Schools Rugby: Weekend Preview – 24/25th September – Early frontrunners go head to head

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Coach Logic

As a huge midweek of school rugby draws to a close, attention quickly turns to the weekend – there’s no chance to rest in the world of schoolboy rugby!

It has been a massive midweek fixture list, with a huge number of sides playing games that would ordinarily be Saturday blocks in the midweek window instead. In the main this is due to exeat weekends at a number of the big boarding schools, including Haileybury, who faced Seaford College in an epic contest with the most dramatic of endings, highlights of which you can see below.

That trend continues with a bumper fixture list on Friday night that includes some of the biggest names in schools rugby, among them Warwick v Denstone College, which you will be able to watch live on NextGenXV at 6.30pm tomorrow night through the link below. As Friday rolls into Saturday, you could be forgiven for thinking that it might be a slightly thin looking fixture list, given those not playing, and yet it too is packed to the brim with top quality school rugby fixtures. It’s set to be a bumper weekend!

Ten to Watch

As ever, we begin our weekend preview with our Ten to Watch, ten games that we will be paying a particularly close eye on and on which you can make your predictions by the voting buttons below.

Brighton College v Dulwich College

A big clash in any year, but perhaps even bigger this year as both look to get their feet properly tucked in under the desk in the opening stages of this season. Brighton College have endured a tricky start, losing to both Cranleigh and Hampton. They were close in both games and there is plenty to build on, but those in the shirt will undoubtedly be itching to get that first victory of the campaign and really start gain momentum. The only trouble, Dulwich College will be feeling exactly the same way. Their first ‘official’ game of the season was last week and they came up against an absolutely rampant Harrow side, about who we will hear plenty later, they will want to quickly bounce back from that, which could leave us a classic on Saturday with both sides so eager.

Who will win Brighton College v Dulwich College?

Bromsgrove v Berkhamsted

From the moment the results came in last weekend, this fixture was one that we were eyeing up. Berkhamsted were utterly irresistible against Abingdon, winning 54-0 and earning a place in our Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend in the process, which you can see at the foot of this section. However, it is the only game they have played so far, which makes this second outing all the more intriguing as we try to get a sense of just how good this side is. It is a similar tale for Bromsgrove, who lost to a Stowe side last week to seem to be flying early on this year. Although Bromsgrove had beaten Warwick and Cheltenham in a triangular the week before, they are never quite the same, which again all leads to an intriguing game on Saturday. Not only should we learn a huge amount about both Bromsgrove and Berkhamsted but also, by proxy, Stowe and Abingdon. It is not to be missed.

Who will win Bromsgrove v Berkhamsted?

Epsom College v Reed’s

Two sides that we had the pleasure of live streaming back in the May window and that played such a huge part in helping to spread that feeling of euphoria of having rugby back at that time. On Saturday they meet at Epsom College and it ought to be a really good game of school rugby. Epsom have started the season well, a good win at RGS Guildford followed by a thrilling and tense victory over what appears to be a strong St Paul’s side. For Reed’s the season started with a shock as KCS Wimbledon ran riot. Since then though they have responded brilliantly with back to back victories over old rivals St George’s Weybridge, and Hurstpierpoint College. Add to that the fact that KCS have looked utterly rampant in every game so far, and suddenly that opener looks a far easier blow to take too. It should be a fantastic atmosphere at Epsom on Saturday and a top game of school rugby.

Who will win Epsom College v Reed's?

Kirkham Grammar v Lancaster RGS

Early signs are that Kirkham Grammar School once again have a top notch outfit, having been on fire against Wirral Grammar in their opener and then making the trip down to Sir Thomas Rich’s and coming home with the victory. Back at home they will want to lay down a marker against a Lancaster RGS side that has been strong in recent years, ahead of a monster October that includes Denstone College, Northampton School for Boys, and the St Joseph’s Festival. Lancaster RGS are not going to lie down and roll over though. As said, they have been consistently strong for a while and have started this season well, a solid 31-10 victory on the road at King’s Macclesfield last week. They will be eager to give a really good account of themselves.

Who will win Kirkham Grammar v Lancaster RGS?

RGS High Wycombe v Hampton

These two have actually already met this season. The opening weekend saw Abingdon host both in a Triangular, with RGS taking the spoils 7-0. It was a really close contest, albeit in a shortened time period, but it would appear to set the scene for a close encounter on Saturday. Since then each has played one more game, Hampton beating Brighton College with a fantastic performance at Esher RFC, while RGS High Wycombe put in a spirited display with half their pack missing in front of our live cameras at Seaford College, albeit falling short against such a physical side in the end. With any luck, the two will run each other close again on Saturday, as they have in some classic encounters in the past.

