2019 St Joseph’s Festival Preview and Information

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Coach Logic

The 2019 St Joseph’s Festival takes place this weekend (19th and 20th October), with sixteen top teams gathering in Suffolk.


Established in 1986, the Festival is one of the most prestigious prizes in all of schools rugby, and the first major piece of silverware that is available each season.


RGS Newcastle are the reigning champions after their stunning set of performances last year, culminating in their 17-9 defeat of Millfield in the final. RGS should be strong again this year, with England prop Phil Brantingham among their contingent, while Millfield should also be another contender, 2018 Player of the Tournament Dan John, the Wales U18 full back, will be among their ranks once again.


There are two new teams in the tournament and they are two spectacularly strong sides, Wellington College and Kirkham Grammar School. Each has a reputation as being among the best in the entire country, and both arrive with unbeaten records.


Elsewhere there are plenty of returning stars, recent champions such as Hampton and Brighton College, an RGS High Wycombe side that has already claimed the scalps of Millfield and Brighton this year, legendary sides of school rugby such as QEGS Wakefield, Dulwich College, and John Fisher, as well as sides with some awesome recent form over the last couple of years like Denstone College, St Peter’s York, and Hurstpierpoint College, plus the increasingly impressive Eltham College, and Welsh side Whitchurch High School.


Then there are the hosts, St Joseph’s College, who last won the tournament back in 2013 under the leadership of a certain Lewis Ludlam. For the first time in a long time Ludlam will not be there to support the Festival this weekend though, he has a pretty good excuse though, just the small matter of a Rugby World Cup quarter final.


For the hosts this tournament is everything. Expect hundreds, if not thousands, to back into the Ipswich school’s grounds this weekend. Every time the men in red and white take to the field it will be a wall of noise. It is unquestionably one of the great occasions in all of school sport.


The Format


The sixteen teams are drawn into four groups of four, Saturday’s action kicks off at 9am with the last games at 4.20pm. Each games lasts 30 minutes and the top two teams from Saturday’s games qualify for Sunday’s Cup groups, meanwhile the bottom two in each groups on Saturday head to the Plate groups on Sunday.


Sunday’s action starts a little earlier, 8.35am, there are two Cup groups of four teams with the winner of each meeting in the Cup final. The Plate competition follows the same format, with the winner of each playing in the Plate final. Games on Sunday last 25 minutes to accommodate the extra fixture for the sides in the two finals.


Prior to all of that though will be the live Friday night preview show, where we will be among the guests previewing the tournament from the traditional opener to the weekend, the Old Boys game, from 8pm.


Live Stream


Every games across both pitches over the two days will be live streamed by CheersMate Productions and we will have the links to those streams embedded both in this article and on the homepage of our website and across social media as soon as they are available.


First of all though there will be the Live Preview show, hosted by Joe Byrnes with our own Angus Savage as his guest, with plenty of other special guest to feature as well!


Preview Show

Pitch 1, Day 1

Pitch 2, Day 1


The Groups


We have a group by group breakdown available here, for now we just glance through the groups in this piece.


Group 1: QEGS Wakefield, Dulwich College, Hampton, Kirkham Grammar

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Group 2: Brighton College, Denstone College, St Peter’s York, John Fisher

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Group 3: Wellington College, Whitchurch High, Millfield, Hurstpierpoint College

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Group 4: RGS Newcastle, Eltham College, St Joseph’s College, RGS High Wycombe

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Group 1 sees three sides with superb records in this competition, and indeed outside it, joined by one of the big new hitters, Kirkham Grammar. It is also the group that will kick the tournament off on Saturday at 9am with Hampton v Kirkham and Dulwich v QEGS.


Group 2 includes former champions in the form of Brighton College and John Fisher and two sides that can challenge for titles in Denstone and St Peter’s. Brighton v Denstone at 9.40am on Saturday could be the key game.


Group 3 sees the other high profile new entrants, Wellington College, in with the most successful side in tournament history, Millfield. Their 1pm kick off will be one of the biggest occasions of the day. Hurst and Whitchurch are more than capable of upsetting the apple cart though.


Group 4 will have a blockbuster tie as the champions, RGS Newcastle, take on the hosts, St Joseph’s, at 1.40pm on Saturday. Look out too for RGS High Wycombe, who have victories over Millfield and Brighton this year, and Eltham reached the Plate final last year. Look out too for the sheer scale of crowd for St Joseph’s games.


