The 2020 Shiplake 7s takes place on Sunday 2nd February, featuring 16 top schools in one of the first big 7s tournaments on the road to the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s.
The sixteen sides are divided into four groups of four, and no matter where each team finishes, they will be competing for a trophy. The Group winners will head to the Cracknell Cup semi finals, named after Shiplake College old boy and former England 7s star, Chris Cracknell. Winners of those semi finals will reach the Cup final, with the losers playing in the Plate final.
Those finishing second in the groups head to the Shield semi finals, winners in those games playing in the Shield final, losers in the Bowl final. Third in the groups meanwhile head to the Trophy semi finals, while those finishing bottom of the groups head to the Vase semi finals.
Adverse weather saw last year’s tournament cancelled, leaving Cheltenham College unable to defend the title they won back in 2018. However they are back again in Group 2 this year, alongside Bedford, who won the tournament in 2016 and 2017. Joining them in Group 2 are Haileybury and Eastbourne College, two sides that will be sure to play some exciting rugby.
Hosts Shiplake College are in Group 1, they lifted the Shield back in 2018. The have a tough challenge ahead of them, Marlborough College and Downside should provide plenty of competition, but it is Clifton College that will surely draw plenty of attention after a brilliant fifteen-a-side season, can they translate that form to the shortened format of the game?
Over in Group 3 are another of the sides to win silverware back in 2018, Radley College, who won the Bowl. They are drawn alongside Worth and two sides that will really fancy a crack at this competition in Seaford College and St Paul’s. Seaford, incidentally, really get the ball rolling for the schools 7s season with their Seaford 7s tournament the first major competition of the term on Sunday 26th January.
Group 4 contains Wellington College, who made history in the fifteen-a-side season with their St Joseph’s Festival/Champions Trophy double, and are one of the great names in all of school 7s. They will be among the favourites, but Tonbridge especially will give them a challenge in this group. Joining them are Emanuel and 2018 Plate winners, Hurstpierpoint College, who will be eager for a strong 7s season.
Overall it looks like an incredibly strong competition, and should be a fantastic early staging post on the road to Rosslyn Park as sides hone their 7s skills and hopefully stay on the right side of the weather.
Shiplake 7s Group Draw:
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3||Group 4|
|Shiplake College||Cheltenham College||Seaford College||Wellington College|
|Clifton College||Haileybury||St Paul’s||Hurstpierpoint College|
|Marlborough College||Bedford||Radley College||Tonbridge|