This year’s HSBC Rosslyn Park National School 7s Vase competition will include 170 teams.
That makes for a busy couple of days of rugby, and makes predicting who might top that particular pile even tougher. Even working out the format with so many teams would have been a tough ask for the organisers.
The format settled upon is thirty-four groups of five teams each. The winners of each group, plus the two best runners up, will head to an elimination round on Wednesday evening.
Winners of the elimination round will head to quarter final groups, there will be six groups of three. The winners of those groups will head to semi final groups, which will be two groups of three teams each.
The winners of each semi final group will then meet in the Vase final. This means that the maximum number of direct ‘knockout’ games that any sides will face is two, the elimination round and the final. Losers in the elimination round will follow the same format but for the Bowl competition.
Runners and Riders
So who might make that elimination round, and beyond? There are a number of teams that might have been expected to be in the Cup who will undoubtedly challenge, but there could be plenty of others, too.
Group A could contain three contenders all on its own. Berkhamsted are undoubtedly a very good side, while UCS are enjoying a brilliant season and could push hard, while King’s Macclesfield won last year’s Bowl and will be keen to go one better this year.
St Peter’s York in Group C are also a side to look out for. Their form came of the fifteen-a-side circuit, but a Top 5 finish in the Daily Mail trophy shows just how good they are.
Over in Group F, the silver lining for Felsted after losing their NatWest Cup semi final must be that they can enter a full side at Rosslyn Park, where they will have a real chance of going a very long way with what is a strong group of players. RGS Newcastle and RGS Lancaster may have a lot to say about that though.
Stowe reside in Group H. They won the Plate last year, but have entered the Vase this year. They will likely be big contenders, but will have a target on their backs having dropped down a tier.
Keep an eye on Group I, too, where Cheltenham College and Merchant Taylors’ are both capabale of going a fair distance, so too Pocklington and Portsmouth Grammar in Group J.
Group L, meanwhile, looks incredibly competitive. New Hall are probably favourites, but KCS Wimbledon, Malvern College, King’s Canterbury, and Wycliffe College could all mount a challenge if things go well.
Things look similarly competitive in Group M, where St Paul’s probably lead the challenge. They reached the Bowl final last year and are strong again this year, but Ampleforth, Gwent, Cokethrope, and Downside will prove stern opposition.
Epsom College are, somewhat surprisingly, in the Vase. They are in Group N and will be favourites for this group, and among the favourites overall, but KES Bath will be a side to keep an eye on though, they have enjoyed some sparkling form this season.
Bromsgrove and Judd could both go a long way from Group P, their battle to escape the group should be a good watch. As should the battle in Group T, arguably the toughest group of all, containing Blundell’s, Bristol Grammar, Hereford Cathedral School, Mount St Mary’s, and Taunton School. Blundell’s and Bristol Grammar will probably be the favourites, their battle will be fascinating.
QEGS Wakefield in Group R can be expected to go far, while the winner of Eton College v Seaford College in Group S will be another with high expectations.
Shiplake College, The Oratory, and The Perse should enjoy a cracking battle between them in Group V. St John’s Leatherhead in Group W are one of the key teams to keep an eye on, they were outstanding at the Surrey 7s and will surely mount a strong challenge this week too.
Keep an eye out for Eastbourne College in Group AA, their quietly imprssive season could bear some fruit this week. Over in Group DD Stonyhurst College are a side to keep an eye on. They have had some fantastic 7s results so far and will fancy their chances of a good crack at the Vase. They will need to look out for Teddies Oxford though, who have seemed inspired since England spent a week training at the school.
Group FF contains Champions Trophy semi finalists Oakham, who will have a good chance of going a good distance. Group EE, meanwhile looks interesting. Wisbech Grammar and Marlborough College will probably be the big contenders, but keep an eye on Melksham Oak, supported by Lewis Moody’s Mad Dog Rugby Academy.
Queen Ethelburga’s in Group HH could be dark horses for a decent run, they have been highly impressive in 2017 and will arrive with plenty of confidence.
It is always worth keeping an eye on the Welsh schools too, often they arrive as somewhat of an unknown quantity, but there are always three or four standout teams that make their way deep into the tournament.
What looks certain is that this year’s Vase is highly competitive, with a number of teams that could take the title. It should be fascinating to watch it all unfold.
