The Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s U18 Cup started off in superb fashion on Thursday.
In the blazing sunshine and warm temperatures there was a smile on everyone’s faces before the tournament had even kicked off but as soon as the rugby started there was a sense that there was something really special going on.
Each and every group was unbelievably competitive and a huge number of them ended up going right down to the wire. Sedbergh, the reigning champions, opened the action in Group A and produced some utterly stunning rugby, beating Eltham College, Coleg Llandrillo, Windsor Boys and Haileybury in real style to send them in the quarter final group stages.
The winners of each of the twelve groups from the opening day go through to three quarter final groups of four teams each on day two. The winners of those three groups, plus the best runner up, then go into the semi finals, which are a straight knockout.
Those that finished second in those initial groups go through to an equivalent Plate tournament that mirrors that of the Cup.
Joining Sedbergh in Group 1 of the Cup quarter finals are Blundell’s, the Vase champions from last year who played some sumptuous rugby on their way to topping Group B. Meanwhile Dulwich College and Brighton College complete a frighteningly challenging quarter final group. Dulwich had to finish above Denstone College, Sherborne, Bedford, and Gwent to top theirs, while Brighton had the not insignificant challenge of Schools Cup finalists Warwick and a very good CAVC Rugby Academy side to deal with, among others.
Their equivalent Plate group sees Eltham College, St Joseph’s College, Denstone College, and Warwick all grouped together, in what could easily be considered a tough Cup group, let alone Plate.
Cup Group 2 again looks incredibly challenging, indeed the routes there were challenging enough in themselves. Millfield emerged top from Group H, but boy was that hard. They lost to Hartpury College but then Beechen Cliff did them a favour by beating their fellow AASE side to send Millfield through top. Be under no illusions though, all three could have made major Cup challenges.
Joining Millfield are Kirkham Grammar, semi finalists last year, who played some lovely rugby all day. Also there are Group F’s Clifton College, who had to top a fiendish pool that included Llandovery Colleg,e Cymoedd, Henley College, and a Harrow side that reached the semi finals of the Surrey 7s, no less. Hurstpierpoint College complete the group after performing exceptionally well in a really tough Group E throughout the day.
The equivalent Plate quarter final group is again worthy of being a Cup quarter final group, such is the quality, with Coleg Sir Gar, Harrow, Bishop Burton College, and Beechen Cliff all lining up.
The final Cup quarter final pool, Group 3 features a Cranleigh side that have reached the last three finals in a row. They had a tough opening pool, but Friday’s looks even tougher, joining them are one of the legendary teams of Rosslyn Park, Wellington College, who had so keep out the Schools Cup champions, Whitgift, in order to reach this stage.
Joining them are a really strong St Paul’s Catholic College side, who have been good on the circuit all season, and Hampton, who had a seismic challenge in Group I in the form of Northampton School for Boys, Neath Port Talbot , Woodhouse Grove, and Stowe.
The final Plate quarter final group is another belter, with Stamford, Northampton School for Boys, Whitgift, and Dean Close all in competition.
Overall it was a sublime day of rugby in the U18 Cup, Rosslyn Park’s flagship tournament that will yield the national 7s champion. To progress out of the groups alone is an outstanding achievement for every side, both Cup and Plate, such has been the level of competition.
It is only going to get tougher tomorrow though but, with more sun set to shine, big crowds set to gather, and some more outstanding rugby on the horizon, it is going to be another belter of a day.
Cup Quarter Final Groups:
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3|
|Sedbergh||Hurstpierpoint College||St Paul’s Catholic College|
|Dulwich College||Kirkham Grammar||Wellington College|
Plate Quarter Final Groups:
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3|
|Eltham College||Coleg Sir Gar||Stamford|
|St Joseph’s College||Harrow||Northampton SfB|
|Denstone College||Bishop Burton College||Whitgift|
|Warwick||Beechen Cliff||Dean Close|
U18 Cup Groups – Final Standings:
|Pos||Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|1||Sedbergh||Blundell’s School||Dulwich College||Brighton College|
|2||Eltham College||St Joseph’s College||Denstone College||Warwick|
|3||Coleg Llandrillo||Ivybridge Comm College||Sherborne||CAVC Rugby Academy|
|4||Haileybury||Hymers College||Bedford||John Fisher|
|5||Windsor Boys||Belfast Met College||Coleg Gwent||Exeter College|
|Pos||Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
|1||Hurstpierpoint College||Clifton College||Kirkham Grammar||Millfield|
|2||Coleg Sir Gar||Harrow||Bishop Burton College||Beechen Cliff|
|3||Oaklands College||Henley College||Samuel Whitbread||Hartpury College|
|4||St Benedict;s||Coleg y Cymoedd||Newport High||Barnard Castle|
|5||Robert Clack||Llandovery College||St Albans||St Laurence|
|Pos||Group I||Group J||Group K||Group L|
|1||St Paul’s Catholic College||Hampton||Wellington College||Cranleigh|
|2||Stamford||Northampton School for Boys||Whitgift||Dean Close|
|3||King’s College, Taunton||Neath Port Talbot||St John’s Leatherhead||Stonyhurst College|
|4||Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf||Woodhouse Grove||Ystalyfera||Brooksby Melton College|
|5||King John School||Stowe||Old Swinford Hospital||Moulton College|