Schools Cup: Draws released for U18 and U15 Schools Cup and Vase competitions

44FABEF8-6076-45C4-96F9-B37666ECD24C

The draws for the 2021/22 U18 and U15 Schools Cup and Vase competitions have been made, a year and a quarter on from the last Schools Cup action when the 2019/20 competition was called to a halt due to lockdown ahead of the Finals.

2020/21 was written off completely, again due to Covid, making these draws undeniably difficult with no recent form or history on which to make it. It has also meant that no sides were promoted from the Vase to the Cup at U18 level for that reason.

All of the 2020 finalists were given trophies last season to recognise their efforts in getting to the final, but it is to 2019 that we have to look to assign any sort of ‘defending champion’. That has been the reality of schoolboy rugby over the last 18 months, but with this draw being made there is reason, finally, for a bit of optimism and hope.

In the Vase competitions there is certainly plenty of reason for optimism, both are well subscribed – indeed at U15 level the level of interest was so high that some sides had to be promoted to the Cup (it is worth noting that up until 31st December the U15 competitions will be played under U14 rules).

It is a different story in the Cup though where, despite the obvious mitigation of not promoting sides from the Vase, take up across both U18 and U15 competitions is painfully thin – even with the absence of the Champions Trophy for the U18s this year. With player safety and game-time management an ever increasing concern, perhaps the appetite for consistent Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday fixtures is not what it once was.

As ever, the first round losers in each Cup competition will head to the Schools Plate competition, while the losers in the first round of each Vase competition will head to the Schools Bowl.

At U18 level the Vase will kick things off on the week of Wednesday 15th September, before the Cup and Bowl first rounds take place a fortnight later while the Vase plays out round 2. Into October and on the week of Wednesday 13th it’s Round 2 for the Cup and Bowl, Round 3 for the Vase, and Round 1 for the Plate. Half term then arrives and the competitions restart on the week of Wednesday 10th November with Vase Round 4, Cup and Bowl Round 3, and Plate Round 2, ahead of the final round of regional games in each section on the week of the 24th November. There is time for one more round before Christmas, the quarter finals on the week of the 8th December, while semi finals are pencilled in for the 2nd March and the finals for the 16th March.

Over in the U15s things start a bit later, the opening round of the Cup and Vase taking place on the week of the 29th September. That’s followed by Round 2 of those and Round 1 of the Plate and Bowl of the week of the 13th October. After half term the next round takes place on the week of the 17th November, with one final pre-Christmas round on the week of the 1st December. Post-Christmas it’s a series of massive games, the regional finals on the week of the 12th January, with the national quarter finals on the week of the 9th February, semi finals and finals are again pencilled in for Wednesday 2nd March and Wednesday 16th March.

U18 Schools Cup

North A

North A looks like a strong section, the addition of Kirkham Grammar School to the draw adds in another dose of top quality to the tournament. There is also a belting tie right at the top of the draw between Lancaster RGS and Stonyhurst College. Manchester Grammar get a bye straight to the second round, while the winner of Merchant Taylors’ Crosby v Cheadle Hulme will be heading straight to round 3. Look out for the Green and Black NPro headguards of Merchant Taylors’, they have partnered together and we will have more info on the NPro and its impact in reducing concussion risk in the coming weeks.

North B

North B is a thin draw but a heavyweight one, with the likes of RGS Newcastle, Barnard Castle, Bradford Grammar, and QEGS Wakefield all absolute legends of the Schools Cup. St Peter’s York are another to watch out for, a win for them over Thomas Rotherham College sees them into Round 3. While in the bottom half of the draw two cracking fixtures between Bradford Grammar and Woodhouse Grove, and QEGS Wakefield and Grammar School at Leeds, see the winners meet for a pace in the Section Final.

Midlands A

Another thin draw that actually has been drawn the same way as North B, above. There are Cup legends in the section in the form of Warwick and Oakham, as well as Northampton School for Boys, who are fast becoming Cup legends. They face Uppingham and should Uppingham win they could face Rutland rivals Oakham in Round 2 in a game that would see the winner into the Regional Final. Look out too for Rugby School v Stowe, with the winner heading straight to Round 3.

Midlands B

Again a painfully thin draw but one with some top schools in it. Former champions Campion take on Haileybury, with the winner in a straight to the Regional Final shootout against either New Hall, or a Felsted side that looks likely to be a strong one. Look out for Samuel Whitbread Academy v Norwich too, Norwich have been on a real run in recent times, while Samuel Whitbread’s links with Northampton Saints have proved fruitful over the last few years.

London & South East A

Slightly fuller draw but still low on numbers, Harrow get a bye straight to Round 2. Cup legends Dulwich College will go straight to Round 3 if the beat Langley Park School for Boys. Former champions St Benedict’s have a similar situation if they beat Latymer Upper, and there are some massive names in school rugby littered around elsewhere, among them St Paul’s and Hampton, who could go head to head in Round 2 if they win their opening games.

