After celebrating season’s rugby successes, School now looks forward to the QE Sevens

After celebrating season’s rugby successes, School now looks forward to the QE Sevens

As the School’s U14 and U16 rugby squads prepare to welcome teams from around the country to the 48th annual QE Sevens tournament, their U15 counterparts are reflecting on a strong national competition run.

Another recent highlight was the first-ever QE Rugby Dinner, which saw top players from all year groups come together to celebrate their love of the game.

The QE Sevens, held this year on Sunday 10th March, is one of the country’s biggest school sevens tournaments. It has cup and plate competitions for both U16 and U14 age groups. QE’s own players recently got some practice in at warm-up sevens tournaments at Haberdashers’ and London Oratory schools.

Head of Rugby James Clarke said: “We are busy putting in place the final preparations for the big day. QE Sevens provides invaluable opportunities for our rising players to test themselves against strong opposition. It’s an event at which QE families, alumni and staff can welcome old friends and make new ones.

“Most of all, it’s a great day out at the School – an opportunity to cheer on the home teams and to watch highly competitive, fast-moving rugby in a convivial atmosphere. The action starts at 11:00am. It’s free, and spectators are welcome just to turn up on the day: we look forward, as usual, to seeing many supporters on the touchline!”

The U15s stormed through three rounds of the National Bowl to reach a fifth-round home game against Emanuel School in Battersea. With no first round played, they had kicked off their campaign by securing a convincing 36-7 win in October against Hampstead’s University College School.

They then dispatched both Parmiter’s School, from Garston – whom they defeated 15-12 in round 3 – and Debden Park High School, from Loughton in Essex – against whom the winning margin was greater, with the final score at 25-14.

In their encounter with Emanuel School, they led throughout, amassing a 14-3 lead in the second half. However, after a strong fightback by the visitors, they saw victory snatched from their grasp by an Emanuel try in the last play of the match.

“It was a truly painful defeat,” said Mr Clarke. “Had the boys managed to hold on and see out the match, they would only have been two games from the final at Twickenham. But they should be congratulated on playing some fantastic rugby, both in this game and throughout their run.”

There was some consolation for several of the U15 backline when they found themselves named in the QE Team of the Year, which was announced at the inaugural Rugby Dinner in the Shearly Hall.

There were also prizes for boys of all ages in the Most Improved Player, Players’ Player, and Player of the Season categories.

Inspirational speeches came in the form of videos from current South African captain Siya Kolisi and London’s Maggie Alphonsi MBE, former flanker for Saracens and England.

Also speaking on video was guest speaker Desh Ganeshamoorthy (OE 2014–2021), a former First XV player, who fondly recalled his own QE rugby memories: “I think I ended up playing every position but fly half and scrum half…it was so much fun.”