Portsmouth Grammar School hosted their prestigious South Coast 7s event on Sunday and there was some absolutely outstanding 7s played throughout the day.
Sixteen teams met and there were some of the very biggest names in schools rugby in action, among them many serial 7s tournament winners, the likes of Epsom College, Millfield, and Brighton College.
It was a surprise package that came out on top though, in the form of Welsh side Whitchurch High School. A surprise package in that not many of those present would previously have seen them in action, although any that saw them at the St Joseph’s Festival earlier in the season would know the threats they pose.
Whitchurch emerged from a real pool of death too, where Denstone College, Brighton College, and Churcher’s College joined them. It was a tough gig for Churcher’s, who lost to all three others, but those three went toe to toe for a top two finish in the group that would see them into the Cup quarter finals. Denstone beat Brighton, but lost to Whitchurch, who in turn were beaten by Brighton, meaning that each had two wins and a loss from their three games, leaving the group down to points difference. That meant that Brighton College were the unlucky side to miss out and head to the Shield competition, which they duly won, sending Denstone through top of the group and Whitchurch in second.
There Whitchurch faced Group 3 winners Bishop Wordsworth’s, who had beaten Campion, Peter Symonds’ College, and perennial title contenders Millfield to reach that spot, Millfield who finished second and therefore met Denstone.
The other two quarter finals saw Group 1 winners Wimbledon College, look out for them on the circuit this year after some great age-group 7s season, take on Group 2 runners up Canford, and Group 2 winners Epsom College taking on the Group 1 runners up, and Schools Cup semi finalists, Sherborne. The winners of those quarter finals would reach the Cup semi finals, while the losers would head to the plate semi finals.
The quarter finals all went the way of the Group winners, save for Whitchurch who beat Bishop Wordsworth’s 17-0. That pitted the Welsh side up against Wimbledon College, with Epsom College facing Denstone College. Meanwhile the Plate semi finals saw Canford beat Bishop Wordsworth’s 28-14 and Sherborne beat Millfield 24-5. Canford would eventually take home the silverware there, beating Sherborne 24-14 in the final.
The Cup semis saw Whitchurch beat Wimbledon College 24-10 with Epsom College beating Denstone College 35-5. It gave Epsom College the chance to make it two titles from two tournaments, having won the Seaford 7s last week, however though they did give Whitchurch their toughest game of the knockouts, the Welshmen kept to their task and claimed a 17-12 victory to finish up an outstanding day’s effort to win the South Coast 7s.
The sides that had finished third and fourth in the original groups had gone through to the Shield quarter finals, which followed a similar format to the Cup and the Plate, with the losing quarter finalists heading to the Bowl semi finals.
The Shield saw three of the third placed finshers in the groups go through to the semi finals, Royal Hospital School from Group 2, Campion from Group 3, and Brighton College from Group 4. Gordon’s, who had finished bottom of Group 4, joined them after the side that had reached last week’s Seaford 7s final beat third from Group 1, Bryanston, 22-17 in their quarter final.
The semi finals were a stage too far for Gordon’s though, who lost out 27-5 to Campion, meanwhile Brighton College beat Royal Hospital School 27-22 to join Campion in the final. Like the Cup, the Shield final was an incredibly tight game, but it was Brighton College, so often Cup challengers, that took it, beating Campion 15-12. Meanwhile Bryanston claimed the Bowl, beating the hosts, Portsmouth Grammar, by a stunning 43-0 margin.
Ultimately though the story was all about Whitchurch High School’s triumph, and a real warning shot to the English schools of the threat from a number of the Welsh schools at the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s again this year.
South Coast 7s Results:
Whitchurch HS 17-12 Epsom College
Canford 24-14 Sherborne
Cup Semi Finals
Whitchurch HS 24-10 Wimbledon College
Epsom College 35-5 Denstone College
Plate Semi Finals
Canford 28-14 Bishop Wordsworth’s
Sherborne 24-5 Millfield
Whitchurch HS 17-0 Bishop Wordsworth’s
Wimbledon College 19-7 Canford
Epsom College 21-7 Sherborne
Denstone College 17-5 Millfield
Brighton College 15-12 Campion
Bryanston 43-0 Portsmouth Grammar
Shield Semi Finals
Brighton College 27-22 Royal Hospital School
Campion 27-5 Gordon’s
Bowl Semi Finals
Bryanston 42-0 Churcher’s College
Portsmouth Grammar 14-12 Peter Symonds’ College
Brighton College 41-7 Peter Symonds’ College
Royal Hospital School 28-19 Portsmouth Grammar
Campion 33-7 Churcher’s College
Gordon’s 22-17 Bryanston
Final Group Standings
|Pos||Group 1||Group 2||Group 3||Group 4|
|1||Wimbledon College||Epsom College||Bishop Wordsworth’s||Denstone College|
|2||Sherborne||Canford||Millfield||Whitchurch High School|
|3||Bryanston||Royal Hospital School||Campion||Brighton College|
|4||Portsmouth Grammar||Gordon’s||Peter Symonds’ College||Churcher’s College|