Schools Rugby: Weekend Preview – Penultimate weekend of the Term

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Coach Logic

This weekend is a huge weekend on the schools rugby calendar, for a number of schools it is the final game of the year, and it is also going to be a huge weekend when it comes to the final shake up of the Daily Mail Trophy.

The Trophy is, famously, tricky to predict through the season, the vagaries of points being able to go down as well as up making things tricky, but at this stage of the year with just one or two games going it starts to come into real focus.

Some of the key contenders have played their last games, cancellations for Clifton College in 3rd and Stowe in 6th mean that, unless they arrange some late fixtures, their shot at the title has finished, neither can overhaul Sedbergh’s minimum points total of 6.11. Sedbergh look the most likely side to succeed, but their game against Millfield on Wednesday will hold the key to the whole thing.

Ten to Watch

Our Ten to Watch this week therefore focuses in on those in contention for the Daily Mail Trophy and a top ten finish within it, though we looked elsewhere too, including a massive Schools Cup tie, a great looking fixture on Friday night, and a couple of key derby games.

Berkhamsted v Haileybury

A Hertfordshire derby this one and Berkhamsted have two key aims heading into this one, protecting an unbeaten record that has seen them into the quarter finals of the Schools Cup, but that also has seen them climb up to 5th in the Daily Mail Trophy table and, according to our maths, one of the strongest chances of claiming the title. In order to do so though, scoring tries and winning their last two games are going to be the key, starting with Haileybury on Saturday, and Haileybury are not going to make life easy at all. This is Haileybury’s final game of the season and they will want to finish off in style. In big games this year they have proven themselves able to punch high, their draw with Seaford College at StoneX being a case in point.

Who will win Berkhamsted v Haileybury?

Bloxham v Kirkham Grammar

Kirkham Grammar School have been utterly brilliant all season, they are unbeaten, have beaten sides from all corners of the UK, and are into the quarter finals of the Schools Cup, all while playing some brilliant rugby. They currently sit tenth in the Daily Mail Trophy table, and while the title is out of reach a really high finish is certainly within the realms of the possible. A slightly weaker fixture list than some of those around them is the reason they are below a few sides despite being unbeaten, but Bloxham represent one of Kirkham’s biggest challenges this year. The Banbury side have had some fantastic performances this year, indeed through November they scored a whopping 162 points across just three games. It should be a fantastic game and, with it being Bloxham’s last home game, a fantastic atmosphere.

Who will win Bloxham v Kirkham Grammar?

Cheltenham College v Rugby

Rugby School currently sit in eighth place in the Trophy and could yet climb higher should result go their way. They have been utterly brilliant this season, losing only to a brilliant Clifton College side and in an absolute Schools Cup classic against Oakham, who are looking inspired at the moment. On Saturday they travel to Cheltenham College, who have found some real momentum recently with some tight victories over Sherborne last weekend, 19-15, and Sir Thomas Rich’s at Kingsholm Stadium the week before, 25-22. They are going to be up for this, and with it being their final home game, Rugby are going to have to be absolutely on their game to come away with the victory.

Who will win Cheltenham College v Rugby?

Harrow v Epsom College

This game should be a cracker, Harrow sit 9th in the table with Epsom College in 12th, and with Wellington College to come next week, Harrow have got a chance of claiming the prize outright if things go their way. Epsom can’t win it, but they can climb right up the table and secure a solid top ten finish if things go their way. Above all else though, this is going to be a fiercely competitive game. Harrow reached the Schools Cup quarter finals in midweek with a victory over Hampton, and are so formidable this year, only Whitgift have got the better of them, but Epsom have been fantastic too. Only Trinity, in the Cup, and Brighton College have got past them. That Brighton College defeat was Epsom’s last game, too, and they will have had two long weeks to think about it, by kick off on Saturday their determination levels are going to be dialled up to the max and we should have a cracker on our hands.

Who will win Harrow v Epsom College?

