Schools Rugby Weekend Preview: Saturday 12th October

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Coach Logic

It has been a huge week of schools rugby with the Champions Trophy and Schools Cup ramping right up with some massive games. However the weekend looks set to be even bigger with a number of key games taking place.

 

With half term approaching fast, this weekend presents an opportunity for some sides to complete an unbeaten half term, for others it keeps that dream alive, while for those who have found the going tougher up to this point it represents a chance to swing the tide ahead of the break, ready to use Saturday’s performances as a springboard for the rest of the year.

 

All in all it promises to be one of the most exciting of the season so far, and with the St Joseph’s and Merchiston Castle Festivals to come in a week’s time, and the Champions Trophy quarter finals after half term, the excitement is only going to keep on building.

 

Focus On

 

Barnard Castle v Lancaster RGS

 

A massive game between two sides that are playing some fantastic rugby so far this season. Barnard Castle are enjoying a particularly spectacular 2019/20 season so far, winning five games out of five. In three of those games they have not even conceded a point, and along the way strong sides such as Woodhouse Grove and Pocklington have been beaten. Lancaster RGS will provide a stiff test though, a strong side, they have only been beaten by Kirkham Grammar School, a side that will defeat almost all they face this year.

 

Prediction: Barnard Castle

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Bromsgrove v Rugby

 

Rugby are enjoying a staggering season, winning six from six so far including defeats over the likes of Harrow and Cheltenham, and a 45-0 victory of RGS Guildford on Wednesday in the Champions Trophy. Their 31-8 victory over Cheltenham College was the closest they have been held to, that tells you most of what you need to know. A trip to Bromsgrove though, just three days after that Champions Trophy triumph, is a tough test. Bromsgrove are looking strong this year and will be doubly determined to put in a top performance as they will not want to lose two in a row, albeit that it would be to Millfield and Rugby. They have every chance of running Rugby closer than anyone else so far, and if they can do that, perhaps they will unlock the chink in the armour.

 

Prediction: Rugby

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Clifton College v Bristol Grammar

 

Both sides will arrive on Saturday with a point to prove after being knocked out of the Champions Trophy in midweek. Clifton most of all after a surprise defeat to Oakham after winning their opening four games of the season in relative comfort, conceding only 1 try. With a full squad to choose from compared to Tuesday though, expect a big response from them against Bristol Grammar, but expect plenty from Bristol Grammar too, like Clifton they were unbeaten heading into their Champions Trophy game too, and in Epsom College they fell to a side widely regarded as one of the best around. This should provide plenty of entertainment throughout the seventy minutes, with two exciting sides determined to get back on the horse fast.

 

Prediction: Clifton College

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Denstone College v Woodhouse Grove

 

Cancelled fixtures have been a frustration for Denstone College of late but they are a seriously strong side. Only Sedbergh have beaten them so far this season and they ran them as close as anyone. Saturday will be another tough game though, one where they will need to be at their best. Woodhouse Grove are a strong side, progressing to the Schools Cup regional semi finals on Wednesday, they may have lost more than they have won to date, but their fixture list is one of the toughest around. Probably the key stat heading into this one is that both have faced Sedbergh and both came away with similar results, Woodhouse Grove losing 39-11 and Denstone losing 32-7. That suggests a close game on Saturday.

 

Prediction: Denstone College

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Dulwich College v Bedford

 

A massive game as a result of this being a huge part of Dulwich College’s 400th anniversary celebrations. Bedford is the oldest fixture on their calendar, and us such they are using this game as a big focus of the anniversary year. All fixtures in the block will this year be hosted at Dulwich, while the 1st XV game will be live streamed (you can click here for that link or see below). Dulwich will be favourites in that 1st XV game, it has been a bit of a tough season for Bedford, although you can be sure that they will rise to the occasion. For Dulwich confidence should be high after a superbly well controlled Champions Trophy victory over St John’s in midweek and an impressive season overall to date.