London & South East B

Similarly thin in LSE B, 2019 champions and 2020 finalists, Whitgift, have a bye right the way through to Round 3 where they will face one of ACS Cobham, St John’s Leatherhead, Caterham, or The Judd. Up in the top half look out for two of Whitgift’s Croydon rivals, Trinity and John Fisher, as well as Epsom College, who enter having previously been in the now defunct Champions Trophy. They will head to Round 3 should they beat Joe Launchbury’s former school, Christ’s Hospital.

South West A

Blundell’s are another Champions Trophy school that moves over to the Cup following the abolition of the Trophy. They have a bye straight to the 2nd Round, where Ivybridge Community College, a consistent presence in the latter stages, could well be their opponents. South West A also hosts the most successful side in Schools Cup history, Colston’s, who have a tough game against Sherborne, with the winner facing the winner of the Taunton derby, King’s College Taunton v Taunton School. The bottom half features 4 heavyweight, Canford v Bishop Wordsworth’s and Sir Thomas Rich’s v Marlborough College. The winners will face each other in Round 2 and then head straight to the Regional Final.

South West B

South West B has definitely stretched the definition of South West to the extreme, but has a number of top teams in the draw as a result. Cup legends in the form of Bromsgrove and RGS High Wycombe are both included and have tricky openers against King’s Worcester and Berkhamsted respectively. RGS Guildford v Seaford College will see the winner straight to Round 3, while Monmouth have a bye to Round 2. Bloxham v Abingdon looks a tasty fixture, so too Abingdon’s neighbours Radley College versus former AASE giants Henley College.

U18 Schools Vase

North A

A busy draw that includes some big names such as Giggleswick, St Ambrose College, Shrewsbury, and former Cup semi finalists Lymm High School and Wilmslow High School. One of the massive games, though, will be the Wirral derby between Calday Grange Grammar and Wirral Grammar, not to be missed.

North B

Against most monster names in here, most notably, and surprisingly, former Cup champions Durham, who face Emmanuel College. Loughborough Grammar, Trent College, Mount St Mary’s, and Newcastle School for Boys are among the many others to look out for, and Ampleforth College v Pocklington is a potential belter of a tie.

Midlands A

Another draw with some big big sides in it, among them Oundle School and former Cup finalists Old Swinford Hospital. Look out for a potential Hereford derby between Hereford 6th form College and Hereford Cathedral School in Round 2 if they win their openers, and casting further down the line, the whole section could potentially conclude with Leicester Grammar v Langley School, a tie that would prove very very tasty indeed.

Midlands B

A section that looks pretty close overall, but pay attention to St Edward’s Oxford at the foot of the section. On the eastern side of the draw, the top half, there is plenty of intrigue but the side to keep a real eye on is likely to be Ipswich School, who have invested and recruited heavily and will likely have some serious ambitions in this competition.

London & South East A

Jumping right out from the draw is the opening round derby between St George’s College Weybridge and Reed’s, always a cracking game. For the winner it will be a source of great pride, meanwhile for the loser the Bowl will represent a real chance of silverware. Elsewhere the likes of Shiplake College, Gordon’s, and Reigate Grammar are among the big names in a strong draw.

London & South East B

A tasty looking section, with fixtures like Worth v Eastbourne College, Sevenoaks v Skinners’, and Ravens Wood v Hayes that would absolutely not look out of place in the Cup draw. Elsewhere among those to look out for are Eltham College and Sutton Valence, who have produced some fantastic sides in recent years.

South West A

Another draw with some top teams in it, among them the former Cup winners St Peter’s Gloucester, and a Dean Close side that must be among the favourites for the title. Elsewhere a head to head between Plymouth College and Truro School could be a cracker, while the likes of Exeter School, Downside, and Mount Kelly could all go well.

South West B

The thinnest of the sections, but with some real strength in there. The likes of The Oratory, Portsmouth Grammar, and Jonny Wilkinson’s old school, Lord Wandsworth College, are all big names, but perhaps the biggest of the lot in the section are Bryanston, who travel to Poole Grammar for their opener.

U15 Schools Cup

North A

North A packs a punch in the U15 Cup, Sedbergh and Kirkham Grammar are among the big hitters but all over there are some monster sides, the likes of King’s Macclesfield, QEGS Wakefield, Durham, St Peter’s York and plenty of others. Arguably the tie of the round, though, is Barnard Castle v RGS Newcastle – a potential Schools Cup classic.

North B

A bit of a Midlands feel to North B with the likes of Uppingham, Leicester Grammar, and Trent College in the top half of the section. The bottom half is definitely northern, though, Wirral Grammar and Merchant Taylors’ going head to head among the highlights, along with the likes of Cheadle Hulme, St Ambrose College, and Rydal Penrhos in the section.