Ipswich v Royal Hospital School

This game has no major Trophy ramifications, but it is an utterly fascinating one, an Ipswich derby that it feels as though this whole season has been building towards. Ipswich’s recent focus on rugby has borne quick results, this season they have played some top level sides and had some brilliant results, indeed their only defeat was to the outstanding Kirkham Grammar School, and even then only 13-10. Undoubtedly the level of opponent they have faced is above that of RHS, and yet RHS have done all that can be asked of them, they have gone through the season unbeaten so far, putting big totals on weaker teams and coming through the tight battles against similar opposition. Both sides have had a spate of cancellations towards the end of the season, indeed it looks like this could be Ipswich’s last game. But what a last game, a local derby with a huge amount on the line for both sides, it should be fascinating.

Who will win Ipswich v Royal Hospital School?

Sherborne v Canford (Schools Cup) – South West A Regional Final

This is a massive game, and one that Harrow will be quick to turn to once things have finished up against Epsom College. It is the U18 Schools Cup South West A Regional Final, and the winner of this fixture will be hosting Harrow at the Quarter Final stage of the Schools Cup. Sherborne have had a funny old season, winning some impressive games and losing others that they will be disappointed to have, including a tight one at home to Cheltenham last week. This will be massive though, not just because it is a huge knockout game, but also because if the lose it will be their last game of the term, and they would so dearly love to sign off for Christmas with one more game. They probably start as favourites, but Canford are definitely no pushovers, in half term they went up to Oakham on tour and won – few can claim that. They are in the same boat as Sherborne too, if the lose then that is it for this term, and they are going to be desperate for one more game. It ought to be an absolute cracker.

Who will win Sherborne v Canford?

St Benedict’s v Tiffin

St Benedict’s are surely the story of the season. From a busy but unspectacular pre-season, they have built the foundations that have taken them all the way up to second in the Daily Mail Trophy, and a season that has seen only Harrow beat them – and even that was in the Schools Cup and by a tiny 13-8 margin. With Tiffin on Saturday and Magdalen College next week, there is every chance of them staying in second, and even a slim chance of finishing right at the top. To do so though, they have to win both games and win well, and on Saturday Tiffin are going to make life really tough. Yes, St Benedict’s start as firm favourites, but Tiffin will be keen to be a nuisance, but they are going to have to reverse a trend of no victories since half term in order to do so.

Who will win St Benedict's v Tiffin?

St Peter’s, York v Woodhouse Grove

A big big Yorkshire derby between two sides that have been scrapping right at the top end in recent years. There are not too many big Daily Mail Trophy ramifications in this one, although Woodhouse Grove are sitting in 13th place and a strong victory and a few results going there way could see them break into the Top 10. More importantly though it’s a chance to get back into rhythm, a couple of cancellations and a midweek Cup defeat to Barnard Castle mean that it’s been a fair while since they were in that winning rhythm, despite having been flying all year, Barnard Castle were only the second side, after Sedbergh, to beat them this year. St Peter’s year has been tougher, but with just a couple of games left they will be keen to finish on a real high and what better way than a home win over a side of Woodhouse Grove’s ability.

Who will win St Peter's, York v Woodhouse Grove?

Wellington College v Tonbridge

One of the biggest, if not the biggest, games of the weekend as two sides playing right at the top end of the school game go head to head. Wellington College have had a ten day break since that extraordinary draw with Sedbergh, truly one of the most incredible games of school rugby that you will be see and you can watch the highlights below. Back in action and currently sitting in 7th place in the Daily Mail Trophy table, Wellington have a slim chance of claiming the title, and a very strong chance of a top 5 finish. In Tonbridge though, they face such a challenging opponent. Tonbridge will have sights on the Top 10, but more than that they will have sights on rounding off a magnificent season on a high. This is their final game, and what an absolute cracker it is, they have been one of the star sides of the season, being beaten just twice, both narrowly, and will be so determined to finish in style. This could be special.

Who will win Wellington College v Tonbridge?

Whitgift v Denstone College – Esher RFC, Friday

The final game in our Ten to Watch is the first game to take place as Whitgift host Denstone College under the lights at Esher RFC on Friday evening. Both had fixture cancellations during the week for their scheduled Saturday fixtures, but the solution they have come up with perhaps tops the lot. This should be an absolutely fantastic game. These are two excellent sides, the strength of their fixture lists perhaps means that that isn’t reflected in their results, but be under no illusions, Friday night will be a top level contest. We saw what Denstone College can do on our live stream of their victory over Warwick earlier in the season, while Whitgift have beaten Harrow and run the unbeaten Millfield, whose highlights of their victory over Clifton College on Saturday are well worth checking out, incredibly close. It is also the final game of the term for Whitgift, so they are going to be absolutely raring to go for this one, Denstone have a couple to play, but this is going to be such a big occasion. It should be fantastic.