HSBC Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s Vase Groups (170 Teams):
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Berkhamsted||AKS Arnold||Hayes||Bishop Gore|
|Colston’s||Christ College Brecon||Hymers College||Hilton College|
|Nelson College||Churcher’s College||Langley||Radley College|
|King’s Macclesfield||Loretto||Shawinigan Lake 2nd VII||RGS Guildford|
|UCS||Shawnigan Lake||St Peter’s York||Ysgol Bro Dinefwr|
|Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
|Millfield B||Felsted||Bridgwater College||Brynteg Comprehensive|
|RGS Worcester||Prior Park College||Emanuel||Michaelhouse A|
|Torquay BGS||RGS Lancaster||Kingswood||Richard Huish|
|Welbeck||RGS Newcastle||Royal Alexandra & Albert||Royal Hospital School|
|Ysgol Gyfun Bryn Tawe||Worksop College||Wallington CGS||Stowe|
|Group I||Group J||Group K||Group L|
|Cheltenham College||Dean Close||Bede’s||KCS Wimbledon|
|King’s Bruton||Gower College||Durham||Malvern College|
|Merchant Taylors’||Lord Wandsworth College||Esher College||New Hall|
|Mount Kelly||Pocklington||Michaelhouse B||King’s Canterbury|
|Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr||Portsmouth GS||Monmouth||Wycliffe College|
|Group M||Group N||Group O||Group P|
|Ampleforth College||Epsom College||Llandaff Cathedral||Bromsgrove|
|College Gwent||KES Bath||Gravesend GS||Cabot|
|Cokethorpe||Shore Sydney CoE||King’s College Taunton||Judd|
|Downside||St Olave’s GS||Reed’s||Manchester GS|
|St Paul’s||Gymraeg Llangynwyd||St David’s||Trinity|
|Group Q||Group R||Group S||Group T|
|KES Stratford||Hill House||Duke of York’s RMS||Bristol Grammar|
|Pangbourne College||QEGS Wakefield||Eton College||Hereford Cathedral|
|Sir William Borlase’s||Sir Joseph Williamson’s||Greenhill||Mount St Mary’s College|
|Wellington||Ysgol Sir Thomas Picton||Seaford College||Taunton|
|Group U||Group V||Group W||Group X|
|Bishop’s Stortford College||Shiplake College||Bedford Modern||Ardingly College|
|Bloxham||Sutton Valence||Christ’s Hospital||Bishop Heber HS|
|Campion||King John||Clayesmore||King’s Worcester|
|St Dunstan’s College||The Oratory||St John’s Leatherhead||Wirral GS|
|Wrekin College||The Perse||Yarm||Worth|
|Group Y||Group Z||Group AA||Group BB|
|Dauntsey’s||Loughborough||Cooper’s Coborn||Liverpool College|
|Ipswich||QEH||Eastbourne College||Latymer Upper|
|Queen’s College Taunton||St Peter’s Gloucester||Plymouth College||Maidstone GS|
|Group CC||Group DD||Group EE||Group FF|
|Bablake||Rutlish||Akeley Wood||Ellesmere College|
|Bradford GS||St Edward’s Oxford||Marlborough College||Oakham|
|Ibstock Place||Stonyhurst College||Melksham Oak||Pembrokeshire College|
|Milton Abbey||Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg||QES Barnet||Sevenoaks|
|Treorchy Comprehensive||Ysgol Y Preseli||Wisbech GS||St John’s College Southsea|
|Group GG||Group HH|
|Coleg Sir Gar B||Ashville College|
|Stockport GS||Queen Ethelburga’s|
|Weston College||Windsor Boys’|
HSBC Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s Schedule:
Monday 20 March
Junior Waterfall Tournament
Tuesday 21 March
Colts (U16) Tournament begins
Wednesday 22 March
Vase Tournament begins
Thursday 23 March
Cup Tournament begins
U14 Tournament begins
Friday 24 March
U18 Girls Tournament
U18 Girls AASE Tournament
Prep School Waterfall Tournament
To see the draws for the other competitions at Rosslyn Park, please click the following links:
Cranleigh (bt Harrow 27-19)
Stowe (bt Barnard Castle 24-12)
Tonbridge (bt Bedford 26-10)
King’s Macclesfield (bt St Paul’s 14-12)
Brighton College (bt New Hall 20-19)
Ivybridge Community College (bt Warwick 27-19)
Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni (bt City of London Freemen’s 26-14)
Caldicott (bt Bromsgrove 12-5)
Wimbledon College (bt Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf 15-7)
Ysgol Dyffrin Amman (bt Christ’s Hospital 29-7)
Hartpury College (bt Bishop Burton College 28-0)