The Schedule


Saturday – Day 1, Qualifying Groups


Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
QEGS Wakefield Brighton College Wellington College RGS Newcastle
Dulwich College Denstone College Whitchurch High School Eltham College
Hampton St Peter’s School, York Millfield St Joseph’s College
Kirkham Grammar John Fisher Hurstpierpoint College RGS High Wycombe



Pitch 1 Time & Group Pitch 2
Hampton v Kirkham Grammar 9.00am

Group 1

Dulwich College v QEGS Wakefield
John Fisher v St Peter’s York 9.40am

Group 2

Brighton College v Denstone College
Hurstpierpoint College v Millfield 10.20am

Group 3

Wellington College v Whitchurch HS
RGS High Wycombe v St Joseph’s College 11.00am

Group 4

Eltham College v RGS Newcastle
Hampton v QEGS Wakefield 11.40am

Group 1

Dulwich College v Kirkham Grammar
Brighton College v St Peter’s York 12.20pm

Group 2

Denstone College v John Fisher
Millfield v Wellington College 1.00pm

Group 3

Hurstpierpoint College v Whitchurch HS
RGS Newcastle v St Joseph’s College 1.40pm

Group 4

Eltham College v RGS High Wycombe
Dulwich College v Hampton 2.20pm

Group 1

Kirkham Grammar v QEGS Wakefield
Denstone College v St Peter’s York 3.00pm

Group 2

Brighton College v John Fisher
Millfield v Whitchurch HS 3.40pm

Group 3

Hurstpierpoint College v Wellington College
Eltham College v St Joseph’s College 4.20pm

Group 4

RGS High Wycombe v RGS Newcastle


Sunday – Day 2, Cup and Plate Groups & Finals


Cup A Cup B Plate W Plate X
Winner Group 1 Winner Group 3 Third Group 1 Third Group 3
Winner Group 2 Winner Group 4 Third Group 2 Third Group 4
Second Group 3 Second Group 1 Fourth Group 3 Fourth Group 1
Second Group 4 Second Group 2 Fourth Group 4 Fourth Group 2


Pitch 1 Time & Group Pitch 2
1 v 4 08.30am

Plate W

2 v 3
1 v 4 9.05am

Cup A

2 v 3
1 v 4 09.40am

Plate X

2 v 3
1 v 4 10.15am

Cup B

2 v 3
1 v 3 10.50am

Plate W

2 v 4
1 v 3 11.25pm

Cup A

2 v 4
1 v 3 12.00pm

Plate X

2 v 4
1 v 3 12.35pm

Cup B

2 v 4
1 v 2 1.10pm

Plate W

3 v 4
1 v 2 1.45pm

Cup A

3 v 4
1 v 2 2.20pm

Plate X

3 v 4
1 v 2 2.55pm

Cup B

3 v 4
Winner W v Winner X 3.30pm

Plate Final

Winner A v Winner B 4.15pm

Cup Final


*Pitches subject to change – likely that all St Joseph’s College games will be on Pitch 1.


Past Winners:




2018 – RGS Newcastle

2017 – Brighton College

2016 – Cranleigh

2015 – Hampton

2014 – Millfield

2013 – St Joseph’s College

2012 – Millfield

2011 – Dulwich College

2010 – St Joseph’s College

2009 – John Fisher

2008 – SGS Filton College




2018 – Hampton

2017 – QEGS Wakefield

2016 – Hampton

2015 – Denstone College

2014 – Brighton College

2013 – Portsmouth GS

2012 – RGS High Wycombe

2011 – Bedford

2010 – RGS High Wycombe

2009 – Dulwich College

2008 – Bridgend


Player of the Tournament


2018 – Dan John (Millfield)

2017 – Toby Smith (Brighton College)

2016 – Marcus Smith (Brighton College)

2015 – Roman Malin-Hiscock (Hampton)

2014 – Zach Mercer (Merchiston Castle)

2013 – Lewis Ludlan & Dan Lewis (St Joseph’s College)

2012 – Sam Denham (Millfield)

2011 – Max Northcote-Green (Millfield)

2010 – Alex Day (St Joseph’s College)

2009 – Chris Smart (Bedford)

2008 – Jonathan Joseph (Millfield)

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