Who will win Whitgift v Denstone College?


Elsewhere on Friday there are some other great fixtures, including a couple of Anglo-Welsh fixtures that should attract plenty of attention. AKS Lytham host St David’s College, Llandudno, while Wycliffe College, who have a massive Schools Bowl game coming up too, welcome Cathedral School Llandaff. Meanwhile in Taunton, Queen’s College go head to head with Sidcot.


Among the many huge games on Saturday, look out for Barnard Castle v RGS Newcastle, two giants of schools rugby going head to head and one that in another week would undoubtedly have been a part of our Ten to Watch. Barnard Castle have been brilliant, only one loss all year, in front of our live cameras to Woodhouse Grove, and they rectified that last week with a Cup victory over the same opponents – which sent them into the Quarter Finals. RGS have had a tougher game but are going to be really up for this one, determined to head towards a cracking finish to the season.

Elsewhere in the North East Durham host Giggleswick, in what should be a cracking game, while in Yorkshire there are some brilliant games. Ampleforth College, who look to be back in form, host Pocklington, while Bradford Grammar welcome Hill House as they look to bounce back from an incredibly tight defeat in midweek.

Grammar School at Leeds are into the Schools Plate quarter finals, where they will host a strong Stowe side, they prepare for that with a game at home against King’s Macclesfield on Saturday, though they will be without a couple of players who are in action for Yorkshire U18 on Sunday. Mount St Mary’s also have a knockout game coming up, they host St Anselm’s in the Schools Vase Quarter Finals, but first they face Crossley Heath on Saturday.

St Anselm’s, meanwhile, get ready for that away at Stonyhurst on Saturday, while elsewhere Stockport Grammar prepare for their Plate Quarter Final with Norwich at home to The Grange on Saturday. Elsewhere in the North West, St Ambrose College host Cheadle Hulme, fresh from their agonising Cheshire Cup final defeat, while Liverpool College host Birkenhead and Altrincham Grammar welcome Sandbach. Lancaster RGS v Merchant Taylors’ should be a fantastic game, while Ellesmere College welcome a really tough Bishop Vesey’s Grammar side.

Slightly further South the big games just keep on coming, and Old Swinford Hospital v Bablake & King Henry VIII Coventry is going to be a key one to keep an eye out for, both sides have had some absolutely brilliant games so far this season. Look out to for Bristol Grammar’s trip to RGS Worcester, fresh from booking their place in the Schools Vase quarter finals in mid week.

Towards Wales, Hereford Cathedral School welcome The Crypt, who had a great victory over one of Hartpury College’s sides in midweek, while crossing the border the excellent Monmouth, who ran Millfield so close on Tuesday, welcome Solihull. Going the other way are St David’s College, who travel to Scarisbrick Hall. Princethorpe College meanwhile host KES Stratford.

Slowly moving East, Oxford has a couple of big games. Malvern College are heading to Teddies Oxford for what ought to be a great contest, while the impressive Magdalen College host a Reading Blue Coat side that are absolutely flying ahead of their Schools Vase quarter final in midweek, in their last 16 tie they were sensational against Bryanston, highlights of which you can see below.

RGS High Wycombe have an exciting game lined up against Dean Close this weekend, and having performed so well recently they will fancy their chances against a Dean Close side that hasn’t quite hit the heights of last year. Over in Pangbourne College it is The Oratory who are on the road, fresh from a monster victory last week. Halliford meanwhile travel to Windsor Boys’, fresh from winning the Middlesex Cup in midweek.

There is a huge game at Eton College, who were part of an incredibly special occasion on Tuesday with Stowe in a memorial game for Edward Bush, about which we will go into more details in tomorrow’s Midweek Roundup. They are back in competitive action on Saturday though, host a Trinity side that is absolutely flying at the moment, having reached the Schools Cup quarter finals, knocking out local rivals and 3 time champions Whitgift, to set up a game at home against the unbeaten Berkhamsted.

