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Sevens Rugby – Season report

March 30th, 2017

This term saw all age groups from U12 to 1sts embark on a busy schedule of Rugby 7s tournaments across the country, with the Nationals at Rosslyn Park rounding everything off in style.

The U12s started their Rugby 7s experience with a very successful junior tournament at Brecon where they won 5 and lost just 1 game. This led them into the inaugural Monmouth School U12 Sevens Competition along with 14 other schools, and our B VII managed to finish 2nd in their group, they were eliminated from the cup competition in the first knockout round by a powerful Newbridge Comprehensive School side. The A VII despite finishing 3rd in their initial group progressed well during the Shield knockout rounds with wins over Bishops Hereford and Monmouth Comprehensive, only to lose narrowly in the final to Marling School from Gloucester. Their final competition came at Bishop Vesey’s School where after winning our group convincingly, two narrow defeats against strong Bromsgrove and Manchester Grammar School opposition were no shame and showed much promise for the future.

The U13s started their season with some mixed results at the junior Brecon VIIs competition, but performances certainly picked up from there, as they first went to the Solihull 7s where they won 3 and lost 4 against some much bigger schools and then on to the Haberdashers 7s where they were our stand out team, winning 5 and drawing 1 and in doing so enabling the school to retain the overall trophy. At the National 7’s competition the boys performed admirably as well, winning 3 out of 4 group games, only losing out to a powerful QEGS Wakefield side, and then winning one and losing one in the 2nd phase group stages.

The U14s had a very mixed season, struggling with player availability and persistent injuries, but credit must go to the boys that decided to stick at it even when the going got tough. The first competition at Dean Close pitted us against some very big sides and showed just how much we still had to learn. The 2nd competition saw a marked improvement at Prior Park, where a record of 3 wins and 4 defeats could easily have been 5 wins with 2 of those defeats being by less than a score and one as a result of the last play of the game. Unfortunately the Solihull 7s was an off day for the side as we struggled again against some strong opposition. Final mention must go to the squad of just 8 boys that attended the final competition of the season away at Sherborne, where despite not getting the results their efforts deserved ensured the school fulfilled the fixture and showed true Monmouth School spirit and determination inthe face of adversity.

The U16s had a busy schedule of fixtures this term, and despite facing some much bigger and more powerful boys on a regular basis fought hard for one another. Competitions at Merchant Taylor’s Northwood, Canford, Stowe & Queen Elizabeth Barnet might not have seen any silverware being won, but there were some good victories at times along the way and plenty of camaraderie amongst the squad and Mr Bateman! The culmination of the regular season saw the side placed in arguably the toughest group they have ever been in at Nationals, containing powerhouses Clifton College, Tonbridge, Pontypool High School and Reading Oratory. Needless to say despite our best efforts we failed to win a game but again the spirit and determination shown was a true reflection of what it means to represent Monmouth School and the boys can all be proud of their efforts.

Finally the 1st VII containing a lot of 6.1 boys started the season successfully at the traditional curtain opener at Brecon. Winning 2 games in the group against Cheltenham College and Hereford Cathedral a disappointing defeat in the first knockout round of the cup to Whitchurch Heath from Cardiff meant a real chance of silverware had gone begging. At Solihull the side managed again to successfully win their group, this time to lose agonisingly in the semi-final to Llandrillo School from North Wales with the final kick off the game slotted from the touchline. The Marches 7s saw us navigate through a tough group with wins against Beechen Cliff, Dean Close and King’s Worcester but lose out to Millfield. In the knockout stages it was once again Whitchurch Heath from Cardiff that were are undoing, this time in the semi-final. The Haberdasher’s Fraser Bird 7s saw us win all our games comfortably which was the perfect lead up to the Nationals at Rosslyn Park. Here we successfully won our group with wins against Michaelhouse School from South Africa, Durham High School, St Bedes and Esher College to set up a first knockout round match with Pocklington School. A tense 14-10 win meant we had successfully won all our games on the 1st day and would face a tough Quarter-Final pool with Stowe and Cheltenham College the following day. The Stowe game, seen by many of you via the live stream, was a real thriller and having been 12-0 down and half time saw a fantastic come back in the 2nd half to see us home 19-12. Unfortunately the 2nd game saw the situation reversed in the winner takes all decider against Cheltenham College where despite leading comfortably 12-0 at half time, a disastrous 2nd half of too many penalties and a sin binning led to a 20-12 defeat. Nevertheless it was a fantastic run and one all the players and the school are immensely proud of.
A final word of thanks must go to all the VIIs coaches and staff that have given up many an hour at after school training session, as well as quite a few Sundays driving many a mile in the school minibuses.

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