The draw for the 2nd Round of the 2017 Champions Trophy has been made.
This is where the tournament really gets exciting with the six big names that missed the first round with byes now entering the fray, including all three former Champions.
The most recent champions, Tonbridge, must wait a little while though, they are drawn away against the winners of the re-arranged St John’s Leatherhead v King’s Canterbury tie, which will take place on Tuesday.
Their opponents in last year’s final, and the 2015 winners, Bedford, are given a home tie. They face Kingswood, who was so impressive in their 22-3 win at Marlborough College in the first round.
Millfield were the inaugural champions in 2014, their campaign starts away at Stowe this year. Stowe’s campaign began with a bang as they beat St Albans 47-17.
One of the big stories in this year’s Champions Trophy is that Wellington College, the triple Daily Mail Trophy champions, have decided to enter. They were given a bye in the first round but are given one of the longest trips in the competition as they travel to 2014 runners-up, Grammar School at Leeds. GSAL will be full of confidence having beaten Oakham 38-24 in the first round, but regardless, this will be one of the signature ties of the round.
One of the other huge additions this year are Bromsgrove, the 2015 and 2016 U18 Schools Cup Champions. They beat Monmouth by an impressive 34-5 margin in the first round and now travel to RGS Guildford for the second round. RGS were equally impressive in their opener, beating Caterham 38-0.
Arguably the most impressive performance of the first round though was Dulwich College’s 43-12 demolition of St Paul’s. Dulwich’s reward is a tricky away tie at Berkhamsted, who beat Radley College 32-17 in their opener and can count on former England fly-half Andy Goode for a spot of guidance.
Eton College was another side to be given a first-round bye. They open their campaign with a tough away tie at Bryanston, who were involved in surely the game of the opening round on Thursday afternoon when they beat Bristol Grammar School 47-37 in a real thriller, the sort of game that the Champions Trophy has become famous for.
The final game in the second round is already somewhat of a Champions Trophy classic, and certainly, in the build-up phase it will be the tie of the round; Epsom College v Blundell’s. These two sides seem to be drawn to each other in this tournament. This will be their third meeting in the competition, Epsom College has won both, including the 2015 semi-final, but they have both been absolute thrillers that could have gone either way.
They are now drawn for the third time, and once again it is Epsom that are the home side. Blundell’s ought to have confidence though, Epsom’s tournament history may have given them a first-round bye but Blundell’s are playing well so far this season and enjoyed a strong 18-7 win away at Sherborne in the opening round.
Whatever happens in any of the games, one thing that this tournament has most certainly shown is that it always provides huge entertainment and even more drama. Few games will be simple with sides now just a few rounds away from seeing Allianz Park on the horizon.
Champions Trophy Round 2 Fixtures (to be played w/c 9th October):
Bedford v Kingswood
Berkhamsted v Dulwich College
Bryanston v Eton College
Epsom College v Blundell’s
Grammar School at Leeds v Wellington College
RGS Guildford v Bromsgrove
St John’s Leatherhead/King’s Canterbury v Tonbridge
Stowe v Millfield
Champions Trophy Round 1 Info:
St John’s Leatherhead v King’s Canterbury – Tuesday 3rd October
Bromsgrove 34-5 Monmouth
Bryanston 47-37 Bristol Grammar School
Dulwich College 43-12 St Paul’s
Grammar School at Leeds 38-24 Oakham
Marlborough College 3-22 Kingswood
Radley College 17-32 Berkhamsted
RGS Guildford 38-0 Caterham
Sherborne 7-18 Blundell’s
Stowe 47-17 St Albans
Bedford, Epsom College, Eton College, Millfield, Tonbridge, Wellington College.
Round 2 – w/c 9th October
Quarter Finals – w/c 6th November
Semi-Finals – w/c 20th November
Final – Wednesday 6th December