Who will win RGS High Wycombe v Hampton?

Sedbergh v Woodhouse Grove

It has been a strange old start to the season for Sedbergh, with games cancelled against both Whitgift and RGS Newcastle, leading them to a hastily arranged fixture against Queen Ethelburga’s on Monday to get some rugby into the legs. The men in brown were, predictably, sublime, beating their hosts 52-7 but more than anything they will be grateful for the match practice as they head into Saturday’s game at Wharfdale RFC against a Woodhouse Grove side that could cause real trouble. Woodhouse Grove have been pretty consistently good for a good few years, but in their opening game on Saturday, in front of our live cameras, they really set their stall out with a 17-12 victory over Barnard Castle, a side that have shown huge promise. It all sets up for a potentially classic contest on Saturday, and one that will teach us plenty about both.

Who will win Sedbergh v Woodhouse Grove?

St Peter’s, York v QEGS Wakefield

Another seriously competitive looking contest in Yorkshire between two sides that have often found themselves right up at the sharp end of schools rugby. This year has been a tricky start for St Peter’s though, with defeats to RGS Newcastle and Oakham. However early signs are that those are two strong sides and that keeping those games close reflects well on St Peter’s. QEGS have less game time under their belts, just the one game against King’s Macclesfield where they earned a strong victory. Saturday will be another step up though and a game that ought to teach us plenty about both of these sides.

Who will win St Peter's, York v QEGS Wakefield?

Warwick v Denstone College

Our live game this weekend comes on Friday night at Warwick as they host Denstone College, and what a game it should be. We have previewed the game elsewhere, but suffice to say it should be an superb encounter between two of the top school sides in the country over the last few years. It has been a busy start for Denstone, who followed defeat to Northampton School for Boys with victories over Solihull and Stamford to leave them feeling confident heading into Friday night. Warwick meanwhile have less game time, just a competitive triangular with Bromsgrove and Cheltenham College before a strong contest against Uppingham, which they won 15-10. Friday night should be a chance for both to lay down a marker and for a fantastic occasion celebrating schools rugby.

Who will win Warwick v Denstone College?

Wellington College v Seaford College

Fresh off the back to two live streamed games in a row, including Wednesday night’s epic with Haileybury, Seaford College make the trip to Wellington College for what will undoubtedly be their toughest test yet. In simplistic terms it could become a bit of a battle between the power of Seaford College and the fluent backline of Wellington College, but that would be too simplistic. Wellington College have been on fire early on this year, rampant against Northampton School for Boys before showing their skill and grit against a strong Whitgift side last week, already the perennial high achievers are looking in that bracket again. Seaford have threats though, as they showed against RGS High Wycombe, and if the ball can stick as it did not against Haileybury, they can cause problems for the side that lifted the Champions Trophy and St Joseph’s Festival in the last pre-pandemic school season.

Who will win Wellington College v Seaford College?

Whitgift v Harrow

Potentially the game of the weekend, these are two sides that are looking like they are going to be among the top handful come the end of the season. Harrow have scored 100 points in two games, conceding just two tries, and against respected names too in Hurstpierpoint College and Dulwich College. Much was expected of them pre-season, and they have more than lived up to it in the opening two weeks. Week 3 represents a step up though, Whitgift present a different sort of challenge, and though their game v Sedbergh was called off they already have silverware to their name in the form of the President’s Cup, and, unlike Harrow, matchday experience of a game on this level after last week’s close defeat at Wellington College. This is an absolutely massive game.

Who will win Whitgift v Harrow?

Friday 24th September

In addition to Sedbergh v Woodhouse Grove and our live streamed game between Warwick and Denstone College, there are plenty of other massive games doing in on Friday. Not least of which is KCS Wimbledon v St George’s College, Weybridge. KCS have been stunning, absolutely raining in tries in their opening couple of fixtures, including against Reed’s, whom St George’s lost to in the Vase. So the question will be, can KCS keep up this extraordinary form, and can St George’s go better than old rivals Reed’s.

There is action elsewhere in London, too. Trinity are in action against Langley Park, where the Croydon men will be looking to reproduce their President’s Cup form. Meanwhile the impressive St Ignatius College take on Enfield Grammar.

