Schools Rugby: Weekend Preview – 8th/9th October – Final games before half term for many


For many schools, this weekend is the last big weekend before the half term break, and therefore a chance to head into that break with plenty of momentum and confidence.

For others it is the penultimate, while for many it is the final weekend before two of the biggest tournaments on the calendar, the St Joseph’s Festival and the Merchiston Castle Festival, where 25 schools will be in action.

For those schools, 16 at St Joseph’s and 9 at Merchiston, this weekend is vital in terms of building that confidence and momentum, but also hopefully in terms of staying fit and fresh ahead of an incredibly intense weekend.

Ten to Watch

We begin, as ever, with our Ten to Watch, and this week we were spoilt for choice with the fixtures available. There are a huge number of massive games that are not included – but we will be looking at them later in this preview.

Last week our readers correctly predicted all ten fixtures, so make sure you get those predictions in this weekend!

Brighton College v RGS High Wycombe

A really fascinating game to kick things off this week. Brighton had a tricky start to the season but have since really hit their stride with two fantastic victories, first over Dulwich College and then last week against a very strong Trinity side. They will be aiming for three in a row on Saturday and real momentum ahead of the St Joseph’s Festival, where they are in a group alongside Millfield, King’s Worcester, and the hosts, St Joseph’s College. RGS High Wycombe will also be there and the two could well meet on day 2. Before that though, RGS will test Brighton on Saturday. They might not have picked up a victory yet but in Seaford, Hampton, and Berkhamsted they have faced some top quality opposition. They are more than capable of fantastic rugby, as many of you will have seen on our live stream of their game at Seaford College.

Who will win Brighton College v RGS High Wycombe?

Hampton v Epsom College

Two schools that we owe a huge debt of gratitude to as they agreed to our first ever live stream back in May, and what a cracking game it was. Five months on they meet again, and while the players may be different, the quality will likely be just as high. Hampton are unbeaten so far this season, having toppled Brighton College, RGS High Wycombe, Hurstpierpoint College, and in the Cup the previously unbeaten KCS Wimbledon. Epsom will be a step up again on recent games though and are also unbeaten, having seen off RGS Guildford, St Paul’s, and Reed’s. It’s a huge test and a huge game for both, and with Hampton in action at St Joseph’s in a week, a key game for them in preparation.

Who will win Hampton v Epsom College?

Kirkham Grammar v Northampton School for Boys

Kirkham will be heading to St Joseph’s as one of the favourites next week, they reached the final in their tournament debut last time, but first they have a huge fixture against Northampton School for Boys on Saturday. Kirkham are unbeaten, winning six from six and securing a quite brilliant 33-5 victory against Denstone College last time out, but NSB will be another big test. NSB have won four from five, their only blip being a tough outing at Wellington College. This will be their biggest test since then, but with the season now in full swing, perhaps one that they will feel better equipped for now. It should be a massive game and, with it taking place at Loughborough University, a special afternoon.

Who will win Kirkham Grammar v Northampton School for Boys?

Millfield v Wellington College

Almost certainly the game of the weekend, two of the biggest names not just in British schools rugby but in Worldwide schools rugby going head to head. Not only that, but both appear to have absolutely fantastic sides this season – so much so that in our view the winner of Saturday’s encounter will go to the St Joseph’s Festival as the favourites next week. Both are unbeaten and both have played some big names so far. Millfield enjoyed strong wins over Blundell’s and Coleg Sir Gar, before last week beating Sherborne 19-5 away from home in utterly atrocious conditions – arguably the result of the season for them. Wellington College meanwhile were in similar conditions at Dulwich College, and though it became a real scrap at times, their quality took them to a 10-3 victory to go alongside victories against Seaford College, Whitgift, and NSB. Without a shadow of a doubt this is one of the biggest games of the season so far, a game that could go either way and should produce some spectacular rugby, such is the way both play.

Who will win Millfield v Wellington College?

