Schools Rugby Weekend Preview: Saturday 23rd November

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Coach Logic

After an epic midweek of school rugby it is almost hard to believe that we are almost into another big weekend of schools rugby.


A big weekend certainly approaches though, with some massive head to heads and some key fixtures as this schools rugby season moves closer and closer to its conclusion.


It is a slightly quieter weekend though, a few sides have a rest weekend following the exertions in midweek and ahead of some massive fixtures next weekend, while others have an exeat weekend and therefore no game.


Nevertheless, it is still a very full fixture list with some cracking contests ahead, not least in our ten Focus On fixtures.


Focus On


Brighton College v John Fisher


This always feels like a special fixture and the two will be looking for a complete performance on Saturday. Both sides have shown that when things click for them this year that they are absolutely electric, so if both click then we could get a bit of a thriller. John Fisher have not won this game since 2015, however the two did meet in the shortened time format at the St Joseph’s Festival and finished up with a draw. A victory on Saturday could be sort that really peaks the confidence ahead of these last few weeks of the season, but with these two, for the neutral, this is all about the potential for some truly exciting rugby.


Prediction: Brighton College

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Bristol Grammar v Blundell’s


These are two top class sides that for some reason have flown below the radar a little this year. Only Epsom College and Clifton College have beaten Bristol Grammar this year, and Clifton only by three points, that is no mean feat at all. Blundell’s will be their toughest game since then, the Devon men have only been beaten by Epsom, Canford, and Cheltenham, and have beaten the likes of Millfield and St Paul’s. We can therefore expect a high-level contest on Saturday, one that out to be very finely balanced and could hang on just one or two moments.


Prediction: Blundell’s

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Marlborough College v Bishop Wordsworth’s


Bishop Wordsworth’s made it through to the Schools Plate quarter finals on Wednesday and their knockout run has helped spark some good form following a tricky early part of the season. They travel to a Marlborough College side that have had their own tricky patch, a couple of early victories were then followed by a stretch of defeats however in the last couple of weeks they have found their form again. So we have two sides that have returned to form and confidence, and that should mean a game with two sides open to playing some expansive rugby and looking to enjoy the afternoon as much as possible, it should make for an awesome afternoon.


Prediction: Bishop Wordsworth’s

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QEGS Wakefield v Denstone College


Two side’s that had differing midweek exertions, QEGS Wakefield reached the Schools Cup quarter finals with a defeat of Wirral Grammar, while Denstone College gave Kirkham Grammar School one of their toughest tests of the season, albeit ending up on the wrong side of the result. Saturday should be another massive game, it feels as though QEGS’ season is building and building, while right from the start Denstone have been rated highly. It will be a stern test for QEGS, only Sedbergh and Kirkham have beaten Denstone in the regular season this year but QEGS have shown over the years that a Cup run truly inspires them, it will take a strong performance to topple this Denstone side though.


Prediction: Denstone College

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RGS Newcastle v Lancaster RGS


On Wednesday RGS Newcastle put in a storming performance against Woodhouse Grove to secure a spot in the Schools Cup quarter finals, a week after a heartbreaking defeat to St Peter’s in a really thriller. That quarter final spot is the deserved reward for another remarkable season from RGS, but in Lancaster RGS they face a strong side that a really testing themselves with the strength of their fixture list. They may have lost their last three in a row, but their opponents have been Kirkham Grammar, Barnard Castle, and Sedbergh, three elite teams. RGS Newcastle are another, but Lancaster RGS are battle hardened, without doubt.


Prediction: RGS Newcastle

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Rugby v Warwick


Two sides that had exhausting yet exhilarating fixtures in midweek, Rugby scoring with the last play to beat Hampton and reach the Champions Trophy final, while Warwick held off a determined Bromsgrove fightback to secure yet another Schools Cup quarter finals berth. It would therefore not be too much of a surprise to see a few changes on Saturday, but nevertheless this has the potential to be a bit of a classic fixture between two excellent sides. Rugby proved early on in the year that they could tear sides apart, of late things have been closer yet they have proven adept at digging out a result. Warwick meanwhile have shown good form of late, winning four in a row, with two incredibly tight Cup games in that run. It should be a cracker on Saturday.


