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Sedbergh & Kirkham drawn together for 27th North of England School 7s

While much of the attention this weekend will be on the NatWest Cup semi finals, the bulk of the attention in the North of England will be focused on the 27th North of England School 7s.

The competition features forty top schools, split into eight groups of five, with the top side in each reaching the Bowring Trophy quarter finals, and the second side in each reaching the Plate quarter finals.

That means that for the first time this season in a competition featuring both sides, the North of England 7s final cannot be Sedbergh v Kirkham Grammar School as they are both drawn in Group E. Twice they have met in the final of a tournament this year, at Ampleforth and at Durham, both of whom compete on Sunday too.

Sedbergh have one both of those finals, making them one of the most formidable sides in the country, but also making them favourites for this competition, and in the process probably making Kirkham Grammar School favourites for the Plate. What it also does though is make their Group E encounter absolutely fascinating.

They must be wary of the other sides in the Group too though, Ellesmere College, Calday Grange, and Birkenhead are all very capable of springing a surprise.

Last year the competition was won by Woodhouse Grove, who then went on to beat Sedbergh in the HSBC Rosslyn Park National School 7s Plate final. They return again this year and are drawn in Group A alongside Scottish giants Loretto, Lawrence Dallaglio’s old school Ampleforth College, Liverpool College, and Worksop College.

Prior to that victory it had been nine years of dominance at the tournament between Sedbergh and Kirkham Grammar, with that sequence only punctuated by a solitary Ellesmere College win in 2011. All three are of course group together on Sunday.

Another Group that looks like it will have some interesting clashes is Group D, where the likes of Hymers College, Stonyhurst College, and King’s Macclesfield will all fancy their chances of serious progression. Similarly in Group G, which looks like being the overall most even group in the competition. Bradford Grammar, Manchester Grammar, Lymm High School, and RGS Newcastle could all conceivably challenge for the title, as could Wilmslow High School in theory but with a NatWest Cup semi final against Dulwich College the day before they are unlikely to be sending a first of possibly even second string side.

It is all set to be an incredibly exciting tournament, and it could be a real opportunity for a team to break the Sedbergh/Kirkham stranglehold on this year’s HMC North East Schools Super 7s Series.

27th North of England School 7s Draw

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Ampleforth College

QES Kirkby

AKS Arnold

Hereford Cathedral School

Liverpool College

Queen Ethelburga’s

Altrincham Grammar School

Hymers College

Loretto

St Anselm’s College

Durham

King Henry VIII School, Coventry

Woodhouse Grove

Stockport Grammar School

Mount St Mary’s College

Stonyhurst College

Worksop College

Wirral Grammar School

Pocklington

King’s School, Macclesfield

27th North of England School 7s Draw (Continued)

Group E

Group F

Group G

Group H

Birkenhead

Barnard Castle

Bradford Grammar School

RGS Lancaster

Calday Grange Grammar School

Rydal Penrhos

Lymm High School

Merchant Taylors’

Ellesmere College

Sandbach

RGS Newcastle

Princethorpe College

Kirkham Grammar School

St Edward’s College

Manchester Grammar School

King’s School, Worcester

Sedbergh

Yarm

Wilmslow High School

Trent College

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