 

Prediction: Dulwich College

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Epsom College v Harrow

 

Two sides that have been playing some excellent rugby this year. Epsom College are building a reputation once again as being one of the very best in the country. They are unbeaten and in spectacular form, including a 31-12 victory in midweek over Bristol Grammar School to send them into the quarter finals of the Champions Trophy once more. Harrow have been impressive too, though. Victories over Berkhamsted, Warwick, and St Paul’s make anyone eye catching and in defeat to Dulwich things could have gone either way. They were heavily beaten by Rugby, but there are very few in the country that will not be, they way they bounced back against St Paul’s was a true reflection of this side and suggest that we are in for a cracking game on Saturday.

 

Prediction: Epsom College

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Hampton v Seaford College

 

This has the potential to be one of the closest games of our ten Focus On fixtures. Both Hampton and Seaford College have been excellent to date, Seaford in particular have been outstanding, winning all five of their fixtures. Among those was an opening day win over local rivals Hurstpierpoit College along with three games in with they have crossed the fifty point threshold. Hampton have hardly been far behind though, winning four from five on a seriously tough circuit. Victories over Tonbridge and Berkhamsted have sent them into the Champions Cup quarter finals, while only Cranleigh have got the better of them and they look like being one of the best in the business. Buckle in for this one, it should be fun.

 

Prediction: Hampton

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Millfield v Sherborne

 

A bit of a blockbuster game that will teach us a lot about both sides, this one. Millfield endured a tough last week of September as Clifton College and Wellington College got the better of them, but they came back firing last week against Bromsgrove. If they can back that up against Sherborne then they are going to head into the St Joseph’s Festival bouncing with confidence. The reason for that is that Sherborne are looking sublime this year. They have six wins from six and the only game in which they have conceded more than once was on Wednesday in the Cup against QEH, with a decent amount of rotation. Millfield will be their biggest challenge yet though, no doubt, so expect an almighty game of rugby on Saturday.

 

Prediction: Sherborne

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RGS High Wycombe v Brighton College

 

RGS started the season sensationally, winning three from three including a defeat of Millfield, and they beat a good Seaford side in pre-season. Hampton beat them last time out though and it has been two weeks since their last game after their Cup opponents dropped out. That is two weeks of stewing, they are going to be absolutely firing and fiery when they head to Brighton College on Saturday. So will Brighton though, they responded to their only defeat of the season two weeks ago, against Dulwich, by putting fifty past Trinity. They will be hungry to build on that on Saturday and to keep their momentum high heading into the St Joseph’s Festival, a tournament they always seem to perform well at.

 

Prediction: Brighton College

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St Peter’s, York v Sedbergh

 

It is going to take something pretty special to beat Sedbergh this season, but an unbeaten side seems a pretty good place to start. That is exactly what Sedbergh are, with five victories from five games, including defeats of the likes of Woodhouse Grove and QEGS Wakefield. It should make them Sedbergh’s toughest test to date, perhaps on a par with RGS Newcastle, but they will have to be at their absolute best. Sedbergh have been utterly sensational so far, four victories from four games, Whitgift, RGS Newcastle, Woodhouse Grove, and Denstone College all defeated, all comfortably. With an almighty clash against Blackrock College coming on Friday 18th October they will not want to risk any slip in momentum. That game promises to be one of the biggest fixtures of the last five years. If Sedbergh have half an eye on that though, St Peter’s might just pounce.

 

Prediction: Sedbergh

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Saturday Fixtures

 

The rest of the country looks set for a pretty spectacular weekend too, not least in Warwick, where they host Stamford for a fascinating game. Both enjoyed narrow wins last weekend, Stamford scoring twice at the death to beat Uppingham and Warwick winning a tight one against Oakham, who Stamford lost to by a similarly tight margin. It all adds up to a seriously close looking game.

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Another belter should be Sir Thomas Rich’s v Dean Close. Both sides have performed outstandingly well this season, Dean Close are on fire, while even when defeated Sir Thomas Rich’s have impressed, running Kirkham Grammar School closer than anyone else this season.

