The Marriot London Sevens takes place this weekend at Twickenham and in amongst the international fixtures of the final leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series will be a superb exhibition of schoolboy rugby as Millfield and John Fisher play in front of the sell-out Twickenham crowd.
The game is a re-run of the 2014 Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s Open Final, which Millfield won 27-14 to complete an outstanding six tournament wins from six on the school circuit.
That final was over a month ago, on the 28th March, so there is a risk of rustiness at Twickenham. However both sides have had their players ticking over, John Fisher entered a local tournament a few weeks ago, whilst Millfieldâ€™s players have been in action for a variety of 7s sides, with several linking up with the unbeaten Seventy 7s side, and Tom Whiteley featuring for Saracens, whom he recently signed for, at the London Floodlit 7s this evening.
Most intriguingly though, both sides had players in action for the unbeaten Samurai Bulldogs squad in the Sunshine 7s at East Grinstead a fortnight ago. Whiteley, Callum Sheedy, and Alec Coombes from Millfield were all involved, while Fisherâ€™s livewire Lewis Dennelly was also in action.
The game takes place at 15.00 on Saturday, straight after Englandâ€™s second game of the afternoon, which is against Argentina. That ought to guarantee that there is a bumper crowd to witness the game and we can expect them to be well lubricated and in full voice for this one.
For the players it will be an occasion never to forget, for some this might be the first Twickenham appearance of many, however for the majority this will be the biggest and most spectacular rugby match of their lives. Rarely does anyone get to play on the hallowed turf of Twickenham in front of 80,000 people, let alone with a group of your best mates alongside you.
Millfield will go into the game as favourites, they have been the stand out side on the school circuit this spring, winning every tournament they have entered and playing a brand of rugby that barely anyone has been able to live with. The intensity of their defence has been quite brilliant, while their blend of attacking patience mixed with electric speed when they sniff a chance has seen some spectacular tries.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of their game has been restarts though. Across all formats of the game and at all levels the restart has become a key part of the game, but rarely has a side exploited it so well as Millfieldâ€™s 7s side. Their ability to regain the ball from the restart has seen many sides become completely starved of possession this season.
Despite that though, John Fisher should not be written off by any means. Their run at Rosslyn Park was evidence enough of that. They played well in the final but their crowing glory was really in the semi final where a blend of pure heart and good 7s play saw them knock out Wellington College, the only side to have troubled Millfield on the 7s circuit this year.
Fisher have got better and better with each game they have played and they have a good mix of physical power, and the pace and guile of the likes of Dennelly. Chuck in a huge dollop of guts and determination and you have a very good side indeed.
The one problem is that Millfield are also on of the most determined sides on the circuit. Watching them tear across the circuit was a lesion in determination to succeed and a ruthless and clinical desire to get the job done. They felt that they let themselves down at Rosslyn Park in 2013 and have been on a mission to avenge that feeling all season long; glory at Twickenham is the final piece in that mission for them.
Regardless of the victor, this is a wonderful opportunity and occasion for both sides and it will be a fantastic exhibition of the quality and entertainment of schools rugby â€“ trust us. With the likes of Callum Sheedy and Tom Whiteley having just signed professional terms, it is also a great chance to get an early preview of some of the stars of the future.
Millfield v John Fisher, Twickenham Stadium, Satruday 10th May, 15.00
For more information on the Marriot London 7s, please follow this link: London 7s