Schools Rugby Weekend Preview: Saturday 29th September

It has been a fantastic week of schools rugby with the Champions Trophy and Schools Cup starting, among other fantastic fixtures, but it is back to the main event for the weekend.

 

The Saturday blocks are the cornerstone of schools rugby, and so far this season they have been superb, with some awesome rugby all over the country. This weekend sees some of the top fixtures on the calendar, with a huge amount of history behind them and anticipation for the weekend ahead.

 

Focus On

 

Brighton College v Dulwich College

 

These two have started off the season brilliantly, claiming big scalps along with way, such as Brighton toppling Cranleigh and Dulwich College beating Harrow. Brighton host this one with an unbeaten record still in tact, Dulwich lost their opener against Wellington College but have not looked back since. Games between these two tend to be worth it for those watching, and when they are performing at the top end of the school game as they both appear to be this year, the rugby can be spectacular. Both play with admirable ambition, so keep an eye out for this one, it should be brilliant.

 

Prediction: Brighton College

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Denstone College v Sedbergh

 

Undoubtedly Denstone College’s biggest game of the season. They were outstanding last year and have started this one unbeaten, the challenge for them is to start competing in the closing stages against the very best in the business, and without doubt Sedbergh are one of those. Then Cumbrians are unbeaten in their four games this season and have cumulatively scored over 100 points in their last two games, they are on fire. Against Denstone though they come up against a side that want a scalp like this badly, they are going to throw everything at it and that could set us up for an absolute cracker of a game.

 

Prediction: Sedbergh

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Millfield v Wellington College

 

A game that needs almost no introduction. Two of the biggest names in school sports. Early season form suggests great things for this fixture, the last couple of years have seen it go under the radar a little with Millfield having slightly less competitive sides, by their standards. This year though both teams are looking very good indeed and there is a sense that this could be a game approaching the levels of those fixtures of three or four years ago when we were watching sides that would later go on to send almost half a dozen players each into the pro ranks. With both playing with real attacking verve we could be in for a treat. Calling it is a nightmare, home advantage maybe helps Millfield, but then they had an almighty clash with Clifton College on Tuesday night, which could have tired them. It’s in the balance and we can’t wait.

 

Prediction: Millfield

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Radley College v Cheltenham College

 

This classic fixture between two of the oldest rugby clubs in the land has moved from its traditional Thursday afternoon slot to a Saturday slot. Do not for a second think that that will dilute the occasion though. Far from it, it will most likely enhance it with a bigger crowd and the support of the other sides in the block once their games have finished. Both have started the season well, Cheltenham will be disappointed to have lost to Marlborough last week though and will be itching to get back to winning ways. Radley ought to host this full of confidence after they won the first Oxford derby of the season on Tuesday against Teddies.

 

Prediction: Radley College

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Stamford v Oundle

 

A bit of a derby game this one, Stamford have enjoyed a good season so far. Defeat by a single point to Oakham has been their solitary blemish to this point. Oundle have found the going slightly tougher a suffered a surprising Cup defeat to The Leys in midweek. That will surely fire them up for this one though and, as we have seen so many times already this season, teams bouncing back from setbacks with a strong performance is a real theme. This one will therefore be very interesting and ought to tell us plenty about both sides. On top of that, it should be a fantastic game of rugby.

 

Prediction: Stamford

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St John’s Leatherhead v Hurstpierpoint College

 

After Hurstpierpoint’s win at Eastbourne College in the Champions Trophy on Tuesday there is every chance that this could be a replica of a potential Champions Trophy match up between the two in the next round or beyond. Both sides look good this year with some impressive results, both have lost in cracking contests to Brighton College too, so expect a really well fought and close game of rugby here between two sides that are making real strides towards competing successfully right at the top of the school game. It looks like a game that could go either way, which always makes for a good match with both sides sure to be up for it. Hurstpierpoint perhaps have the greater momentum as a result of that midweek win, but really this is wide open.

 

Prediction: Hurstpierpoint College

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St Paul’s v RGS Guildford

 

Another game that could be a precursor to a Champions Trophy showdown at some point. RGS Guildford stunned Tonbridge, the 2016 Champions on Tuesday with a magnificent second half, and following that we are absolutely intrigued to see how they crack on from there. St Paul’s have been quietly impressive this year. They had a horrible opening weekend but showed great spirit from there to bounce back and they have not really looked back since. St Paul’s should probably just about be favourites, but after that midweek result RGS are going to be bouncing and will surely fancy their chances of a second big scalp in a week. It ought to be a brilliant game.

