week, securing an impressive win over RGS Newcastle, while George Watson’s have not played since early December. That may not have an impact, but it could, the away side will arrive battle-hardened and full of confidence for what should prove to be a brilliant game of rugby.

 

Prediction: George Watson’s College

 

Hampton v Warwick

 

This is perhaps the biggest game of the weekend, two top sides going head to head. Warwick are the Schools Cup holders and one of the favourites to retain it this year. They will be missing a number of players to the U18 Academy League though, and while Hampton will also be missing some, it will not be as many and they may just see this as an opening. After beating Glyn so handsomely last weekend, the South West Londonders will be full of confidence, while for Warwick right now these fixtures are all roadmarks on the route to the Cup semi final, momentum and match practice are key, so they will be desperate to avoid the momentum and emotion sapper that would be defeat.

 

Prediction: Warwick

 

QEGS Wakefield v RGS High Wycombe

 

This game actually takes place on Friday, and is between two giants of school rugby. They are also both legends of the Schools Cup, with multiple finals at both U18 and U15 level between them. Over the years their long-distance rivalry has been a bit of a classic. This year ought to be no different. QEGS might have the better record of late, and look very strong this season, but RGS are always a proud side that are hard to break down. Friday’s game should be a high intensity encounter between two proud sides. QEGS will be favourites, but RGS will never make it easy.

 

Prediction: QEGS Wakefield

 

St Joseph’s College v Skinners’

 

Skinners’ enjoyed an impressive narrow win over Campion last weekend so they will travel to St Joseph’s on Saturday buoyed with confidence and looking for another big upset. St Joseph’s would be a massive scalp to claim, but a tough one, the Ipswich side are always a passionate outfit and this year is no different. They are in flying form after a brilliant 50-0 win over Coopers’ Coborn and will surely be fancying their chances of a similar level of performance, though surely a closer game.

 

Prediction: St Joseph’s College

 

Around the Grounds

 

There is plenty of quality rugby elsewhere too, not least a cracking fixture in Yorkshire as Pocklington host Hymers College. Elsewhere Woodhouse Grove’s development side make a tricky trip to Silcoates, while Crossley Heath host Manchester Grammar School.

 

In Scotland there are some big fixtures, Kelvinside Academy are at home to Morrison’s Academy, while Dollar Academy host Edinburgh Academy in a massive game after their tough defeat last weekend to Merchiston Castle who host Ayr RFC.

 

Over in Wales there is an exciting fixture as Christ College Brecon welcome Argentine tourists Belgrano, in what should be a fantastic occasion.

 

Whitgift, so impressive last week, continue their Schools Cup semi final preparations away at City of London Freemen’s. Judd, another side having a stunning campaign, are at home to Dartford Grammar School.

 

In the Midlands Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School have a massive clash at home to KES Birmingham, which promises to be a fantastic game of rugby. Repton, meanwhile make the trip to Derby Grammar School, a game that they will be hoping to secure a strong victory in.

 

Elsewhere there is another cracking looking game between KES Stratford and KES Camp Hill, while Welbeck v King Henry VIII Coventry should be another close game.

 

There are two great looking games in the South East, with Glyn looking to bounce back from defeat last week, with their trip to Tiffin, while St George’s Harpenden host Coopers’ Coborn.

 

There is a massive game in the North West as King’s Macclesfield, who have been in fantastic form, host Sir Thomas Rich’s, whose start to 2018 has been topsy turvy, beating Millfield a week and a half ago but losing to Solihull last week. The side they beat last Wednesday, Millfield, have a cracking looking game themselves, hosting the ever exciting Welsh Academicals, for a fixture that has always been a popular one.

 

On Sunday Teddies Oxford, Magdalen College, Abingdon, Uppingham, Bryanston, and Shiplake College all meet for the St Edward’s Oxford 7s, one of the very first competitions of the season, at this stage it is just warm ups for later competitions, but it should give a few early indications as to who might be in form ahead of the competitions to come.

 

As always, if you have any videos, photos, or reports from the weekend’s rugby, please feel free to send them in via Twitter (@FifteenRugbyXV), Facebook (www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby), Instagram (@fifteenrugbyxv), or through email (writers@fifteenrugby.com).

 

Schools Rugby Weekend Fixtures – Saturday 20th January (predictions in bold):

 

Five to Watch

 

Campion v Brighton College

George Watson’s College v Stewart’s Melville

Hampton v Warwick

QEGS Wakefield v RGS High Wycombe – Friday

St Joseph’s College v Skinners’

 

Saturday

 

Bishop Vesey’s GS v KES Birmingham

Christ College v Belgrano (Argentina)

City of London Freemen’s v Whitgift

Crossley Heath v Manchester GS

Derby GS v Repton

Dollar Academy v Edinburgh Academy

Judd v Dartford GS
Kelvinside Academy v Morrison’s Academy

KES Stratford v KES Camp Hill

King’s Macclesfield v Sir Thomas Rich’s

Merchiston Castle v Ayr RFC

Millfield v Welsh Academicals

Pocklington v Hymers College

Silcoates v Woodhouse Grove U17s

St George’s, Harpenden v Coopers’ Coborn

Tiffin v Glyn

Welbeck v King Henry VIII, Coventry

 

Sunday

 

St Edward’s Oxford 7s:  Teddies Oxford, Magdalen College, Abingdon, Uppingham, Bryanston, Shiplake College

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