 

Canford’s trip to Taunton should be pretty interesting, both enjoyed exceptional midweek Cup victories, Taunton especially so give that it was local rivals King’s College that they beat. That should see them both arrive bursting with confidence.

 

Wellington College also had a big midweek performance, kicking off their Champions Trophy defence in style at Kingswood. They are unbeaten to date and in sensational form, but this week travel to an Eton College side that will have a bit of a spring in their step after their first victory over the season last weekend.

 

The side that Wellington beat in midweek, Kingswood, have a chance to get right back on the horse on Sunday when they face another of the Champions Trophy’s Round 2 winning sides on Saturday, Blundell’s.

 

Like Wellington, Cranleigh are also looking like one of the best around at the moment. They are unbeaten an in sparkling form. On Saturday they face a trip to Eastbourne College who have had a mixed bag of a season to date, but some of their result have proven that when they get it right they can play some utterly delightful rugby.

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Berkhamsted were another side to miss out in the Champions Trophy in midweek, derailed by a brilliant Hampton performance. They will be aiming to bounce straight back in what should be a fantastic game against Felsted, who have quietly been playing some excellent rugby once again this season.

 

So too have Cheltenham College, their only defeat has been to Rugby and that is a fate that will befall many. They have a chance to bounce right back from that on Saturday when they welcome St Edward’s Oxford to town.

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Whitgift enjoyed another barnstorming victory in the Cup on Wednesday, their title defence is flying at the moment. They will be hoping for a similar performance on Saturday against a gritty Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar side.

 

Last weekend Ampleforth College had a fantastic victory over Hymers so they will travel to Durham with full confidence on Saturday. Durham meanwhile will be looking for a big performance after a tough defeat to RGS Newcastle in the Cup in midweek.

 

In Yorkshire Bradford Grammar will be hoping to continue what has been an awesome season to far when they make the short trip to Grammar School at Leeds for a game that has all the signs of being an excellent close contest.

 

Cheadle Hulme have been utterly brilliant this season and have will be hoping to extend that on Saturday when they host Liverpool College, for whom this will be a big challenge given Cheadle Hulme’s form. Also in form over the last week have been The Leys, with two strong victories. They will hope to continue that at home to a tough Bishop’s Stortford College side this weekend.

 

Aylesbury Grammar School continue to impress us with some really strong performances this year. On Saturday they head to Merchant Taylors’ and it has the look of being a fantastic contest. St Albans and Campion are two others that are produced some cracking performances this year. Only Haileybury have beaten St Albans, while Campion’s only defeat was by a point to Northampton School for Boys, so expect a good game on Saturday.

 

There are also two games in the Schools Plate on Saturday, contested by sides knocked out in the first round of the Cup. In London & South East B Eltham College host Colfe’s. The winners already know their opponents in the next round, Langley Park, after they beat St Olave’s 40-14. In Midlands A, meanwhile, Worksop College host Trent College. The winner there has the tough prize of hosting the reigning Plate champions, Bloxham, after their defeat of Bishop Vesey’s, 30-11, in midweek.

 

Friday

 

Friday sees some massive games too, not least the huge derby between Reed’s and St George’s College Weybridge. Reed’s come into this looking to bounce back from a tough defeat to Cranleigh, while St George’s are flying after a strong defeat of Shiplake. However in a derby like this, all of that goes out of the window. This will be a massive contest.

 

So too will Malvern College v Monmouth, the Border Cup. Both schools have been giving it plenty of social media build up and you can expect a healthy crowd on the touchlines for a game with plenty of history, and that results so far this season suggest will be a fantastic match up.

 

Wirral Grammar School’s excellent recent form gets put to the test on Friday when they take on St Anselm’s College, but the peninsula side will surely be feeling confident after a good few weeks.

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St John’s Leatherhead and Trinity are both in action on Friday after big midweek encounters. St John’s lost out in a really top level encounter in the Champions Trophy at Dulwich College on Wednesday, while at the same time Trinity were being given a tough game at the home of the Schools Cup champions, Whitgift. Both will likely make changes, but this should be a superb occasion.

