The U18 Cup is the jewel in the crown of the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s, the most intense and challenging of all the competitions, the very best school 7s sides in the country going for it.
There are sixty teams in the draw, though seven of those are to be confirmed in due course with some Vase sides still to be coaxed over, and they are split into twelve groups of five teams each.
Only the winners progress to the Cup quarter finals, where they will be split into three pools of four. From there the winner of each quarter final pool, plus the best runner up, will head to the semi finals, with the tournament a straight knockout from there.
Those finishing second in the day one groups will play in the Plate tournament on the Friday, which will follow the same format as the Cup tournament.
Other Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools 7s Draws
Sedbergh School have won the last two titles and are therefore drawn in Group A but it is a brutal looking group, with their great northern rivals of the last few years also in the group, Kirkham Grammar School – the two had an epic encounter en route to Sedbergh’s title in 2018. The challenges do not stop there though, with Denstone College, Hurstpierpoint College, and Coleg Llandrillo also in what can on be described as a group of death.
Group B is hardly easier, though. Hartpury College and Whitgift are both former champions, while Northampton School for Boys are exceptional too. Much in that group may depends on whether one or both of NSB and Whitgift are involved in the Schools Cup final a week prior. Stourport High make it two AASE sides in the croup, while Glantaf have been sweeping up trophies in the younger age-groups in recent years.
Group C also has a double AASE presence, Myerscough College and AASE Champions St Paul’s Catholic College, with King’s Canterbury and Colston’s also in the group. Look out though for 2013 finalists, Woodhouse Grove, who often play so well in this tournament.
Group D is stacked too, Hampton have become a true 7s force and will be among the challengers this year surely, however Harrow are a formidable group opponent and make it certain that one way or another this group is sending a giant through to the Plate. Bedford, Llandovery College, and St Ambrose College have huge history on the school rugby field too, Bedford in particular enjoyed great joy at Rosslyn Park in the mid point of the previous decade.
Group E contains one of last year’s semi finalists, Clifton College, who we should expect to be a huge force again this year. They have every chance of being a contender but first must navigate a group fraught with challenges. John Fisher have a knack of progressing really well in this competition and will fancy a crack again this year, while St Joseph’s College, AASE side Oaklands College, and Welsh giants Coleg Sir Gar are all outstanding sides with strong Rosslyn Park records.
Brighton College are another with a fantastic record in this tournament and who played in one of the great finals in defeat to Cranleigh a couple of years ago. They head Group F where 2019 Schools Vase champions Samuel Whitbread are their opponents alongside St Benedict’s, Newport High, and AASE side Bishop Burton College.
Group G is simply brutal, three AASE sides in the form of Moulton College, Henley College, and finalists Beechen Cliff, alongside Schools Cup semi finalists Warwick, and Champions Trophy finalists, Rugby. It’s take your pick in terms of a winner, Beechen Cliff, Rugby, and Warwick are the most likely contenders, but whoever does win has every chance of going a very long way, so long as their Thursday efforts do not cost them too dear.
Group H is just about as tough, if not harder. In Coleg y Cymoedd and Neath Port Talbot College there are two serious contenders from Wales, then in Barnard Castle, Wellington College, and Cranleigh you have three of the top schools from the fifteen-a-side season this year. Wellington College won the Champions Trophy and St Joseph’s Festival, while Cranleigh won the Daily Mail Trophy. It is a group that could be completely epic in both the size of challenge and quality of the rugby. Cranleigh won back to back titles prior to Sedbergh, while Wellington won it before that, these are two specialists in the 7s arena.
Group I features another specialist in the 7s arena, Millfield, legends of Rosslyn Park. They face two AASE sides in Brooksby Melton College and Exeter College, as well as a towering Welsh presence, CAVC Rugby Academy, plus Waterloo School from Belgium.
Last year’s losing finalists, Dulwich College, are in Group J and will be hoping for a repeat of their high energy campaign last year. Alongside them are a growing threat in the form of Ivybridge Community College, with Coleg Gwent Cross Keys and RGS Worcester also in the group alongside the exciting St John’s Leatherhead.
Group K is yet to be completely filled, SGS Filton College are joined by Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera and Ysgol Greenhills from Wales, with two spaces to be filled. Group L will see five sides shortly fill it.
U18 Cup – Thursday 26th March & Friday 27th March
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Sedbergh School||Stourport High School||Woodhouse Grove School||Bedford School|
|Coleg Llandrillo||Hartpury College||Myerscough College||Harrow School|
|Denstone College||Northampton School for Boys||The King’s School Canterbury||Llandovery College|
|Hurstpierpoint College||Whitgift||St. Paul’s Catholic College||St Ambrose College|
|Kirkham Grammar School||Glantaf||Colston’s School||Hampton School|
|Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
|St Joseph’s College||Brighton College||Moulton College AASE||Coleg Y Cymoedd|
|Coleg Sir Gâr||St Benedict’s School||The Henley College||Barnard Castle School|
|John Fisher School||Bishop Burton College||Beechen Cliff School||Neath Port Talbot College|
|Oaklands College||Newport High School||Rugby School||Wellington College|
|Clifton College||Samuel Whitbread Academy||Warwick School||Cranleigh School|
|Group I||Group J||Group K||Group L|
|Millfield School||St. John’s Leatherhead||SGS College||TBC|
|CAVC and CCS Rugby Academy||Coleg Gwent Crosskeys||Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera||TBC|
|Exeter College||Ivybridge Comm College||Ysgol Greenhills||TBC|
|Waterloo School, Belgium||RGS Worcester||TBC||TBC|
|Brooksby Melton College||Dulwich College||TBC||TBC|