Over in Wales, Monmouth, so impressive last time out v Cheltenham College, host St Peter’s Gloucester in a game that ought to be a massive occasion, so too should the final game on Friday, back in England, as Wilsmlow High School and Lymm High School meet, two state sides that have produced some fantastic teams through the year.

Saturday 25th September

On Saturday, sticking in the North West for now, one of last week’s Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend, Wirral Grammar School, will be looking to build on that fantastic performance when they host St Anselm’s College. Meanwhile the side that Wirral beat, Stockport Grammar will be looking to bounce back as fast as possible when they welcome St Ambrose College, who will have had a boost this week when old boy Raffi Quirke was named in the England squad.

North Wales sees Rydal Penrhos welcome Oswestry, while back in the North West of England King’s Macclesfield v Merchant Taylors’ could be one of the games of the day in the area. Elsewhere Manchester Grammar travel to Bolton and Sandbach host Cheadle Hulme.

The North East has an intriguing game as Durham, so often a top side, welcome Newcastle School for Boys, who had an absolutely fantastic team in the last full year of school rugby. It will be fascinating to see how they go, while along the road Dame Allan’s v Austin Friars should also be a good game.

Meanwhile in Yorkshire Hymers College and Bradford Grammar go head to head, two sides with proud histories that will be absolutely itching to secure their first victories of the season. Along the road in Harrogate, Ashville College welcome Pocklington for what should be a strong contest.

Moving into the Midlands, where Loughborough Grammar School head to Bishop Vesey’s, and Stamford and Solihull go head to head in a beast of a game, both have played an been edged out by Denstone College, so already have plenty of shared tales going into this one and will be eager to go well.

Bloxham are back in the saddle after last week’s games were called off, they host Bedford Modern, while Princethorpe College have the tricky task of a trip to what appears to be an incredibly energised Bablake & King Henry VIII side.

Heading further West, Old Swinford Hospital, who have looked good this year, are hosting Ellesmere College, while in Oxford there is a cracking derby between St Edward’s Oxford and Magdalen College, a game that looks like it should be a really even contest this year and from which we should be getting regular updates.

Drifting back further East again, Pangbourne College, whose players have been full of enthusiasm this year, are hosting Aylesbury Grammar, while Windsor Boys’ welcome Latymer Upper.

Over in the East Midlands there is a cracking battle between two of the strongest state sides in recent years in the shape of former Schools Cup finalists, Northampton School for Boys, and former Schools Cup winners, Campion. Meanwhile Hertfordshire has plenty of action, St George’s Harpenden welcoming London Oratory, who will be looking to bounce back after a tough outing last time, with St Albans hosting St Benedict’s, in what should be a top game of rugby.

Elsewhere in the area, Bishop’s Stortford College has a massive game as they welcome Norwich to town, a side that have produced a number of players that have joined the professional ranks in recent times. Mill Hill are welcoming Haberdashers’ while QES Barnet host UCS, Richard Hale, meanwhile, are in action at Coopers’ Coborn.

St Joseph’s College’s preparations for their Festival next both continue with a trip to New Hall, so far each of their games have resulted in a share of 60 points for each side, so fingers crossed for a thriller again at New Hall, along the road some of those involved in those thrillers, Royal Hospital School and RGS Colchester, go head to head. Meanwhile Wisbech Grammar make the trip to King’s Ely.

In and around London there are some cracking games, John Fisher hosting Wimbledon College in a real clash of two of the capitals top state sides. Similarly City of London Freemen’s, fresh from a good performance in midweek, will host Eltham College, while Gravesend Grammar welcome St Olave’s Grammar, with Grey Court heading to Claremont Fan Court.

St John’s Leatherhead host Hurstpierpoint College in a game that has the potential to be an absolute cracker, two sides that will be eager for a strong performance and a good result and that can play some top rugby. Along the road more centrally, Emanuel welcome a strong RGS Guildford with Halliford, who are full of beans, heading to Tiffin.

Kent sees some strong games, not least Caterham v Reigate Grammar, two sides with plenty of prestige. Meanwhile look out for Maidstone Grammar’s trip to Skinners, similarly Ravens Wood’s game at The JuddChislehurst & Sidcup Grammar host Sir Joseph Williamson’s, and Wallington County Grammar head over to Dartford Grammar.

Down on the south coast there are a pair of cracking games, KES Southampton welcome Lord Wandsworth College, who have looked strong, while Portsmouth Grammar welcome Churcher’s College.

