Sunday sees Christ College host their annual 7s tournament in Brecon, with twenty teams in action.
It is one of the key tournaments on the road to the Rosslyn Park National School 7s, not least because it involves some of the best in England going up against some of the best in Wales, as they will at RPNS7s.
Indeed with that RPNS7s draw in mind there could be some head to heads in the knockout stages at Christ College that might reflect those Rosslyn Park groups, Stourport High School and Coleg Sir Gar are in the same Cup group at Rosslyn Park, likewise Hartpury College and Kirkham Grammar School, while Dean Close and King’s Worcester are in the same Vase group.
Focusing on Christ College Brecon’s 7s though, twenty teams are involved, split into four groups of five teams each. The top two in each group will progress to the Cup quarter finals, while third and fourth in the groups will progress to the Plate quarter finals, meanwhile fifth in each group will go to the Bowl semi finals.
Last year Christ College claimed the title for the first time, defeating their great rivals Llandovery College in the final, the third time on the bounce that Llandovery have reached the final but not lifted the title. Hartpury College meanwhile claimed the Plate with victory over Dean Close, and Taunton School claimed the Bowl with a magnificent performance in the final against Collegiate.
All six sides return for more this year, with six new sides joining, or re-joining, the competition, Brentwood, King’s Worcester, Dyffryn Aman, Blundell’s, Hereford 6th form College, and Cwm Rhymni. That space is created as Coleg y Cymoedd, Clifton College, Cardiff and Vale College, Malvern College, Ysgol Plasmawr, and Llandovery College’s 2nd VII depart.
As hosts and champions, Christ College are drawn in Group A, and what a mighty group it is – containing last year’s semi-finalists Millfield, the most successful side in the tournament’s history. They Somerset side have claimed the title six times this century, only Llandovery have won it more than once and even they have only done so twice. As if that wasn’t enough, the reigning Plate champions, and the ACE champions, Hartpury College, are also in the group and are going to be aiming for a first Cup title here at Christ College. 2022 Bowl winners Brentwood return to the competition in Group A as well, alongside Christ College’s fellow Welshmen Cathedral School Llandaff, who have been in strong 7s form.
Group B sees last year’s finalists Llandovery College as one of the favourites. After three finals in a row they are going to be determined to earn a first title here since 2012 and, having dominated Welsh Schools rugby this year, they are well placed to do so. Standing in their way are newcomers Dyffryn Aman, and returning side after a short absence, King’s Worcester, who won the Plate in 2018 and the Cup back in 2013. Alongside them are ACE side Stourport High School, and a Sir Thomas Rich’s side that has had an absolutely outstanding season.
Over in Group C are several heavyweights, including 2022 champions Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf, who will be among the big challenges this year too. Another former champion, and strong challenger for this year, lurks in the group in the form of 2017 champions Kirkham Grammar School, along with a Coleg Sir Gar side that is always a challenger. Two strong English side complete the group, Blundell’s, who have been utterly magnificent at times this season, and Collegiate, who will be gearing up for the own 7s tournament on Sunday 25th March, which will be LIVE here on NextGenXV.
Group D features last year’s Bowl champions, Taunton School, who would love to feature in the higher competitions this year. Alongside them are last year’s Plate runners up, Hereford 6th form College. Also in the pool are two newcomers to the tournament, Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni, and Hereford 6th form College – keep an eye on Hereford, they are one of the most rapidly progressing rugby schools around. Joining those four are Welsh heavyweights Whitchurch High School, who will be looking at this tournament and thinking that they have a strong chance of a Cup challenge.
It is going to be one of the biggest and most important tournaments of the season, a huge chance for all of those involved to get some serious competitive 7s in ahead of some of the major challenges ahead.
Christ College Brecon 7s Draw:
|Cathedral School, Llandaff
|Sir Thomas Rich’s
|Coleg Sir Gar
|Hereford 6th from College