QEGS crowned sevens champions

Celebration time for QEGS U16s players at the Rosslyn Park Sevens.
Celebration time for QEGS U16s players at the Rosslyn Park Sevens.

Captain Harry Clarke insisted Queen Elizabeth Grammar School exceeded their expectations and then some, after being crowned champions at the Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens.

Clarke led QEGS U16s to four wins out of four in the group stages of the Colts competition at the 75th anniversary of the prestigious tournament in London.

And that set the tone for their remaining fixtures as a further four victories set up a final with perennial Rosslyn Park achievers Wellington College but they were no match for QEGS.

They secured a 26-5 victory to take the Colts title for the first time in their history and proud skipper Clarke admitted that was far more than they could have wished for.

“It’s brilliant. When we arrived we were just trying to get to the second day so to go all the way to the end was great,” he said.

“The whole squad depth was brilliant; the guys that came in with fresh legs made an impact to the game and everyone did really well.

“We knew we just had to play our best; Wellington are a good side. This is my first time at Rosslyn Park so to win first time is a great achievement.

“We’ve had a great run of games and to be unbeaten is not easy so I’m really proud of how we’ve done.

“The younger side did the school proud as well so I think it was a successful few days and we will definitely try to improve because of it.”

QEGS U16s were joined at the Rosslyn Park Sevens by their U13s who lost in the last 16 of the junior competition to Cowbridge Comprehensive School.

They shared the Rosslyn Park pitches with more than 600 teams from across the UK and abroad but still managed to catch the eye of England scrum-half Danny Care.

And Care, who has won 47 caps for England and is an HSBC Ambassador for the Rosslyn Park Sevens, insists he saw enough from QEGS to notice that they have a few stars in the making.

“It’s an unbelievable tournament – the biggest school’s tournament in the world – so it’s great for the kids from everywhere in the UK to come and there are also international teams as well,” said Care.

“The talent on show was really good, I did a few coaching clinics and the kids were good and keen to learn and listen.

“Hopefully there were a few stars of tomorrow around. There were definitely a few flyers and star players around the pitches.”

Care was speaking on behalf of HSBC at the Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens where he helped run HSBC coaching clinics for schools during the tournament. For more information visit www.rpns7.co.uk

Meanwhile, QEGS U15s suffered disappointment at Twickenham on Saturday as they lost 17-0 to Warwick in the NatWest Schools Cup final.

QEGS had their moments - especially at the start of the second half - but could not prevent Warwick retaining the title they won 12 months earlier.

Warwick led 5-0 at half-time but QEGS came out with the bit between their teeth in the second half.

Looking to put more width on the ball, they saw some success with Joe Gatus and Chesachi Hani-Okaroafor finding space on the outside and Warwick’s defence had to be at its scrambling best to deny them.

Warwick made it 10-0 with a try eight minutes from time and they completed the scoring with a try on the final play.

QEGS head coach coach Gary Pickersgill said: “We just couldn’t get points on the board, we had chances to, but just couldn’t. If we’d have turned around at half time at 0-0 then it would have been a big confidence boost.”

QEGS director of rugby Trevor Barker added: “We’re very proud.

“If you’d have said at the start of the year that this side would make it to Twickenham we wouldn’t have believed you, but they’ve come together brilliantly.”