PREVIEW: St Joseph’s College Rugby festival

St Joseph’s College 26th National Schools Rugby Festival.
Sam Denham. Millfield
Player of the Tou

St Josephs College 26th National Schools Rugby Festival. Sam Denham. Millfield Player of the Tournament

The St Joseph’s College Rugby Festival takes place today and tomorrow and director of sport Mark Patterson believes the hosts are in good shape to win the event.

Sixteen teams will compete over the two days with the top two teams from the four groups of four going into Sunday’s cup competition, and the bottom two playing in the Plate.

St Jo’s will be up against RGS High Wycombe, Whitchurch School (Wales) and Old Swinford Hospital (Worcester).

“We are unbeaten since the regular season began and had a nice win on Wednesday against Brentwood School, 64-10.

“But really significant was our 26-12 against Bedford Academy Under-19s, which is the equivalent of a school side beating Ipswich Town’s academy, as Bedford are at the same level in rugby.”

Also beneficial to the squad’s development was the summer trip to South Africa.

“The boys got involved in plenty of activities and experienced different cultures,” Patterson added.

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“We had the training and our fixtures and we also did a lot for charity. A total of 54 boys went and it was a great experience.”

Admission to this weekend’s tournament is free but car parking is £5 for two days and that also includes a programme which, without parking, costs £3.

“The tournament is going to be more competitive than ever,” said Patterson.

“Normally there are one or two outstanding teams but this year there will six or eight teams that will be serious contenders.”

Millfield won last year.

Saturday’s action starts at 9am with Sunday’s first game at 8.45am.

Teams: Millfield, Dulwich, John Fisher, RGS High Wycombe, RGS Newcastle, Old Swinford Hospital, Whitchurch. Portsmouth Grammar School, Belfast Rugby Academy, Solihull School, Brighton College, Merchiston Castle, Abingdon, Bedford School, Stamford School, St Jo’s.

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