The HSBC Rosslyn Park National School 7s begins on Monday, and this year looks set to be the biggest year yet for the tournament that is already the largest school tournament in the world.
The tournament is expanded this year to include a new category, an U14 tournament. That means that this year there are eight different categories, the U18 Cup, U18 Vase, Colts tournament, U14 tournament, Girls tournament, Girls AASE tournament, the Junior tournament, and the Prep Schools tournament. Both the U18 tournaments will also have Plate competitions.
The action all begins on Monday with the Prep and Junior tournaments, Dulwich College are the reigning Champions of the Junior tournament and they kick off in Group A on Monday morning with Forest School, Prior Park College, and St Ambrose College for company.
Their near neighbours, Dulwich Prep, reached the Prep Schools final last year, but lost out to the excellent Caldicott Preparatory School. Their Group A draw for Monday looks very entertaining, with Cundall Manor, St John’s Beaumont, and a guest school from Africa, IAPS Kenya, in their section of the draw.
On Tuesday the Prep and Junior finals take place, while the Colts tournament also commences.
Reigate Grammar School are the defending Champions in that competition after beating a very good Eton College side 24-19 in a thrilling final last year. Reigate’s draw this year sees them take on Howard of Effingham, RGS Worcester, Sutton Valence, and Welsh School Caerleon Comprehensive in Group A.
Wednesday sees the Colts finals take place as well as the U18 Vase tournament kicking off, it is also the same day as the U18 and U15 NatWest Cup and Vase finals along the road at Twickenham.
The Vase is newly reformed this year, the U18 competitions used to be called the Open and the Festival, but as the tournament evolves, so to do the competition names and entry requirements.
The holders of last year’s Festival title are Stowe, who beat Tonbridge 15-12 in the final. Stowe this year move across to the Cup, along with a number of others. Tonbridge therefore take up the Group A ‘holders’ position, where they are drawn alongside Ampleforth College, Dauntsey’s, Cardiff High School, and Weston College, who are now affiliated with the Bath Academy.
Cranleigh won the Plate last year but have also moved over to the Cup, the side they beat in that final, 19-10, Worth, are involved in the Vase though. They line up in Group DD against Bedford Modern, Berkhamsted, The Perse, and Wycliffe College. A very tough assignment indeed.
Thursday sees the Vase tournament knockouts and finals, as well as the start of the new U14 tournament and the beginning of the big flagship competition, the U18 Cup.
After their success in the U13 (Junior) tournament last year, Dulwich College might be expected to be one of the frontrunners in this inaugural U14 tournament. They find themselves in Group F along with Birkdale, Bradford Grammar, St Edward’s, and Welsh side Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni.
Wellington College are the U18 Cup holders (or at least the holders of last year’s Open), after an astonishing season saw them go undefeated, winning 51 straight games of 7s.
They are among the contenders again this year, and are in Group A alongside Chislehurst and Sidcup, Leicester Grammar, Neath Port Talbot, and a very good Warwick side.
John Fisher were the runners up last year, as they were in 2014 to the tournaments most successful side, Millfield. Fisher are drawn this year in Group N alongside Cooper’s Coborn, Oaklands College, Sutton Valence, and last year’s Plate winners, St Joseph’s College.
St Joseph’s opponents in that Plate final were Hampton, they meet Barnard Castle, Campion, Cowbridge Comprehensive, and Worthing in a very tricky Group H. 2015 Vase/Festival winners, Stowe, are in a tough Group J with Brighton College, Coleg Llandrillo, Gower College, and St Benedict’s all vying to make it through to day two.
Day two of the U18 Cup is Friday, the final day of the HSBC Rosslyn Park National School 7s, and it is one of the busiest of the week. The U18 Cup and U14 finals are both on Friday, as well as the Girls and Girls AASE competitions.
Amman Valley are the Girls competition holders, they face St John’s School, Hertfordshire and Essex High School, St David’s School, and Ysgol Gyfun Bro Myrddin in Group A.
The Girls AASE tournament was won last year by Hartpury College, who are drawn in Group B this year along with Brockenhurst, Colege Sir Gar, and SGS Filton College.
There will be a live stream of both Pitch One and Pitch Two every day throughout the tournament, including commentary, and Fifteen Rugby will be featuring the Live Stream on our website every day throughout the competition.
You can see the links for those live streams here:
Day 1 – Monday
Day 2 – Tuesday
Day 3 – Wednesday
Day 4 – Thursday
Day 5 – Friday
We will also have a few photos of the action each day, as well as full reports of the day’s play and schedules for the following day’s rugby.
In addition we will be live tweeting throughout the tournament, and generally keeping you, our readers, up to speed through all of our social media channels and the website.
It should be a superb week of school 7s!
You can see the draw from each competition here: HSBC Rosslyn Park National School 7s draws.