Nottingham sees Trent College face a tricky opponent in the form of Wellingborough, who have been so good this year, while in Leicestershire Leicester Grammar welcome Ratcliffe College and Stamford look to bounce back from that tough outing against Oakham with a home game against Loughborough Grammar.

In Northamptonshire Sir Thomas Rich’s make a fairly lengthy trip over to Northampton School for Boys for what should be a decent contest, Oundle meanwhile look to bounce back from the heartbreak of being knocked out of the Vase after a draw, however the host a Radley College side that has shown form at times this season that has seen them compete with the very best in the business.

Over at Bedford School there is a massive looking game against Abingdon, at times both have put some massive performances in and at others they have struggled, it has been that kind of year for so many, but on Saturday they go head to head in what should be a fantastic game. There are some good ones over in Cambridge too, Uppingham heading down to The Leys ahead of their monster derby game against Oakham to round things off next week, while Framlingham College travel to The Perse.

Norfolk sees Felsted travel up to Norwich, ahead of Norwich’s Plate Quarter Final next week, while Gresham’s welcome Bishop’s Stortford College. Elsewhere Wisbech Grammar welcome King’s Ely, with Culford hosting Wymondham College, and New Hall hosting RGS Colchester.

Hertfordshire, as ever, has some crackers not least St Albans v Merchant Taylors’, which has all the makings of a top game of school rugby between two sides playing great stuff this year. Bedford Modern meanwhile travel to St George’s Harpenden, while St Edmund’s College take on local club side, Hertford RFC.

Moving down to London and the South East area one of the key games is going to be KCS Wimbledon v St John’s Leatherhead. KCS are currently 11th in the Daily Mail Trophy table but a strong victory over St John’s would give them a great chance of a Top 10 finish. However St John’s are going to be one of their tougher opponents this year, so they will have to be at their best. Regardless, it has been an extraordinary year for KCS, only Trinity School, who are outstanding, have beaten them in the regular season, and though Hampton beat them in the Cup it has enabled them to go on a run in the Plate that has so far taken them to the Quarter Finals. Whatever happens on Saturday, it has been a season to remember.

Another massive one, this time in Surrey, is RGS Guildford v Brighton College. RGS are on a run of three victories on the bounce, all away from home, so they return home with a real spring in their step. They face a Brighton College side that is outstanding though, one of the best around, but who will be absolutely smarting after a one point loss to Seaford last week. It could make for a bit of a classic in what is Brighton’s last game of the term.

Speaking of Seaford College, they face RGS Guildford in their final game of the season, and on Saturday they are in action at Hurstpierpoint College. Hurstpierpoint will be eager to make their mark in this derby, especially after their flashes of top quality rugby in their defeat on our live stream on Friday night against Caterham, highlights of which you can see below.

Elsewhere, look out for Caterham looking to back that victory, and their Plate win in midweek, up as they host Sevenoaks, while Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar are hosting Gravseend Grammar, and Dartford Grammar welcome Brentwood. Elsewhere, The Judd host Maidstone Grammar, with St Dunstan’s College hosting Coopers’ Coborn, and King’s Canterbury travelling over to Worth.

In London itself one of the biggest games of the weekend is going to be St Paul’s v Dulwich College, who have had some really outstanding performances this year, peppered with the odd tough outing. They will each be viewing Saturday as a huge opportunity to lay down a bit of a marker before the end of the season. Elsewhere, Wimbledon College will be looking to bounce back from their Schools Plate exit at the hands of Caterham as they welcome Campion, while Royal Alexandra & Albert host Gordon’s, and Latymer Upper welcome St Columba’s College, meanwhile Cardinadl Vaughan head to Claremont Fan Court and Isleworth & Syon are at Ibstock Place.

John Fisher and Hampton go head to head in a massive game on Saturday, Hampton looking to bounce back after their close Cup defeat to Harrow last time out. Meanwhile Eltham College welcome St Olave’s Grammar, Glyn travel to Langley Park, and Hitch Boys’ head down to St Ignatius College. Watford Grammar are taking on QES Barnet, while UCS and Mill Hill go head to head, Emanuel meanwhile look to bounce back when they travel to St George’s College Weybridge.