 

Prediction: St Paul’s

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Warwick v Whitgift

 

A repeat of last year’s Schools Cup semi final, and with the quality that both sides have shown so far this year it should be an equally good game. Both enjoyed big wins in midweek to kick their Cup campaigns off for the year, Warwick adding to an unbeaten start to the year that has included wins over the likes of Bromsgrove and Harrow. Whitgift have lost twice but that is possibly the most misleading fact in all of schoolboy rugby. Defeats have come to Sedbergh and Wellington College, the powerhouse of schools rugby in recent times. The quality that Whitgift possess should not be overlooked simply because their fixture list is so strong. This is yet another top end game, and like those that have come before it really could swing either way, hinging most likely on who feels most comfortable on the day.

 

Prediction: Warwick

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Wilmslow High School v Lymm High School

 

The question was posed on Twitter, it went along the lines of “is there a bigger comprehensive school game in the country?” It is hard to think of many, and that is a part of what makes this game so special. What also makes it special is that these are both just really good teams, forget the label on the type of school. Both consistently perform well, punching above their weight in many cases and fighting at the top end of the Schools Cup more often that not. Wilmslow have possibly had the slight edge recently, but it looks like being a really even game this year, one that should produce plenty of entertaining rugby too.

 

Prediction: Wilmslow High School

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Woodhouse Grove v Barnard Castle

 

Another week another game against a name in schools rugby for Woodhouse Grove in the form of Barnard Castle this week. Woodhouse have been spectacular this season, St Peter’s, QEGS, and Pocklington have been felled, now Barnard Castle, one of the legendary sides in schools rugby, are their target. Barnard Castle have started well too, unbeaten at the start of the season, most recently with a 50-0 win over Yarm in the Cup. This is their biggest test so far though, by a distance. It has been a while since they have hit the heights of some of their teams of the past, but a win on Saturday will have the country sitting up and taking notice, of that there is no doubt. We should be in for another fine afternoon of rugby in Yorkshire.

 

Prediction: Woodhouse Grove

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Around the Grounds

 

These huge games continue all over the country, Marlborough College, so impressive last week, make a trip to Eton College who will be itching to get back into form after their midweek Champions Trophy defeat.

 

Bristol Grammar School, meanwhile, having beaten Eton in midweek will want to capitalise on that momentum when they host Monmouth, who are currently in Champions Trophy action against Bryanston as we type this.

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Berkhamsted were another side in sensational Champions Trophy form, they travel to an Abingdon side desperate to give a good account of themselves after a really tough Schools Cup encounter against Dean Close. Dean Close themselves are also in action and looking to ride the wave, they must be careful though, hosting a very much in form KES Bath side.

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Moving in from the South West there is a huge game in High Wycombe as Hampton travel to RGS High Wycombe. These games have produced some stunning rugby over the years, not least in a number of notable Schools Cup quarter finals and last 16 games. Both arrive on Saturday needing a win, Hampton had a flying start to the season but defeat last week will have slowed the train, they will want to get back up and running. RGS meanwhile are yet to win but showed huge spirit in defeat to St Paul’s last time out and will be gunning for this one.

 

Further east still there is an interesting looking game between Reed’s and Eastbourne College, two sides that deserve a run of victories, while moving north a bit to the Midlands section there are some brilliant games too, not least Bromsgrove v Solihull, which shows all the signs of being a top game of school rugby.

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Fresh from a well contested Cup win over Bloxham, Rugby look to continue their unbeaten start with a tricky test at home to Uppingham, who also picked up a Cup win in midweek, and in some style too. With a number of senior figures at Rugby former Uppingham coaches, this could be a very interesting one. Oakham, who progressed in the Champions Trophy, meanwhile, are at home to the ever-dangerous Felsted.

 

The north section looks fascinating, Kirkham Grammar School face a stern test this weekend. They have proved to be among the very best already this year, but hosting Lancaster RGS will be tricky, the Lancastrians are showing some brilliant form this year.