Midlands A

A fairly sparse section but one that features some great sides and epic matchups, among them Bloxham v Warwick, Northampton School for Boys v Rugby, and Oundle v Stamford. With the likes of Bromsgrove, Oakham, and Old Swinford Hospital also in the section, it could be one of the best of the bunch as we start to move through the rounds.

Midlands B

A really sparse section, with most sides due a second round bye should they win their opener. That said, there are some brilliant fixtures, Norwich v Ipswich being one that could replicate a massive football derby. Bedford v Berkhamsted looks another strong fixture, while Culford v St Joseph’s College has the look of a low key classic.

London & South East A

Another fairly sparse draw that sees some top sides drawn together, Campion v Harrow is a real clash of cultures and could be an epic, while St George’s Weybridge v Gordon’s is worth paying attention to, it will be interesting to see how ACE College status in 6th form impacts Gordons’ rugby lower down the school. Elsewhere the likes of RGS High Wycombe, St Paul’s, Hampton, and Wellington College are all in the draw and will likely all fancy a shot at a deep run. St Benedict’s v KCS Wimbledon might be a fixture to keep an eye on.

London & South East B

London & South East B is a busier draw and certainly packs a punch. Hurstpierpoint College v Brighton College is a monster of a first round tie, while huge rivals Whtgift and John Fisher are on the same side of the draw, although the likes of Glyn, Reed’s, and St John’s Leatherhead first have to be overcome. Epsom College are in this section, so too Wimbledon College, Dulwich College, and Eltham College, who travel to Trinity.

South West A

Things are a little thin in the South West A section, but they certainly do not lack for quality, Bristol Grammar, Clifton College, Millfield, Blundell’s, and Ivybridge Community College are among the huge names in this section, with giants Bryanstone and Sherborne go head to head for a place straight in Round 3, where they will meet either Millfield or Thomas Hardye, for whom England U20 star Orlando Bailey was a superstar in this competition as a 14 year old.

South West B

Another section that is full of massive names in school rugby, and a section that has some monster derby games, not least Oxford rivals St Edward’s and Abingdon going head to head, with fellow close rivals Radley College also in their half of the draw. Pate’s Grammar host Cheltenham College in the big Cheltenham derby, while in the Gloucester derby St Peter’s host Dean Close. Elsewhere look out for Sir Thomas Rich’s, Beechen Cliff, a big head to head between Canford and Bishop Wordsworth’s, and another massive one between Marlborough College and Dauntsey’s, who have some high level coaching experience coming in.

U15 Schools Vase

North A

A popular draw featuring some big names, among them Ampleforth College, Pocklington, Bradford Grammar, and Giggleswick. Gosforth Academy are worth keeping an eye on too, their 1st XV play in the ACE League, Newcastle School for Boys are another to watch, they have been climbing high in recent times.

North B

Some big sides in North B, look out for teams such as Mount St Mary’s College, Lymm High School, and Wilmslow High School, but this has the look of a section where some of the sides that don’t always go deep could have a real chance to do so.

Midlands A

Midlands a sees a potential Haberdashers’ v Haberdashers’ tie in the making, with Haberdashers Adams taking on Oswestry and Haberdashers’ Abraham Darby hosting Embley, should they both win they will meet in Round 2. Moulton College will be an interesting side, their 1st XV have only just recently left the ACE League, so they have great pedigree.

Midlands B

Midlands B is a strong looking section, the likes of St George’s Harpenden, St Columba’s College, The Leys, Samuel Whitbread, Royal Hospital School, and Gresham’s among the big names. There is also yet another Haberdashers’, Haberdashers’ Aske’s, who host a good St Albans side.

London & South East A

Often a section where you can spot some real stars of the future, there are some great match ups here, among them Merchant Taylors’ v Dr Challoner’s. Elsewhere sides like Emanuel, London Oratory, and the two Bishop’s Stortford sides, High School and College, will be among those feeling they have a chance of a good run.

London & South East B

Another strong section, King’s Canterbury and Eastbourne College are among some of the oldest names in schoolboy rugby globally. Elsewhere look for the likes of The Judd, Reigate Grammar, and Worth, who have an awesome tie away at City of London Freemen’s, to be among those challenging.

South West A

Torquay Boys Grammar are a side that often mounts a challenge in this section, but the competition is fierce with the likes of Mount Kelly, West Buckland, and Wellington School all knocking around in their half of the draw. 

South West B

South West B is fierce, Portsmouth Grammar v Churcher’s College is a massive tie, while in the likes of Chosen Hill, St Peter’s Gloucester, and The Crypt there are some big names. Among them are Colston’s, the most successful side in U18 Schools Cup history, do not be surprised if they mount the sort of challenge that sees them bumped up to the U15 Cup next year.

SHARING IS CARING!
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on google
Leave a Response

Leave a Reply

Related Articles

SCHOOL RUGBY TRANSFERS

Back to top