The 2017 Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s U18 Cup looked wide open before play began and, if anything, looks even more open heading into tomorrow’s knockout stages.
The list of names not returning tomorrow perhaps illustrates that point best, the likes of last year’s finalists, Harrow, the Surrey 7s winners, Hampton, AASE Champions, Exeter College, 2013 Champions, Sedbergh, and 2016 Vase winners and Champions Trophy winners, Tonbridge, to name but a few.
Right from the first few games of the day big names were falling, Surrey 7s Champions Hampton losing out to North of England 7s Champions Kirkham Grammar School, a game that so easily could have been a final, yet was just an early group game. The competition is utterly fierce, and has been since the start.
It will be no less fierce tomorrow when the Elimination round kicks off. Sixteen teams will compete, with the eight winners heading to the quarter finals and the losers heading to the Plate quarter.
Defending champions, Cranleigh, face Surrey 7s finalists Beechen Cliff, in what is sure to be a brute of a game. Haileybury 7s winners, Whitgift, will be up against the Surrey Plate winners, Caterham.
The third elimination round is going to see a real giant fall as Wellington College, 2015 winners and one of the legends of school 7s, face Brighton College, one of the best teams on the circuit this season.
Merchiston Castle are the only Scottish side to make it through, they face the 2014 Champions Millfield in another heavyweight clash.
2013 finalists Woodhouse Grove, who topped a group containing Tonbridge and three AASE Colleges, are up against another AASE side in the form of the mighty Hartpury College.
Bedford, last year’s Bowl runners up, face Henley College, one of four AASE side to make it through to day 2.
SGS Filton College are the fourth, the AASE 7s champions had to make do with a best runners up spot though after a brilliant Brighton College performance pushed them into second place in Group F. That means that they must face Kirkham Grammar School, one of the strongest sides in the tournament, and a side that has already knocked out AASE fifteen-a-side champiosn Exeter College, Welsh legends Coleg Sir Gar, Surrey 7s champions Hampton, and the traditionally strong Bryanston.
The other Runner Up to make it through was Barnard Castle, who finished second behind Wellington College in Group E. They face the only welsh side left in the competition, Cardiff and Vale, who looked highly impressive as they topped Group N, knocking out last year’s finalists, Harrow.
It certainly looks as though after a tough day today, tomorrow is only going to be tough in this incredibly competitive, but brilliant U18 Cup competition.
Following the elimination round, the eight winners are split into two quarter final pools of four, with the top two in each pool reaching the semi finals. The elimination losers will go into two plate pools of four, but the winners of those will go straight to the final.
U18 Cup Elimination Round Fixtures:
Cranleigh (Winner A) v Beechen Cliff (Winner B)
Whitgift (C) v Caterham (D)
Wellington College (E) v Brighton College (F)
Merchiston Castle (G) v Millfield (H)
Woodhouse Grove (I) v Hartpury College (J)
Bedford (K) v Henley College (L)
Kirkham Grammar School (M) v SGS Filton College (Runner Up 1)
Cardiff & Vale (N) v Barnard Castle (RU2)
HSBC Rosslyn Park National School 7s Cup Final Group Standings (1-5), 70 Teams:
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Coleg Llandrillo||St Benedict’s||John Fisher||Ivybridge Community|
|Utah Lions||Coleg Gwent||Coleg y Cymoedd||Queen Ethelburga’s|
|Brooksby||Peterborough Regional College||Nottingham HS||Hurstpierpoint College|
|Tasker Milward||Ryde School||VIIs Barbarians||Newport HS|
|Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
|Wellington College||Brighton College||Merchiston Castle||Millfield|
|Barnard Castle||SGS Filton College||Dulwich College||Canford|
|Cowbridge Comprehensive||Haileybury||Neath Port Talbot||Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf|
|Leicester Grammar School||Rydal Penrhos||Giggleswick||St George’s College|
|Old Swinford Hospital||St Ambrose College||Myerscough College||London Oratory|
|Group I||Group J||Group K||Group L|
|Woodhouse Grove||Hartpury College||Bedford||Harris City Academy|
|Tonbridge||St Paul’s Catholic College||Dollar Academy||Llandovery College|
|Moulton College||Sedbergh||City of London Freemen’s||Sherborne|
|Worcester 6th form College||Oundle||Bishop Burton College||Henley College|
|Oaklands College||Denstone College||Warwick||Wimbledon College|
|Group M||Group N|
|Kirkham Grammar||Cardiff and Vale|
|Coleg Sir Gar||St Joseph’s College|
|Hampton||Chislehurst & Sidcup|