Last month we announced that Dulwich College were out School Team of the Year, but it is now time for us to announce of School Sevens Team of the Year, a hotly contested accolade to say the least.
The school sevens circuit was dominated in its early stages by The Kingâ€™s School, Worcester, who won four of their opening five tournaments to really throw down the gauntlet to the other school sides.
They played an expansive and exciting brand of sevens, withÂ George De CothiÂ andÂ Andrew BoyceÂ really dominating for the West Midlands side.
In the early stages Brighton College, Whitgift and Millfield were also all looking very handy, each picked up tournament wins and looked as though they had the potential to do some real damage at Rosslyn Park.
Unfortunately none quite managed to get as far as they had hoped, in part due to bad luck and also after losing player to the FIRA/AER U18 Championships, but all demonstrated in patches why they are so highly regarded on the circuit.
The reality is though that the School Sevens circuit all revolves around one week â€“ The HSBC Rosslyn Park National School Sevens. One of the great schoolboy tournaments in world rugby, Rosslyn Park is split into two separate competitions; the Festival, for one term rugby schools, and the Open, for two term rugby schools.
Unfortunately this years event was blighted by some terrible unseasonable weather, however despite the freezing conditions and mud bath surfaces, the players still managed to produce some outstanding rugby.
The Festival was a fantastic event and with the two favourites, Wellington College and Kingâ€™s Worcester, meeting each other early on, it was left to Tonbridge School to try to block the path of Wellington in the final.
Tonbridge had been in great form all season, progressing to the latter stages of every tournament they entered, however Wellington had been in spectacular form all week and were coming in off the back of a final at the Surrey 7â€™s.
In the end the form ofÂ Charlie WicksÂ andÂ Simon SextonÂ proved too much for Tonbridge, withÂ Nick HaynesÂ scoring tries for fun off the back of their creativity.
The Open tournament was a little more full of surprises than the Festival though, on the first day Millfield were surprisingly knocked out after a dramatic loss in their final group game so them fail to progress.
Perhaps even more surprising was the progression of Woodhouse grove from a group that also included Oaklands and Filton, a group of death if ever there was one.
Woodhouse Grove went on to prove that it was no fluke though by making it all the way to the final, adapting their game to the changeable conditions magnificently, withÂ Jack MaplesdenÂ really running the show.
However they were not to win the final as they came up against a Sedbergh side who were in rampant form. After suffering a poor fifteen-a-side season by their standards they were determined to prove their quality at Rosslyn Park.
Incredibly they had progressed from their group without conceding a single point, a quite remarkable feat, and they progressed through the knockout stages in similarly impressive style before beating Woodhouse by a solitary score in the final to lift the famous old trophy.
It had been announced that the winners of the Open and the Festival at Rosslyn Park would play each other at Twickenham during the London Sevens, in a play off to decide the ultimate schoolboy 2013 sevens champions.
Despite the startling achievements of Kingâ€™s Worcester in the early part of the sevens season, it would be wrong not to focus in on this game for the School Sevens Team of the Year accolade.
In front of a packed Twickenham stadium the game was a magnificent advert for schoolboy rugby. With much of the professional stuff that day focussing on the tackle area and physical domination, it was so refreshing to see these two excellent champion school teams using the ball as much as possible and looking to run the opposition ragged.
Ultimately though it was Wellington who forced Sedbergh to do most of the defensive running and a man of the match performance from the Wellington captain,Â Simon Sexton, helped them to an impressive17-5 victory, crowning them Schoolboy Sevens Champions.
As such, and after a quite magnificent sevens season overall,Â Wellington CollegeÂ are the Fifteen Rugby Sevens Team of the Year, a richly deserved award for a fantastic team who performed excellently, not only on the sevens field but also in the longer format of the game.
Sevens Team of the Season:
Sedbergh, Kingâ€™s Worcester, Woodhouse Grove
Tonbridge, Whitgift, Brighton, Oaklands
Sevens Squad of the Season:
Buchan Richardson, Charlie Wick, Nick Haynes, Simon Sexton, Robert Stevenson, Jack Maplesden, Matt Eliet, Tom Whiteley, Callum Sheedy, Henry Cheeseman, George De Cothi, Andrew Boyce.