The Oakham 7s takes place on Sunday, one of a number of major 7s competitions taking place over the weekend that should give us some major Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s form indicators.
Oakham School host the competition and there will be 24 teams competing, split into six groups of four sides each, with the top two sides from each group heading to the Cup and the bottom two to the Plate.
Last year the Oakham 7s was one of many to fall victim to the weather, leaving Bedford as the most recent champions. Indeed Bedford have dominated this competition, winning in 2017, 2016, 2014, and 2013. Only a brief foray into the tournament from Wellington College in 2015 interrupting their run.
This year though the men in red face an almighty challenge having been drawn in Group E where they have three very strong sides all lying in wait. Stamford and Uppingham, the local rivals, are both drawn in the group, as are Denstone College who enjoyed some practice matches with Sedbergh in midweek and will probably be among the favourites on Sunday.
Hosts Oakham are in Group A where King’s Macclesfield, Nottingham High School, and Loughborough Grammar School are their opposition. The hosts will certainly be strong contenders for a Cup knockout spot.
Oakham have also entered a 2nd VII, who are drawn into Group C, which has the feel of a group that really could go in any direction, with Campion, Ipswich, and Stowe the other sides in the Group.
Group F also looks interesting, will St Edward’s Oxford be inspired by having had the England team training at the school this week? Royal Hospital School, The Perse, and Trent College will certainly find out the answer to that on Sunday.
Norwich could well be dark horses for this tournament after a wonderful fifteen-a-side season. They are drawn in Group D where Norfolk rivals Langley will probably be their biggest challenger, though Leicester Grammar and Solihull, fresh from hosting their own tournament in midweek, have plenty in the locker too.
Without a shadow of a doubt though, the toughest group in the competition is Group B, where all four sides would back themselves to compete deep into this competition. Bromsgrove arrive full of confidence having dominated the Solihull 7s on Wednesday, however this group is treacherous, containing Oundle and St Joseph’s College, two excellent sides, and Rugby School, who were one of the best teams in the country in the fifteen-a-side season and who should be more than capable of translating that to the short form of the game. A mouth-watering group.
Oakham 7s Draw:
|Group A||Group B||Group C|
|Oakham||Rugby||Oakham 2nd VII|
|King’s Macclesfield||St Joseph’s College||Stowe|
|Group D||Group E||Group F|
|Langley||Bedford||Royal Hospital School|
|Leicester Grammar||Denstone College||St Edward’s, Oxford|