Prediction: Rugby

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St John’s, Leatherhead v KCS Wimbledon


Just 11 miles separate these two schools, though with the drive being known to take up to an hour it often does not feel like it. St John’s are a strong side this year, only Brighton College, Dulwich College, and Haileybury last week have beaten them. This will feel like a key game though, with Seaford and Epsom to come then will want as much momentum as possible heading into two tough looking games. KCS meanwhile are going well too, they have a Schools Cup regional final to play against John Fisher and, like St John’s, momentum into such a big game will be key, and a strong performance against St John’s would certainly provide that.


Prediction: St John’s

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Stowe v Bromsgrove


September was a tough month for Stowe, but since then things have looked better, winning three from five and reaching the Schools Plate quarter finals on Wednesday. That should fill them with confidence and that will be vital against a Bromsgrove side that has proven themselves to be outstanding this year. It is a Bromsgrove side that will be hurting, too, having so heartbreakingly missed out in the Schools Cup to their great rivals, Warwick, on Wednesday. Time was that this was one of the most intense games on the calendar, and given where both sides must be mentally at present, intensity feels like a sure thing on Saturday. Bromsgrove will be favourites, such is their quality, but Stowe will be giving it absolutely everything.


Prediction: Bromsgrove

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Tonbridge v Dulwich College


This writer shared a flat at university with a pair of old boys from these two schools and the sporting rivalry was huge. It should be again for this current group because these are two sides capable of some outstanding rugby. Tonbridge have been in brilliant form of late, only Cranleigh and Hampton have got the better of them and we have all seen what that pair have gone on to do. Dulwich will be another big test though, they might have stuttered in the last few weeks but a closer look tells a deeper story. They ran Wellington College, who by all measures are one of the very best in the business, closer than anyone else in the country has just a couple of weeks ago. A performance of that determination again, matched by Tonbridge, and that could leave us with a bit of a classic on Saturday.


Prediction: Tonbridge

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Whitgift v Millfield


Two of the biggest names in schools rugby go head to head in Croydon on Saturday. Whitgift have proven themselves one of the very best around this year, only Wellington College and Sedbergh have got the better of them and those two of at minimum the best three in the country, perhaps the top 2. Millfield’s season has varied more, there have been some surprising defeats but then some epic victories such as last week’s performance against Cheltenham. At their best though they are a match for anyone, and if both sides are at their best on Saturday it will be a rip-roaring match. Both have some utterly sublime players and license to play the game with real ambition. Not one to be missed.


Prediction: Whitgift

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There is plenty to look forward to on Saturday outside of the Focus On fixtures, Woodhouse Grove v Mount St Mary’s College pits two sides capable of excellent levels of performance against each other in a game that, if both get things right, could be a superb watch.


Along the road Bradford Grammar will want to build on last week’s defeat of QEGS Wakefield, nothing less than their form deserved, when they travel to Ashville College in Harrogate. Crossley Heath and Queen Ethelburga’s meanwhile go head to head in what should be a good game.


It has been a couple of weeks since Uppingham last played and they will be looking to get right back into the swing of things on Saturday when St Edward’s Oxford come to Rutland. Time was that Teddies had the upper hand here but Uppingham will start this as favourites, however with the visitors’ recent form in mind it is a game that could well hang in the balance.


Elsewhere The Perse have a tricky trip to Berkhamsted, while King’s College Taunton and Kingswood go head to head in Somerset in a game that usually produces a few fireworks. Keep an eye too on Isleworth & Syon at Gunnersbury, the visitors’ form has been exceptional this year.


Cheadle Hulme and Manchester Grammar have both put in some excellent performances this year and will surely put in a cracking game on Saturday, while St George’s Weybridge v Reading Blue Coat has the potential to be a cracking game down south.


A side that have had plenty taking real notice this year are St Paul’s, they worked so hard to a 6-0 win against Eton last week and they will have to work hard again on Saturday away at an RGS Guildford side that enjoyed an excellent win over Reed’s. Reed’s, meanwhile are looking to bounce straight back when they visit a strong Wimbledon College outfit on Saturday.


