The end of the month brings our much promised Fifteen Rugby All Star School 7s Squad for the 2014 schools 7s season.
It was a quite brilliant season, one that was dominated by the outstanding Millfield 1st VII, but one that was littered with several other excellent teams and individuals, many of whom will be in action for during the Premiership 7s over the next few days, demonstrating just what an outstandingly talented group this is.
Without any further ado then, here is our Fifteen Rugby All Star Schools 7s Squad, a 12 man squad that has taken us many weeks to finalise. Let us know what you think!
Tom Whiteley â€“ Millfield
Whiteley was undoubtedly the star of the 7s circuit this year, in Millfieldâ€™s unbeaten tournament run he collected several player of the tournament awards and plenty of try of the tournament gongs too. To cap it all off, he collected the Player of the Tournament award at the Floodlit 7s in his first ever appearance for Saracens. A star of the future and one of the most devastating men in a tight space that this writer has ever seen. His kick off combination with John Radford was also one of the most devastatingly successful plays on the circuit this season and Radford himself is unfortunate not to be in the side off the back of them.
Charlie Dockery â€“ Epsom College
Dockery was excellent for Epsom College in their unbeaten fifteen-a-side season and was rewarded with an England U18 Clubs & Schools call up, but it was his 7s exploits that impressed us the most. In particular, his performances for the Samurai Bulldogs were truly outstanding. He was their most regular squad member and played with a great mixture of grace and flair. Top player.
Henry Cheeseman â€“ Whitgift
What a player Cheeseman is. He is part of the Harlequins Academy and a member of the England U18s and is truly devastating in fifteen-a-side but on a sevens field he becomes almost unplayable. A number 8 by trade and with the physicality to match he also has the pace and guile of an outside back (where he filled in this season), the combination ahs seen him dominate the school 7s circuit for two years and his call up to the England 7s IPF in the spring was richly deserved and is surely just the start of a long 7s career.
Callum Sheedy â€“ Millfield
Captain fantastic of the all-conquering Millfield 7s side. Sheedy is at Bristol now where their running rugby approach will tally perfectly with his style. If Whiteley was the star of the Millfield 7s team, Sheedy was the heartbeat, pulling the strings and finding space for others whilst always maintaining the highest levels of communication. One of the most intelligent rugby brains on the circuit and a joy to watch.
Sam Aspland-Robinson â€“ Wellington College
The Wellington College man is not a â€˜jinkerâ€™ as such but he is incredibly evasive and is absolutely lethal when given even just a hint of space. His languid running style is incredibly deceptive as he has the pace to beat just about any man he comes across. He used this to devastating effect all 7s season and combined with his vision, both for a gap and a pass, made him one of the real highlights of any tournament.
Lewis Dennelly â€“ John Fisher
Dennellyâ€™s diminutive frame leads many to make assumptions that are utterly false. He is a fierce competitor and is not afraid to put himself where it hurts, his try saving tackle against Alec Coombes of Millfield at Twickenham being a real case in point. Dennelly has unbelievable acceleration and top end pace and is one of the most difficult men on the circuit to put down as defenders are usually left grasping fresh air.
James Christie â€“ Sedbergh
Sedberghâ€™s 7s season never quite reached the heights that they would have hoped for, but nonetheless it was a pretty impressive one by most schoolâ€™s standards. Central those good performances was their captain, James Christie. Christie never tries to do anything too flash but what he does brilliantly is identify mismatches. Several times this season we watched him allow the drift to happen, effectively closing off the space outside because he had identified a man drifting onto him that he could treat as a mismatch. Under the pressure of top quality schoolboy rugby, that is an impressive skill.
Alec Coombes â€“ Millfield
Coombes was the perfect foil for the skill and subtlety of the likes of Whiteley and Sheedy around him, not that he does not possess those qualities too. Coombes true value lies in three core strengths though; he has the power and pace to beat almost every first time tackle, he never misses his own tackles, and he can offload excellently. So often he was the man to break the line for Millfield, allowing them to follow up with an injection of pace and trickery to score within seconds of Coombes touching the ball. He scored a number of scorching long-range efforts too as a result of his unrivalled ability to break the first tackle.
George Wacokecoke â€“ St Josephâ€™s College
Circumstances dictated that Wacokecoke was not able to appear for St Josephâ€™s as often as he, or they, would have liked but when he did it was oh such a pleasure to watch. Wacokecoke has pace to burn and the footwork to go with it; he also has strength that is as deceptive as it is effective. He has been a real star of the school circuit for the past couple of years and is definitely one to keep an eye on in the future, and in deed this evening when he appears for Bath in the Premiership 7s at Kingshol,
Declan Williams â€“ John Fisher
Williams was captain of the most improved 7s side on the circuit over the course of the season, John Fisher. They started out as a decent side, a threat to anyone on their day but not quite at the level of some of the top sides. They ended up as Rosslyn Park finalists and winners of the replay against Millfield at Twickenham Stadium during the London 7s. Williamsâ€™ quality was reflected in a call up to the Irish Exiles but perhaps the greatest thing that can be said for him is that John Fisherâ€™s greatest strength this 7s season was their determination and togetherness and that is something that is down to the captainâ€™s leadership.
Ben Earl â€“ Tonbridge
You will be hearing a lot more of this guy over the next few years. Earl captained the England U16s this year and was by far and away the best player, but it was his performances for the Tonbridge 1st VII that really stood out for us. In terms of power, pace, and rugby maturity there was no way that anybody could have guessed how much younger this man was than his peers. He utterly blew the opposition out of his path and scored some brilliant tries. A real star of the future.
Daniel/Michael Radigan â€“ Woodhouse Grove
It is tough to separate the Radigan twins and just pick one so we have included them together. They were key players in Woodhouse Groveâ€™s run to Rosslyn Park Plate victory, they were not necessarily the best talents in the side but their sheer work rate was utterly astounding. We had to watch them in action several times as to begin with we thought the work rate was simply that they were twins so it looked like they were doing more than others. Closer inspection revealed otherwise. They were both doing the work of two men and their work rate and intensity were absolutely crucial to Woodhouse Groveâ€™s game and to their eventual silverware haul.
What do you think of the team? Is there anyone missing that you would have liked to have seen in it? Let us know via the comment box below or via @FifteenRugbyXV