Sutton Valence enjoyed a close win over Skinners’ to reach the Schools Vase Quarter Finals in midweek, and on Saturday they go again at home to Duke of York’s. Meanwhile Skinners’ will look to immediately get back to winning ways as they welcome Sir Joseph Williamson’s. Meanwhile Reed’s head to Reigate Grammar and King’s Rochester are at Colfe’s.

One of the biggest games of the day is going to be a classic clash between Cranleigh and Marlborough College. It is Cranleigh’s final game of an outstanding season, where only KCS and Epsom have got the better of them, and what better way than to finish off with a strong performance at home. Standing in their way though are Marlborough College, who should have a real spring in their step after getting through to the Schools Plate quarter finals. Meanwhile on the south coast Eastbourne College host a Christ’s Hospital side that are looking to regain some form, and there is a massive derby game in Portsmouth too as KES Southampton make the trip to Portsmouth Grammar. Look out also for Shiplake College’s trip to Churcher’s College, Churcher’s have had some jaw-dropping results, but Shiplake College are a strong side and will be looking for a big performance ahead of next Friday’s game against Pangbourne College, which will be live streamed here on NextGenXV.

Heading West, Bishop Wordsworth’s are in action at home to Kingswood, while Lord Wandsworth College, fresh from reaching the Schools Bowl quarter finals, are hosting Bryanston, who missed out on a Plate in the Vase quarters on our live streamed game last week. Elsewhere Clayesmore host Monkton Combe, while Recndcomb College head to Kingham Hill.

King’s Worcester head to Gloucester to take on Pate’s Grammar, as do KES Birmingham, who are in action at King’s Gloucester. Elsewhere King’s Bruton welcome Wells Cathedral and Prior Park College head to QEH, with Blundell’s in action at Taunton School and KES Bath making the trip to Wellington School. Exeter School meanwhile welcome Truro School in a really exciting match-up.

Things are busy up in Scotland this week after the weather enforced cancellations of last weekend. One of the biggest games in the UK will be at George Watson’s College, where they host Merchiston Castle in one of the biggest school games around. Fettes College, who head to Rugby School next week, are at home to Edinburgh Academy, while high flying Dollar Academy are in action at home to George Heriot’s.

Glasgow Academy welcome Kelvinside Academy, with Glasgow High at home to Marr College. Meanwhile Glenalmond College head to Madras College and Morrison’s Academy welcome Dundee High. Look out especially for Strathallan v Stewart’s Melville, that should be a really tasty encounter, while Robert Gordon’s College play host to Queen Victoria School.


On Sunday Yorkshire Academy take on Durham U18s in a massive warmup game ahead of the U18 Academy League, which begins during the Christmas break and will run until February. The Yorkshire Academy have done wonders recently, so keep an eye out for how they get one – you can see the teamsheet for that one at the foot of the page.

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!