Radley College v Tonbridge

These two sides were among the very best in the business in September, producing some brilliant rugby and some huge result. Radley College carried that into October last week, beating St Paul’s 28-17 despite missing a number of players, extending their unbeaten run to five having previously beaten Marlborough, Sherborne, Teddies Oxford, and Henley College. For Tonbridge the party paused in the wet at home to Skinners’ in a bit of a shock result as the visitors won 5-0, with Tonbridge being held up in the final play. Prior to that they had beaten St John’s, The Judd, and Eton College, and ought to go into this one still with plenty of confidence – the weather made last week a very strange week indeed, as we saw across the country.

Who will win Radley College v Tonbridge?

Rugby v Stowe

Rugby School have been hugely impressive this season, their only defeat coming against a Clifton College side that have proved themselves to be among the very best handful in the country. In last week’s atrocious conditions they survived for a victory against Marlborough College to back up performances against Oakham and Bedford, but on Saturday they will face their sternest test since Clifton. Stowe appear to have the best side they have had in a number of years and will arrive at the home of the game unbeaten, with four victories from four over Stamford, Bromsgrove, Bloxham, and Oundle, and having conceded just three trys. This will likely be their toughest test too though, so it shapes up to be an absolutely fantastic game of rugby.

Who will win Rugby v Stowe?

Sedbergh v St Peter’s, York

This year has been a bizarre one for Sedbergh, with cancellations left, right, and centre. Despite that though they are three from three after victories against Queen Ethelburga’s, Woodhouse Grove, and on Tuesday a really gritty 17-7 victory against a determined Oakham side. They will be favourites against St Peter’s, who have beaten QEGS Wakefield following defeats to RGS Newcastle and Oakham, but they will also know that this will be a huge game for St Peter’s, who will be absolutely up for it. With a rearranged fixture against Whitgift next week for Sedbergh, without a doubt their biggest of the season to date, a good performance against St Peter’s will be vital in aiming to arrive at that fixture in top shape – St Peter’s, meanwhile, will do everything they can to make it tricky.

Who will win Sedbergh v St Peter's, York?

St Paul’s v Harrow

St Paul’s put in a massive performance last week against Radley College, one of the top sides in the country, and came close. On Saturday they face another side that is among the best in the business, Harrow. Harrow haven’t played since a 7-0 defeat to Whitgift a fortnight ago, a game where the result felt somewhat against the run of play. What that means though, is that Harrow are going to be absolutely itching to get back to winning ways, making them an even more formidable opponent – remember they scored 100 points in their opening two games. St Paul’s are a good side though, and will put up a strong fight, they have played well against both Epsom and Radley and will fancy their chances of taking the spoils against a top class opponent at some point.

Who will win St Paul's v Harrow?

Stamford v Warwick

A really interesting game this one. Stamford’s season got off to a slow start with three defeats on the spin, though in context they look like they were three top class opponents now, but since then they have been flying, beating Solihull in incredible fashion and then winning a really tight and gritty derby against Uppingham last week in the wet, 16-10. Warwick have also played Uppingham, beating them 15-10, suggesting a close game between these two. They have also both played and been narrowly defeated by Denstone College, our cameras were at Warwick’s game against Denstone and it was a cracking game of rugby. All of which points towards this being a fantastic game of rugby, one that could easily go either way.

Who will win Stamford v Warwick

Woodhouse Grove v Denstone College

These two have both featured on our live streams and both put in fantastic performances, Woodhouse Grove beating Barnard Castle, and Denstone College beating Warwick. Woodhouse Grove reached our Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend after their brilliant 31-7 defeat of RGS Newcastle last time out, bouncing back brilliantly from defeat to Sedbergh. Denstone College meanwhile had a tough outing at Kirkham Grammar School following three victories on the bounce, and will be determined to bounce back quickly against a top class side – and the experience at Kirkham will have helped, Kirkham are one of the best around. It should be another incredibly competitive game between two top school sides, one that really could go either way.

Who will win Woodhouse Grove v Denstone College?

