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John Fisher rise to Twickenham occasion to beat Millfield

John Fisher put on a display of near perfection during the Marriot London 7s at Twickenham on Saturday to beat Millfield 38-5.

The game was a repeat of the Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s Open final, which was won by Millfield, and was played out to a crowd of over 75,000 at England’s famous home.

Fisher scored five tries to win this showcase event but the reality was that it was two moments of brilliant play, one either side of the half time whistle, that secured his game for them.

The Croydon based side had opened up a 14-0 lead early on in the first half and had then managed to keep Millfield pinned on their own try line with some outstanding defensive speed and pressure, however Millfield have not won every 7s tournament they have entered this year by chance, it has been due to their hard work and quality.

They showed that in abundance to finally be able to release the unstoppable Alec Coombes from deep inside their own half only for John Fisher’s excellent livewire sweeper, Lewis Dennelly, to haul him down inches from the line and secure a penalty for holding on.

That brilliant piece of defensive work was swiftly followed by the referee’s half time whistle, giving both sides a chance to reflect on a John Fisher dominated half of rugby.

The message for Millfield would have been to get the first score of the half and then back their quality, while for Fisher it would just have been for more of the same.

It was John Fisher who were to deliver on the half time message though, within seconds of the restart they were across the Millfield whitewash again, securing a 21-0 lead and with it all realistic chances of the victory.

That score and Dennelly’s denial of Coombes were the keys to this victory. In a little over 30 seconds (discounting the break) Fisher had turned a probable 14-7 point lead into a 21-0 lead, it left Millfield with simply too much to chase without exposing themselves.

The Rosslyn Park champions kept going though and the form 7s player of the season, Tom Whiteley, was able to show his class to pinch one back. However with his Millfield side chasing the game John Fisher, led by captain Seagahan Davey, were able to exploit the inevitable gaps and ride their wave of confidence to score three further tries to give the scoreboard a decisive look, 38-5.

Playing at Twickenham can be a difficult challenge for teams but for John Fisher it seemed to be a source of inspiration. They showed themselves to be a tight group as they improved game of game at Rosslyn Park, and steeped up further again here at Twickenham. Their players and coaches alike will be proud of the way that they rose to the occasion, and of how they coped without one of their big stars, Bradley Greer.

Millfield’s players and coaches will be proud too though, they have been and remain in a class of their own on the 7s field this season and will feel that on Saturday it was possibly a case of just trying too hard, while the absence of Callum Sheedy and Adam Hastings was certainly a hindrance (the sight of Hastings and Darren Atkins on the touchline reminded us of what there is to look forward to next year though), the experience of Twickenham will live long in the memory for all though.

In all it was a fantastic occasion and credit to Rosslyn Park, HSBC, and the London 7s organisers for allowing the game to take place, it was a fitting reward to these two sides after their fantastic Rosslyn Park runs.

To play in front of a full house is one that few ever get to experience, let alone with your best mates, it is a memory to treasure.

For John Fisher it was a game to treasure especially well, a 38-5 victory over the top 7s side in the land in front of a packed crowd at the home of rugby is something that they surely did not even have on the radar at the start of the year.

School rugby on the grandest stage, what a pleasure to witness.

By Angus Savage

@AngusSavageXV

Were you at Twickenham on Saturday, what did you think of the game? If not, what did you make of the decision for the game not to be broadcast on TV? Let us know via @FifteenRugbyXV or through the comment box below.

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