One of the great early 7s tournaments of the season is the Hampton School Founders’ Day 7s, and so it proved again on Wednesday afternoon.
Ten sides met for the 1st XV tournament, and we were guaranteed a change from last year with the two finalists, Cranleigh and Hampton, paired together in Group 1 alongside Campion, Caterham, and St Benedict’s.
Hampton won last year, but it was Cranleigh that went on to go and win the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s. In the final there they faced Brighton College, and it was Brighton that lit up the tournament from Group 2 on Wednesday afternoon.
The St Joseph’s Festival winners had already claimed a 7s title in the prestigious South Coast 7s before half term, but they were dominant at Hampton.
They topped a group that included Josh Fisher and RGS High Wycombe, two perennially tough opponents, Hurstpierpoint College, who won the Seaford 7s before half term, and the excellent London Irish AASE side, St Paul’s Catholic College.
St Paul’s were their nearest challengers, but Brighton beat them with relative comfort to reach the final, which was competed for by the top side from each group, securing a 29-5 win.
Over in Group 1 the key game was a repeat of last year’s final, Hampton v Cranleigh. The two sides were the standout teams in their group and played out a stunningly close game, with Cranleigh securing the win and top spot in the group thanks to a 15-12 win.
That sent Hampton into the Plate Final, where they put in one of their best performances of the day for a 31-10 win over St Paul’s Catholic College.
The very best performance of the entire day though surely came right at the very end as Brighton College and Cranleigh met for a repeat of that Rosslyn Park final of last year.
Both sides were missing players, but still produced sparkling rugby throughout the day, however in the final it was a stunning display from Brighton College that secured the title. The South Coast 7s winners were deserved victors by an outstanding 40-5 margin. It was a brilliant performance, throughout the day, and will send them into the meat of the 7s season with huge confidence.
There was also a 2nd VII tournament, a round robin featuring 2nd VIIs from Campion, Hampton, St Paul’s Catholic College, and St Benedict’s, as well as the Hampton U16 1st XV.
It went right down to the wire, St Paul’s and St Benedict’s both won three games and lost one, St Benedict’s losing to St Paul’s, while St Paul’s went down narrowly to Hampton U16.
That win over St Benedict’s and a superior points difference proved vital for St Paul’s though, who claimed the title in this inaugural 2nd VII tournament.
The day was rounded off in fantastic style with a talk by former Australia international and legend of world rugby, Michael Lynagh in Hampton’s excellent Hammond Theatre.
Speaking about his experiences in rugby, business, and in dealing with his stroke in 2012 and the fall out from it, Australia’s record points scorer inspired pupils, parents, and staff alike following a wonderful day of rugby.
The key take from his talk? Perhaps the notion of setting small achievable goals as stepping stones en route to succeeding in the big dream. For Brighton College, they have achieved the first couple of those goals, winning the South Coast 7s and Wednesday’s Hampton School Founders’ Day 7s.
The question for them now is can they keep on achieving those small goals on the way to the big dream of the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s, for which they must surely now be among the few favourites after such a stunning display.
Hampton 7s Results:
1st XV Tournament
Cup Final – Brighton College 40-5 Cranleigh
Plate Final – Hampton 31-10 St Paul’s Catholic College
Final Group Tables:
|Pos||Group 1||Group 2|
|2||Hampton||St Paul’s Catholic College|
|4||Caterham||RGS High Wycombe|
|5||St Benedict’s||Hurstpierpoint College|
Final Table – 2nd VII Tournament
|1||St Paul’s Catholic College 2nd VII|
|2||St Benedict’s 2nd VII|
|3||Hampton U16 1st VII|
|4||Hampton 2nd VII|
|5||Campion 2nd VII|