RGS High Wycombe have had some real highs this year and will be looking for another on Saturday when they welcome Solihull for what should prove to be a strong encounter. Meanwhile St Joseph’s College and Samuel Whitbread Academy go head to head in a game that is seriously tough to predict.


One of the quiet stars of the season have been Stamford, who have put in some excellent displays against sides that have proven over the course of the year to be superb. They host another side that have quietly gone about their business really well, St Albans.




Friday sees some excellent action, not least a cracking looking contest between Eltham College and Hurstpierpoint College, two sides that will see Friday evening as a real chance to mark a high water point in their season.


In Scotland the excellent George Watson’s College host Edinburgh Academy in the Schools Cup semi finals. Meanwhile back in England, Norfolk sees Norwich and Wymongham College go head to head. Over on the other side of the country a strong Katharine Lady Berkeley’s side take on King’s Gloucester.


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Schools Rugby Weekend Fixtures – Saturday 23rd November (predictions in bold):


Focus On


Brighton College v John Fisher

Bristol GS v Blundell’s

Marlborough College v Bishop Wordsworth’s

QEGS Wakefield v Denstone College

RGS Newcastle v Lancaster RGS

Rugby v Warwick

St John’s, Leatherhead v KCS Wimbledon

Stowe v Bromsgrove

Tonbridge v Dulwich College

Whitgift v Millfield




AKS Lytham v Bolton

Ashville College v Bradford GS

Berkhamsted v The Perse

Birkdale v Hymers College

Birkenhead v Wirral GS

Bishop’s Stortford HS v The Leys

Christ College v Plymouth College

Colfe’s v Coopers’ Coborn

Colston’s v The Crypt

Crossley Heath v Queen Ethelburga’s

Culford v Wisbech GS

Dartford GS v Campion

Dundee HS v George Heriot’s

Gunnersbury v Isleworth & Syon

Haberdashers’ v St George’s, Harpenden

Halliford v Churcher’s College

Kelvinside Academy v Balfron HS
KES Stratford v RGS Worcester

King Henry VIII, Coventry v Wellingborough

King’s College, Taunton v Kingswood

King’s Rochester v Chatham & Clarendon

King’s Worcester v Bishop Vesey’s GS

Langley Park v Judd

Latymer Upper v Emanuel

Leicester GS v Nottingham HS

Lenzie Academy v Morrison’s Academy

London Oratory v Merchant Taylors’

Loughborough GS v Princethorpe College

Magdalen College v KES Southampton

Manchester GS v Cheadle Hulme

Merchant Taylors’ v St Ambrose College

Portsmouth GS v City of London Freemen’s

QEH v Beechen Cliff 2nd XV

Queen’s College, Taunton v Shebbear College

Ravens Wood v Cranbrook

RGS Colchester v Ipswich

RGS Guildford v St Paul’s

RGS High Wycombe v Solihill

Richard Hale v Bedford Modern

Rydal Penrhos v Ellesmere College

Silcoates v Dame Allan’s

Sir Joseph Williamson’s v King’s Canterbury

Stamford v St Albans

Stewart’s Melville v Glasgow Academy

St Dunstan’s College v Cedars

St Edmund’s College v QES Barnet

St Edward’s, Cheltenham v Rendcomb College

St George’s College, Weybridge v Reading Blue Coat

St Joseph’s College v Samuel Whitbread Academy

St Olave’s GS v Maidstone GS

Stockport GS v Grammar School at Leeds

Strathallan v Marr College

Tiffin v Cobham International

Trinity v Skinners’

UCS v St Benedict’s

Uppingham v St Edward’s, Oxford

Watford GS v Aylesbury GS

Wellington v West Buckland

Wilmslow HS v Calday Grange GS

Wimbledon College v Reed’s

Woodhouse Grove v Mount St Mary’s College




Eltham College v Hurstpierpoint College

George Watson’s College v Edinburgh Academy (Scottish Schools Cup SF)

Katharine Lady Berkeley’s v King’s Gloucester

Norwich v Wymondham College

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