 

There is also Schools Bowl action on Friday night in London & South East A as Wallington County Grammar travel to Orleans Park.

 

Please do get in touch with your stories, photos, videos, reports, and opinions from the week’s rugby! It all makes a massive difference and allows us to feature your school and your team! You can get in touch via any of the below methods:

 

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Instagram: @fifteenrugbyxv

Email: writers@fifteenrugby.com

 

Schools Rugby Weekend Fixtures – Saturday 12th October (predictions in bold):

 

Focus On

 

Barnard Castle v Lancaster RGS

Bromsgrove v Rugby

Clifton College v Bristol GS

Denstone College v Woodhouse Grove

Dulwich College v Bedford

Epsom College v Harrow

Hampton v Seaford College

Millfield v Sherborne

RGS High Wycombe v Brighton College

St Peter’s, York v Sedbergh

 

Saturday

 

Adams GS v Ellesmere College

Bancroft’s v Richard Hale

Bedstone College v Abraham Darby

Berkhamsted v Felsted

Bournemouth v KES Southampton

Cheadle Hulme v Liverpool College

Cheltenham College v St Edward’s, Oxford

Chislehurst & Sidcup GS v Whitgift

Christ College v Wellignton School

Christ’s Hospital v Caterham

The Crypt v KES Stratford

Downside v Wells Cathedral

Durham v Ampleforth College

Eastbourne College v Cranleigh

Eltham College v Colfe’s (Schools Plate)

Emanuel v London Oratory

Eton College v Wellington College

Exeter v King’s Bruton

Giggleswick v Mount St Mary’s College

Gordon’s v Latymer Upper

Grammar School at Leeds v Bradford GS

Hymers College v Ashville College

Judd v RGS Guildford

Kent College v Ashford

KES Bath v Colston’s

KES Birmingham v King’s Worcester

King’s Canterbury v Simon Langton GS

King’s College, Taunton v Bryanston

King’s Gloucester v Cathedral School, Llandaff

King Henry VIII, Coventry v Northampton SfB

Kingswood v Blundell’s

The Leys v Bishop’s Stortford College

Loughborough GS v Bedford Modern

Magdalen College v Portsmouth GS

Maidstone GS v Sir Joseph Williamson’s

Merchant Taylors’ v Aylesbury GS

New Hall v Ipswich

Old Swinford Hospital v Solihull

The Oratory v Bloxham

Pangbourne College v Dauntsey’s

The Perse v Bishop’s Stortford HS

Plymouth College v Truro

Princethorpe College v RGS Worcester

Prior Park College v QEH

Queen’s College, Taunton v Clayesmore

QES Barnet v St Columba’s College

Reading Blue Coat v Churcher’s College

RGS Colchester v Woodbridge

Royal Hospital School v Framlingham College

Rydal Penrhos v St Davids College

Ryde v Lord Wandsworth College

Shebbear College v Milton Abbey

Sir Thomas Rich’s v Dean Close

Skinners’ v Hurspierpoint College

St Albans v Campion

St Ignatius College v St Edmund’s College

St Lawrence v Cranbrook

St Peter’s, Gloucester v Bishop Vesey’s GS

Strathallan v Glenalmond College

Taunton v Canford

UCS v Shiplake College

Warminster v Rendcomb College

Warwick v Stamford

Wellingborough v Bablake

West Buckland v Mount Kelly

Whitgift 2nd XV v Sutton Valence

Wilmslow HS v Sandbach

Wisbech GS v Ratcliffe College

Worksop College v Trent College (Schools Plate)

Worth v Reigate GS

Wycliffe College v Monkton Combe

Yarm v Newcastle SfB

 

Friday

 

Malvern College v Monmouth

Orleans Park v Wallington CGS (Schools Bowl)

Reed’s v St George’s College, Weybridge

St Anselm’s College v Wirral GS

St John’s Leatherhead v Trinity

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