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RGS Newcastle’s trip to Grammar School at Leeds is another that ought to command a good deal of attention on Saturday, as should Hymers College v Bradford Grammar, two sides who have quietly been going about some highly impressive business so far this season.

 

Friday

 

The lead in to the weekend on Friday night looks excellent, there is a big derby in Scotland as Glasgow High School host Glasgow Academy, while in England there is some excellent rugby taking place in London as Trinity take on Langley Park and KCS Wimbledon go head to head with St George’s College Weybridge.

 

A reminder that we welcome any photos, videos, and reports from your school’s games – the more the merrier! You can send them in to us via any of the methods below:

Twitter: @FifteenRugbyXV

Facebook: www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby

Instagram: @fifteenrugbyxv

Email: writers@fifteenrugby.com

 

Schools Rugby Weekend Fixtures – Saturday 29th September (predictions in bold):

 

Focus On

 

Brighton College v Dulwich College

Denstone College v Sedbergh

Millfield v Wellington College

Radley College v Cheltenham College

Stamford v Oundle

St John’s, Leatherhead v Hurstpierpoint College

St Paul’s v RGS Guildford

Warwick v Whitgift

Wilmslow HS v Lymm HS

Woodhouse Grove v Barnard Castle

 

Saturday

 

Abingdon v Berkhamsted

Aylesbury GS v Reading Blue Coat

Bancroft’s v St Dunstan’s College

Bede Academy v Austin Friars

Bel Baxter v Loretto

Birkdale v Ashville College

Bolton v Manchester Grammar

Bournemouth v KES Southampton

Bristol GS v Monmouth

Bromsgrove v Solihull

Campion v Royal Hospital School

Caterham v Christ’s Hospital

Cheadle Hulme v Sandbach

Chislehurst & Sidcup GS v Sir Joseph Williamson’s

City of London Freemen’s v Sevenoaks

Crossley Heath v Rodillian Academy

Culford v New Hall

Dartford GS v Wallington CGS

Dean Close v KES Bath

Durham v Newcastle SfB

Edinburgh Academy v George Watson’s College

Eton College v Marlborough College

Glenalmond v Dundee HS

Glyn v Isleworth & Syon

Grammar School at Leeds v RGS Newcastle

Gresham’s v Culford

Haberdashers’ v Tring

Hereford Cathedral School v St Edward’s, Cheltenham

Hymers College v Bradford GS

John Fisher v Wimbledon College

Judd v Ravens Wood

KES Stratford v Adams GS

King Henry VIII, Coventry v KES Camp Hill

King’s Gloucester v Clifton HS

King’s Macclesfield v Merchant Taylors’

Kirkham GS v Lancaster RGS

Latymer Upper v QES, Barnet

Leicester GS v Bablake

Liverpool College v King William’s College

Loughborough GS v QEGS Wakefield

Mill Hill v Richard Hale

Oakham v Felsted

The Oratory v UCS

Portsmouth GS v Churcher’s College

Princethorpe College v Bedford Modern

Ratcliffe College v Mount St Mary’s College

Reed’s v Eastbourne College

Reigate GS v Worth

RGS Colchester v Norwich

RGS High Wycombe v Hampton

RGS Worcester v Pate’s GS

Robert Gordon’s College v Fettes College

Rugby v Uppingham

Seaford College v Emanuel

Sir Thomas Rich’s v King’s Worcester

Skinners’ v Brentwood

Stewart’s Melville v Dollar Academy

St Abans v St Benedict’s

St Columba’s College v Bishop’s Stortford HS

St George’s, Harpenden v London Oratory

St Ignatius College v Enfield Grammar

St Olave’s GS v Gravesend GS

Stockport GS v St Ambrose College

Strathallan v Merchiston Castle

Sutton Valence v Colfe’s

Taunton v QEH

Tiffin v Halliford

Truro v Blundell’s

Wellington School v King’s College, Taunton

West Buckland v Queen’s Colleg,e Taunton

Yarm v Ampleforth College

 

Friday

 

Glasgow HS v Glasgow Academy

KCS Wimbledon v St George’s College, Weybridge (KCS Old Boys RFC)

Sandringham v Parmiter’s (Schools Bowl)

Trinity v Langley Park

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