Friday 8th October

It is a slightly quieter Friday than some of the other Friday’s this season, but there are still some brilliant fixtures with some of the best around in action. Not least Monmouth, who are unbeaten and playing some seriously good rugby. They take on Malvern College on Saturday, who will be determined to be the side that breaks this outstanding Monmouth run.

Trinity are another top side and will be looking to bounce back on Friday from a defeat to Brighton College last time out. It is another tricky test for them though as they take on St John’s Leatherhead, who are a strong side themselves. Elsewhere Churcher’s College take on Reading Blue Coat, who have been in really good form this year, while in East Anglia it is Wymondham College v Woodbridge, which promises to be a spectacular occasion.

Saturday 9th October

Beyond our Ten to Watch, Saturday features some absolutely brilliant fixtures – not least Dulwich College v Bedford, the oldest fixture that these two sides have. Dulwich have had a tricky season to date but really impressed against Wellington College last week and will surely have huge confidence from that. Bedford have been flying, bar a tough outing v Rugby, and won a testing game against Eton last time out.

Whitgift are in action at Chislehurst & Sidcup as they gear up for their massive game against Sedbergh next week. The 2nd XV meanwhile travel to Sutton Valence, for what will be a really tough test, Sutton Valence have been impressive.

In midweek Whitgift won the huge Croydon derby against John Fisher, and Fisher will be looking for a quick bounce back on Saturday as they host Langley park. Elsewhere in the South East St Olave’s Grammarwelcome St Dunstan’s College and St Ignatius College host St Edmunds College, while Maidstone Grammar head to Sir Joseph Williamson’s.

One of the biggest games of the weekend will be KCS Wimbledon’s trip to Cranleigh, the third of three games that we said would be vital to KCS’ season. The first was a tough Cup encounter against Hampton, which they lost in a good game, the second their derby against Wimbledon College, which they won, now they take on Cranleigh, giants of school rugby who have beaten Brighton College and Trinity already. It will be a huge challenge for KCS, who have been stunning this season, but it will be a challenge for Cranleigh too.

KCS’ rivals Wimbledon College are at home again, this time welcoming Tiffin for what should be a good game. Reigate Grammar host Worth, again a game that ought to be a good one, while in London City of London Freemen’s welcome Dartford Grammar, Fulham Boys travel to Gunnersbury, and Latymer Upper host Gordon’s.

Reed’s have had a tricky start to the season but will be looking for a strong performance on Saturday against Eastbourne College. Meanwhile Reed’s great rivals, St George’s College host London Oratory, who appeared on our live stream last week. Elsewhere Sevenoaks travel to Christ’s Hospital, with King’s Rochester at Duke of York’s, meanwhile King’s Canterbury host Simon Langton Grammar.

Fresh from last week’s incredible result at Tonbridge, Skinners’ will took to make it two brilliant results on the road in a row when they take on a strong Hurstpierpoint College side, who may have half an eye on St Joseph’s next week. Meanwhile Caterham host Emanuel, with Eltham College at Colfe’s, while The Judd head to RGS Guildford, who really impressed against Seaford College in the Cup on Wednesday. Campion, meanwhile, host St Albans, who had a sensational victory against Haileybury last time out.

Moving West, The Oratory, fresh from a brilliant performance on our live stream last week, host Aylesbury Grammar, while Shiplake College are at home to UCS, who are looking for a big bounce back. 

Oxford sees a massive game as Sherborne head to Abingdon looking for a speedy return to winning ways after that rain soaked defeat to Millfield last time out. Abingdon’s Oxford rivals Magdalen College have a great looking game at home to a good Bloxham side, fellow Oxford school Teddies meanwhile head for a tricky fixture at Marlborough College, who performed so well in defeat to Rugby last time out.

No side has performed as well against Rugby as Clifton College though, and this magnificent side have another opportunity to impress when they travel to a Bristol Grammar side that will know they are up against it but that will be all the more determined for it.

