Lower School Rugby sevens in near miss at Warwick National Invitational Tournament
8 March 2012
Having enjoyed an unbeaten and highly successful 12-a-side rugby season the Under 11 boys were excited by the opportunity to play some rugby 7s. Training began early in the term and despite the weather’s best efforts to interfere the boys made excellent progress adjusting to the 7s style of play. The quality of their handling and strength of their backs moves were carried over from the 12-a-side game and it was clear that they stood a great chance of doing something special at the Warwick School 21st Invitational Rugby 7s Tournament. The day began with pouring rain and the two team coaches were cursing their luck that the weather might prevent the boys from playing in their free flowing and attacking style. However, Mother Nature smiled upon us and by the time the team kicked off for their first match against Magdalen College (Oxford) the rain had stopped and the sun was peeking through the clouds. The team was soon on top and scored four tries to earn a bonus point victory. Next up were King’s Hawford (Worcester) who had beaten us in the National Rugby Schools Tournament in October. The players were keen for revenge and once again produced some excellent 7s to score another three tries and seal another bonus point win. After the lunch break the team faced King Henry VIII (Coventry) and proceeded to score six tries of incredible quality. As the boys gathered around for a word with the coaches at the end of the game the only adjective that seemed to fit their performance was ‘outrageous’! The final group game was against Blue Coat School (Birmingham) and despite conceding their first try of the day the players scored four tries of their own to secure a fourth successive bonus point victory. Finishing top of the group meant a semi-final against the hosts, Warwick School. After a strong start the boys forced their way over the line to score and lead 7-0, despite one of the play makers having to be substituted after a nasty knock on the head. At half time we led and the players were full of confidence. From Warwick’s restart the ball took an unkind bounce away from our player and a very kind bounce into the arms of the Warwick winger who ran through to score. The conversion was kicked and the score was 7-7. The boys continued to play their flowing and attacking style and with only 2 minutes left had a fantastic chance to score and secure a place in the final. Sadly the chance wasn’t taken and Warwick counter-attacked. The team tried hard to re-organise themselves but couldn’t prevent Warwick scoring in the corner. There was very little time left for a repost and as the final whistle blew the players were left contemplating what could have been; despite playing the more attacking and attractive 7s rugby, they were out. Warwick went on to win the final. The Warwick coach generously admitted after the game that Lady Luck had played a big part in their victory. After the initial disappointment wore off, the team reflected on not only the incredible achievement of reaching the semi-finals of the biggest 7s tournament in the country, but also on the standard of rugby to which they had played all day. In total they had scored 126 points and conceded only 19. All ten players involved played with pride, passion and incredible skill all day and it is clear that they have a very bright future on the rugby pitch in front of them.