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Two tournaments in 3 weeks for the U13 RHS rugby squad provided a great opportunity to experience Rugby Union’s shortened format of the game. Competing in the inaugural year of the Manchester 7s and the International Rosslyn Park 7s provided a chance to compete against some of the best teams in the British Isles.

On a typical day in the North West the boys headed to Broughton Park RUFC after an overnight stay; fresh-faced and full of anticipation for what the day had in store for them. After weeks of preparation the boys got off to a good start beating Wisbech Grammar School 24-12 and Altrincham Grammar School 17-5. Up next was a strong Barnardiston Prep School side who we had met, and beaten, in the 15s season. However, a subdued performance from the RHS boys meant we disappointingly went down 17-0. Knowing we had let ourselves down we then faced Queen Ethelburga’s; rallying well and showing great character to win 43-5 in tough conditions. Despite 3 wins, the way the draw worked meant RHS went into the Plate and Altrincham Grammar School into the Cup.

Cold and wet, team huddle

Cold and wet, team huddle

After lunch, the boys faced King William College from the Isle of Man in the knockout stages. With the team carrying a few knocks and tiring in cold wet weather, this is where they would need to dig deep. And so they did, winning 43-10 showing some glimpses of true 7s, however there was still more to give. On to the final, RHS were given the chance to make up for their only loss against Barnardiston Prep. A yoyo affair resulted in last-minute try from ‘Player of the Tournament’ Kev Tavainavesi converted by ‘Most Improved Player’ Toby Ruffles to win the game 26-21. RHS were the Plate winners and Altrincham Grammar School winners of the Cup!

On the back of an encouraging display in Manchester, the U13s squad travelled down to London the morning of the International Rosslyn Park 7s Tournament full of optimism. Oppressive commuter traffic meant that they didn’t arrive until 10.25, just 5 minutes before the first game! Jumping straight from the bus, 11 players carrying kit bags and boots had the tricky task of finding the right pitch; a quick warm up and they were first up against group favourites, Amman Valley from Wales. The opposition managed to force the RHS team into errors resulting in two early tries but undeterred, the RHS boys rallied to pull 2 tries back but, ultimately, lost 15-12. Next up were Reed’s School who were put to sword 42-10 with an emphatic performance of superb 7s. The final game against an abrasive Bradford Grammar School resulted in a 29-12 but it wasn’t enough to continue to the knockout stages as Amman Valley had won all their games.

The highlight of the day was Kev Tavainavesi winning a signed Lions shirt from tournament sponsors HSBC for the quickest time in an on-site ‘gauntlet’ competition.

The boys must be congratulated for playing some outstanding rugby in difficult conditions and showing what hard work can do on the road to success.

Squad: Zac Puckey ©, Elliot Rayment, Charlie Miles, Elliot Chilvers, Ben Arulampalam, Toby Ruffles, Kuki DaunaKamaKama, Kev Tavainavesi, Harry Pugh, Max Orr, Toyo Ogunlesi, Felix Sheppherd, Oliver Durrant.