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Friday 3rd December

AKS Lytham v St David’s College, Llandudno

Queen’s College, Taunton v Sidcot

Whitgift v Denstone College

Wycliffe College v Cathedral School, Llandaff

Saturday 4th December

Altrincham Grammar v Sandbach

Ampleforth College v Pocklington

Barnard Castle v RGS Newcastle

Bedford v Abingdon

Berkhamsted v Haileybury

Bishop Wordsworth’s v Kingswood

Bloxham v Kirkham Grammar

Bradford Grammar v Hill House

Caterham v Sevenoaks

Cheltenham College v Rugby

Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar v Gravesend Grammar

Churcher’s College v Shiplake College

Claremont Fan Court v Cardinal Vaughan

Clayesmore v Monkton Combe

Colfe’s v King’s Rochester

Cranleigh v Marlborough College

Culford v Wymondham College

Dartford Grammar v Brentwood

Dollar Academy v George Heriot’s

Durham v Giggleswick

Eastbourne College v Christ’s Hospital

Ellesmere College v Bishop Vesey’s Grammar

Eltham College v St Olave’s Grammar

Eton College v Trinity

Exeter v Truro

Fettes College v Edinburgh Academy

George Watson’s College v Merchiston Castle

Glasgow Academy v Kelvinside Academy

Glasgow High v Marr College

Grammar School at Leeds v King’s Macclesfield

Gresham’s v Bishop’s Stortford College

Harrow v Epsom College

Hereford Cathedral v The Crypt

Hertford RFC v St Edmund’s College, Ware

Hurstpierpoint College v Seaford College

Ibstock Place v Isleworth & Syon

Ipswich v Royal Hospital School

John Fisher v Hampton

KCS Wimbledon v St John’s, Leatherhead

King’s Bruton v Wells Cathedral

King’s Gloucester v KES Birmingham

Kingham Hill v Rendcomb College

Lancaster RGS v Merchant Taylors’

Langley Park v Glyn

Latymer Upper v St Columba’s College

Leicester Grammar v Ratcliffe College

Liverpool College v Birkenhead

Lord Wandsworth College v Bryanston

Madras College v Glenalmond College

Magdalen College v Reading Blue Coat

Monmouth v Solihull

Morrison’s Academy v Dundee High

Mount St Mary’s College v Crossley Heath

New Hall v RGS Colchester

Northampton School for Boys v Sir Thomas Rich’s

Norwich v Felsted

Old Swinford Hospital v Bablake & King Henry VIII, Coventry

Oundle v Radley College

Pangbourne College v The Oratory

Pate’s Grammar v King’s Worcester

Portsmouth Grammar v KES Southampton

Princethorpe College v KES Stratford

QEH v Prior Park College

Reigate Grammar v Reed’s

RGS Guildford v Brighton College

RGS High Wycombe v Dean Close

RGS Worcester v Bristol Grammar

Robert Gordon’s College v Queen Victoria School

Royal Alexandra & Albert v Gordon’s

Scarisbrick Hall v St David’s College

Sherborne v Canford (Schools Cup) – South West A Regional Final

Skinners’ v Sir Joseph Williamson’s

St Albans v Merchant Taylors’, Northwood

St Ambrose College v Cheadle Hulme

St Benedict’s v Tiffin

St Dunstan’s College v Coopers’ Coborn

St Edward’s Oxford v Malvern College

St George’s College, Weybridge v Emanuel

St George’s, Harpenden v Bedford Modern

St Ignatius College v Hitchin Boys’

St Paul’s v Dulwich College

St Peter’s, York v Woodhouse Grove

Stamford v Loughborough Grammar

Stockport Grammar v The Grange

Stonyhurst v St Anselm’s College

Strathallan v Stewart’s Melville

Sutton Valence v Duke of York’s RMS

Taunton v Blundell’s

The Judd v Maidstone Grammar

The Leys v Uppingham

The Perse v Framlingham

Trent College v Wellingborough

UCS v Mill Hill

Watford Grammar v QES Barnet

Wellington College v Tonbridge

Wellington School v KES Bath

Wimbledon College v Campion

Windsor Boys’ v Halliford

Wisbech Grammar v King’s Ely

Worth v King’s Canterbury        


Durham U18 v Yorkshire U18 (Billingham RUFC)

Yorkshire XV:

15 Freddie Yates (Harrogate GS), 14 Oliver Aston (GSAL), 13 Dan Talaki (Queen Ethelburga’s), 12 Barnaby Horberry (Harrogate GS), 11 Caleb McConville (Ermysted’s GS), 10 William Groves (Queen Ethelburga’s), 9 Ollie MacNab (Ermysted’s GrS), 1 Henry Derbyshire (GSAL), 2 Joe Knox (Bishop Burton College), 3 Tom Goldthorpe (New College, Pontefract), 4 Harry Mathew (Settle College), 5 Ben Roscoe (Crossley Heath), 6 Lucas Walsh (Queen Ethelburga’s), 7 Tom Scholefield (Fullford), 8 Harry Daniel (All Saints).

Replacements: 16 Max Bradwell (Bishop Burton College), 17 Jacob Garrett (Harrogate GS), 18 Billy Spruyt (Pocklington), 19 Luca Goldthorpe (Loughborough College), 20 Zeno Coultas (Bishop Burton College), 21 George Hill (Doncaster College), 22 Jonah Giles (Queen Ethelburga’s), 23 Oliver Horton (Bishop Burton College).

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