Colston’s, who are looking good and came close against Sherborne in the Cup, are on the road at KES Bath, while King’s Bruton host Exeter School, and Clifton High welcome St Edward’s Cheltenham. Meanwhile Clifton High welcome King’s Gloucester and Mount Kelly host West Buckland.

Kingswood will host a triangular on Saturday, with Wycliffe College and Monkton Combe the visitors. Meanwhile Milton Abbey head to Ryde with Upper Chine, and King’s Gloucester travel across the border into Wales to take on Cathedral School, Llandaff.

Bryanston and Canford go head to head in what could be a massive game, so too Pangbourne College’s trip to Dauntsey’s. Keep an eye out too for Blundell’s, in action at home to Taunton School. Elsewhere Plymouth College head South to Truro School, while Wellington School are hosting Prior Park College. Wells Cathedral welcome a Downside side that have impressed.

QEH travel north for a tough looking fixture against King’s Worcester, while the very much in form RGS Worcester, who really are impressing, host Princethorpe College. Adams Grammar meanwhile take on Ellesmere College, while KES Stratford welcome The Crypt.

Bromsgrove host Uppingham in a massive game for both sides as they seek to turn good performances into results, both have impressed but maybe haven’t quite had the results to prove it. Meanwhile Solihull look to build on Tuesday’s first victory of the season when they host Old Swinford Hospital on Saturday.

One game that everyone should pay attention to is Wellingborough v Bablake & King Henry VIII Coventry. These two might not be the biggest names in school rugby, but they are quietly on fire this season and have made a real habit not just of winning, but of winning well – it should be a titanic tussle on Saturday.

There is plenty going on in the East of the country, among the great games a huge one between Berkhamsted and Eton College. Berkhamsted are looking incredibly good this year but Eton will pose a threat. St Columba’s College meanwhile travel to QES Barnet.

The Leys and The Perse both make the trip from Cambridge to Bishop’s Stortford, The Leys heading to Bishop’s Stortford College, The Perse to Bishop’s Stortford High School, while further north Bedford Modern will be hosting Loughborough Grammar.

In Suffolk Royal Hospital School take on a wounded and therefore doubly determined Haileybury, while St Joseph’s College’s final preparations ahead of their Festival take place at home against Robert Clack. New rivals Ipswich are in action at home to Gresham’s after a brilliant victory at Felsted in midweek, Feslted now travel to Oundle, who were in rampant form in the Vase this week. RGS Colchester meanwhile host Coopers’ Coborn.

In Norfolk, Norwich host Framlingham College in what should be a really good game, while moving more northwards, Nottingham High welcome Worksop College.

Moving up further yet to Yorkshire, Hymers College look to build on that brilliant result against Ampleforth last week, which put them into our Top 5 for the weekend, as they host Ashville College. Meanwhile Mount St Mary’s College welcome Giggleswick and Trent College travel up to Pocklington. It’s a Bradford/Leeds derby too as Bradford Grammar welcome Grammar School at Leeds.

Over in the North West, in form Wirral Grammar are in action at Cheadle Hulme, while the side they beat in midweek, Sandbach, are at home against Wilmslow High. Merchant Taylors, in their NPro Headguards, will be hosting Hutton Grammar, with Stockport Grammar welcome Southern tourists, St George’s Harpenden.

There is Anglo-Welsh action as Liverpool College head over to North Wales to take on Rydal Penrhos, meanwhile St Mary’s College host Birkenhead and St Ambrose College travel to St Anselm’s College.

There is also a massive game between Lancaster RGS and Barnard Castle, two sides with big reputations, and Barnard Castle coming down from the North East looking to make a big impression. Staying in the North East are Durham, who host and Ampleforth College side that will be absolutely gunning for victory after losing their unbeaten record last week.

Elsewhere RGS Newcastle final preparations for the St Joseph’s Festival see them travel to Dame Allan’s, while Newcastle School for Boys host Yarm. There is also Anglo-Scots action as Austin Friars welcome Loretto down from Scotland.

