Rugby Sevens: exciting play despite “tricky” conditions

Rugby Sevens: exciting play despite “tricky” conditions

Home teams and visiting players alike overcame the challenge of muddy pitches at the 42nd annual Queen Elizabeth’s School Rugby Sevens to deliver a high standard of play.

With 128 teams booked for the event from 45 schools nationwide, the 2018 tournament was, as usual, a landmark event in QE’s sporting calendar.

Old Elizabethans in attendance included former School Captain Aaron Sonenfeld (2000–2007), a leading First XV player of his era. Aaron, who spent some time talking to the Headmaster, read Political Science and Government at Cambridge and is now an Engagement Manager for international management consultancy firm, Oliver Wyman.

Sevens organiser James Clarke (OE 1999–2004), a PE & Games teacher at QE, said: “There was a very high level of rugby. Conditions were tricky, with muddy pitches, but the rain largely held off throughout most of the day.” He was assisted by a team including two former Heads of Games, who returned to QE to lend their support. Mark Peplow was at the School from 2002–2016, while David Maughan, Head of Games from 1974–2003, was instrumental in founding the tournament in 1976.

Richard Scally, also of the PE & Games department said: “Our U16s had an exciting opening match against Gunnersbury from Brentford, although a second-half resurgence was not quite enough to overturn the deficit from the first half. They then had to play the eventual winners, Tonbridge, before putting in a controlled display to beat The King’s School, Gloucester, 12-0, with a brace of tries from Year 10’s Jeff Hagan. “They displayed commendable intensity, particularly in that final game, which will set them up well for joining the senior XV next season.”

QE’s U14s began with defeat to Wimbledon College and were awarded a 25-0 walk-over win against absent Colfe’s School [from south-east London], before drawing 12-12 with Gunnersbury.

The U16 Cup was won by Tonbridge School, who triumphed 19-14 over Whitgift School, of South Croydon, in the final. In the U14 competition, it was Whitgift who won, beating Berkhamsted 25-22. Berkhamsted recorded a convincing 47-0 victory against Langley School, of Norwich, to take the U16 Plate, while Trinity School, Croydon, beat The Judd School, from Kent, to win the U14 Plate.

  • In the next age category down, QE’s U13s headed to Berkhamsted School for its Sevens tournament on the same day. PE & Games teacher Luke Jacobs said: “They performed very well, playing six matches, winning five and losing only one, to a strong side from The Perse School, Cambridge. They beat tough schools along the way, such as Barry School from Wales, Campion from Essex and notably Whitgift, a very prestigious rugby school whose older boys were doing so well at our own Sevens.” Notable performances came from Year 8 boys Oke Onyebuchukwu and Vinesh Sritharan who were “outstanding throughout the day”, Mr Jacobs said.