Over in the South West arguably the headline game is Sir Thomas Rich’s v King’s Worcester, Tommies are searching for their first win but have played two of the best around in Clifton and Kirkham, while King’s Worcester arrive bouncing with confidence. King’s local rivals RGS Worcesters are in action in Gloucestershire too, facing Pate’s Grammar.

Only one of the three big schools in Taunton are at home, Taunton School welcome QEH, while Queen College Taunton head to West Buckland, and King’s College Taunton head for a game that could well be brilliant at Wellington School.

Elsewhere there is a massive game in Devon as Plymouth College host Exeter School, a game that should be absolutely fantastic. As should Blundell’s trip all the way down to Truro School as the Crediton outfit seek to bounce back from defeat to Millfield. Bryanston are in action at home to Clayesmore, with Bristol Cathedral welcoming Clifton HighMount Kelly meanwhile make the trip to Kingswood.

Scotland is looking fairly quiet this week, Stewart’s Melville’s trip to George Watson’s College standing out as the pick of the bunch, a serious clash between two of the biggest names in Scottish School Rugby. Stewart’s Melville’s seconds are in action at George Heriot’s, while Edinburgh Academy welcome Dundee High School and Morrison’s Academy travel to St Columba’s.

If you have any photos, video, reports, or any other content from the week’s school rugby then please do send it in via our social media channels or admin@nextgenxv.com and if you are interested in us live streaming one of your games or an event then please do get in touch!

Friday 24th September

KCS Wimbledon v St George’s, Weybridge

Langley Park v Trinity

Monmouth v St Peter’s Gloucester

Sedbergh v Woodhouse Grove

St Ignatius College v Enfield Grammar

Warwick v Denstone College

Wilmslow High v Lymm High

Saturday 25th September

Ashville Harrogate v Pocklington

Bablake & King Henry VIII, Coventry v Princethorpe College

Bishop Vesey’s Grammar v Loughborough Grammar

Bishop’s Stortford College v Norwich

Bloxham v Bedford Modern

Bolton v Manchester Grammar

Brighton College v Dulwich College

Bristol Cathedral School v Clifton High

Bromsgrove v Berkhamsted

Bryanston v Clayesmore

Caterham v Reigate Grammar

Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar v Sir Joseph Williamson’s

City of London Freemen’s v Eltham College

Claremont Fan Court v Grey Court

Coopers’ Coborn v Richard Hale

Dame Allan’s v Austin Friars

Dartford Grammar v Wallington County Grammar

Durham v Newcastle School for Boys

Edinburgh Academy v Dundee High

Emanuel v RGS Guildford

Epsom College v Reed’s

George Heriot’s v Stewart’s Melville 2nd XV

George Watson’s College v Stewart’s Melville

Gravesend Grammar v St Olave’s Grammar

Hymers College v Bradford Grammar

John Fisher v Wimbledon College

KES Southampton v Lord Wandsworth College

King’s Ely v Wisbech Grammar

King’s Macclesfield v Merchant Taylors’, Crosby

Kingswood v Mount Kelly

Kirkham Grammar v Lancaster RGS

Mill Hill v Haberdashers’

New Hall v St Joseph’s College

Northampton School for Boys v Campion

Old Swinford Hospital v Ellesmere College

Pangbourne College v Aylesbury Grammar

Pate’s Grammar v RGS Worcester

Plymouth College v Exeter School

Portsmouth Grammar v Churcher’s College

QES Barnet v UCS

RGS High Wycombe v Hampton

Royal Hospital School v RGS Colchester

Rydal Penrhos v Oswestry

Sandbach v Cheadle Hulme

Sir Thomas Rich’s v King’s Worcester

Skinners’ v Maidstone Grammar

St Albans v St Benedict’s

St Columba’s v Morrison’s Academy

St Edward’s, Oxford v Magdalen College

St George’s Harpenden v London Oratory

St John’s, Leatherhead v Hurstpierpoint College

St Peter’s, York v QEGS Wakefield

Stamford v Solihull

Stockport Grammar v St Ambrose College

Taunton v QEH

The Judd v Ravens Wood

Tiffin v Halliford

Truro v Blundell’s

Wellington College v Seaford College

Wellington School v King’s College, Taunton

West Buckland v Queen’s College, Taunton

Whitgift v Harrow

Windsor Boys v Latymer Upper

Wirral Grammar v St Anselm’s College

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