In Scotland the game of the day is surely between Merchiston Castle and Stewart’s Melville, two of the biggest names in Scottish rugby that will both be at Merchiston’s Festival next weekend. As will Strathallan, who travel to Stirling High on Saturday, while Fettes College welcome George Heriot’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 and if you are interested in us live streaming one of your games or an event then please do get in touch!

Friday 8th October

Churcher’s College v Reading Blue Coat

Monmouth v Malvern College

Trinity v St John’s, Leatherhead

Wymondham College v Woodbridge

Saturday 9th October

Abingdon v Sherborne

Adams Grammar v Ellesmere College

Austin Friars v Loretto

Bedford Modern v Loughborough Grammar

Berkhamsted v Eton College

Bishop’s Stortford College v The Leys

Bishop’s Stortford High v The Perse

Blundell’s v Taunton

Bradford Grammar v Grammar School at Leeds

Brighton College v RGS High Wycombe

Bristol Grammar v Clifton College

Bromsgrove v Uppingham

Bryanston v Canford

Campion v St Albans

Caterham v Emanuel

Cathedral School, Llandaff v King’s Gloucester

Cheadle Hulme v Wirral Grammar

Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar v Whitgift

Christ’s Hospital v Sevenoaks

City of London Freemen’s v Dartford Grammar

Clifton High v St Edward’s, Cheltenham

Colfe’s v Eltham College

Cranleigh v KCS Wimbledon

Dame Allan’s v RGS Newcastle

Dauntsey’s v Pangbourne College

Duke of York’s RMS v King’s Rochester

Dulwich College v Bedford

Durham v Ampleforth College

Fettes College v George Heriot’s

Gunnersbury v Fulham Boys

Hampton v Epsom College

Hurstpierpoint College v Skinners’

Hymers College v Ashville Harrogate

Ipswich v Gresham’s

John Fisher v Langley Park

KES Bath v Colston’s

KES Stratford v The Crypt

King’s Bruton v Exeter

King’s Canterbury v Simon Langton Grammar

King’s Worcester v QEH

Kingswood Triangular: Kingswood, Wycliffe College, Monkton Combe

Kirkham Grammar v Northampton School for Boys

Lancaster RGS v Barnard Castle

Latymer Upper v Gordon’s

Magdalen College v Bloxham

Marlborough College v St Edward’s, Oxford

Merchant Taylors’, Crosby v Hutton Grammar

Merchiston Castle v Stewart’s Melville

Millfield v Wellington College

Mount Kelly v West Buckland

Mount St Mary’s College v Giggleswick

Newcastle School for Boys v Yarm

Norwich v Framlingham College

Nottingham High v Worksop College

Oundle v Felsted

Pocklington v Trent College

QES, Barnet v St Columba’s College

Radley College v Tonbridge

Reed’s v Eastbourne College

Reigate Grammar v Worth

RGS Colchester v Coopers’ Coborn

RGS Guildford v The Judd

RGS Worcester v Princethorpe College

Royal Hospital School v Haileybury

Rugby v Stowe

Rydal Penrhos v Liverpool College

Ryde with Upper Chine v Milton Abbey

Sandbach v Wilmslow High

Sedbergh v St Peter’s, York

Shiplake College v UCS

Sir Joseph Williamson’s v Maidstone Grammar

Solihull v Old Swinford Hospital

St Anselm’s College v St Ambrose College

St George’s College, Weybridge v London Oratory

St Ignatius College v St Edmund’s College, Ware

St Joseph’s College v Robert Clack

St Mary’s College, Crosby v Birkenhead

St Olave’s Grammar v St Dunstan’s College

St Paul’s v Harrow

Stamford v Warwick

Stirling High v Strathallan

Stockport Grammar v St George’s, Harpenden

Sutton Valence v Whitgift 2nd XV

The Oratory v Aylesbury Grammar

Truro v Plymouth College

Wellingborough v Bablake & King Henry VIII Coventry

Wellington School v Prior Park College

Wells Cathedral v Downside

Wimbledon College v Tiffin

Woodhouse Grove v Denstone College

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