This week, our boys' rugby teams have been taking part in the HSBC Rosslyn Park National School 7s. Here Head of Rugby Toby Grieves gives a report on the week's events.
During the last week of term over 400 schools and in excess of 8000 players descended on the Richardson Evans Memorial Playing fields to compete in the HSBC Rosslyn Park National School 7s. This year we sent our largest ever group comprising of three teams at U13, U14 and U18.
It was the U13s who were up first at the start of the week. Playing five games in the now familiar round robin format. The boys secured an opening draw with the last play score, then suffered a hard defeat to a very powerful King’s Macclesfield School (who would go on to top the group). A closer game which we edged was to follow against Welsh school Plasmawr before two further close defeats. The final performance, albeit a defeat, against the Crypt School was full of grit and fight against a much bigger side, the players stuck to their task well and were rewarded with some fine tries. They ended up finishing fourth in the pool but most importantly enjoyed their first Rosslyn Park experience.
The 1st VII were next up and with a target of the knockout stages on the second day you could sense the tension in the players as we edged a nervy opening game 22-21 over Ampleforth School. We gradually found our stride and disposed of Welbeck School 36-28 and City of London Freemen’s 29-5. This meant we topped our group and went through to an elimination game with Pangbourne College. We turned on the style in a convincing 38-5 victory which sent us through to Day 2 for the first time in the school's history.
Day two began with a game against Cathedral School Llandaff who were dispatched 52-0 and this led to a meeting with Bromsgrove School on the televised RE2 pitch. Unfortunately, we were slightly short of our best and Bromsgrove, who would go on to win their next two games and lift the title, had too much for us and they ran out strong winners. After the initial disappointment of the defeat had lessened the boys could reflect on a job well done and a goal achieved. It meant the 1st VII finished the 7s season with a record of; Played 25, Won 22, Lost 3 which included two cup wins, a cup final, a cup semi-final and of course the Rosslyn Park Vase 1/4 Finals.
Following the departure of the 1st VII from the tournament, the U14s soon arrived and they began their competition on Thursday morning. A close defeat to Gordon’s in a game which we largely dominated but couldn’t find a way through a very organised defence was followed by a narrow win over Cardinal Newman School 26-19. With a win and a defeat from our opening two games, we needed a big win against group favourites Solihull to progress to the second day. The first half was a true battle with neither side able to capitalise on all of their chances - we led briefly 7-5 but some ill discipline leading to a period with a man in the sin-bin close to half-time cost us valuable momentum. Solihull capitalised on our reduced numbers to score a few well-worked tries and thus ending our campaign.
U13s - Kit Scott, Tobias Spencer, Spencer Gray, Jonah Jenkinson, Henry Jenkinson, Harvey Nkrumah, Zak Jones, Ben Gaskin, Jonathan Ikazoboh, Tom Clark, Max Blaxell & Oscar Ratledge
U14s - Pieter De Lange, Elijah Elwell, Jack Minns, Will Waller, Henry Hood, Marcus O’Sullivan, Max Amis, Reuben Hollis, George Jackson, Jack Blackham, Jared Ikazoboh & Freddie Mitchell
1st VII - James Cherry, Tom Bailon, Will Hodgson, Alfie Garside, Charlie Leeming, Alex Parriss-Hind, Tom Elphick, Dani-Long Martinez, Renee Ball, Jake Garside, Matt Pitcher & Oliver Reek
In other rugby news, 1st XV Captain Freddie Steward made his England U18s debut in ain international fixture on the 24th March. The game, played at Cheshunt Rugby Club ended in a convincing win for England at 33-12. Freddie had plenty of Norwich School support in the stands as the U13 Rosslyn Park 7s squad stopped on the way to their own tournament to watch.
This international recognition comes after Freddie’s outstanding form as part of the Leicester Tigers U18 side who won the Academy Grand Final against Gloucester for the second year in a row. Freddie also made his 1st XV Leicester Tigers debut last month and on Friday came off the bench to make his Premiership debut away at Sale Sharks. Freddie has recently been informed that he has been awarded a professional contract with the Leicester Tigers for next season. These are all fantastic achievements and are the culmination of several years of hard work as both a school and an academy rugby player.