National Schools Sevens

       The World's Largest Rugby Tournament


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1939                St. George's Harpenden won first "Public Schools seven-a-side Tournament" beating Clifton 10-8 at Exiles Club, Orleans Park, Twickenham.

1940                Tournament moved to Old Deer Park where Rosslyn Park shared the Ground with London Welsh.

1942                So keen were the Bedford and Oundle schools in the final that the first

                        score was reached before they realised there was no referee!

1948                Rugby boots advertised in programme cost £2 4s 8d (approx £2.25)

1949-54           Seven Internationals (4 England, 2 Ireland, 1 Scotland) had played in


1951                Michael Pearey, (late President of ESRFSU) played in winning Christ's

                        Hospital side

1953                Innovation of pennants awarded to winners and runners-up

1955                First TV coverage, BBC "Sportsview" commentary by Rex Alston

1956                Start of Prep schools competition - Marsh Court won, beating Caldicott 9-5

1957                Last Tournament at Old Deer Park - RPFC moved to Roehampton at end of season

                        Twelve Internationals had played in Tournament, including Marques and

                        Bartlett (England)

                        Ian Balding (the top racehorse trainer) a member of winning side,

                        Marlborough; then immediately played for Bath and Dorset

1958                London Society of Referees presented Rosslyn Park with Pavilion clock

1966                Gareth Edwards played in the winning Millfield side, having turned down

                        the chance to play for Welsh schools at Twickenham, and has declared

                        in his autobiography that the final match was one of his best rugby

                        memories. Following year, Edwards won the first of his 53 caps for      

                        Wales. Rod Speed (now coach at Millfield) in the same side.

1967                Keith Jarrett played for Monmouth and one month later scored 19 points

                        for Wales v England in Cardiff

1967                Peter Rossborough (England international and Manager of England’s RWC 7’s winning side in 1993) played for King Henry VIII Coventry

1968                RFU refused permission for a Cup to be presented by Moss Bros (reason - professionalism)

1969                Tournament title changed to “Schoolboy and Preparatory Schools Seven-a-side Tournament” to reflect the growing number of State schools taking part.

1970                First Festival competition (for one term rugby schools), Monmouth

                        beating Millfield 6-0

1970/1971       Les Cusworth (England international and Coach of England’s RWC 7s winning side in 1993) played for Normanton GS

1971                The late Derek Tanner (then Chairman of the Sevens Committee) and Rosslyn Park FC summoned to the RFU for purportedly seeking Sponsorship.  This was strictly against the amateur code at that time.

1973                First Junior competition for U13 group, Bancrofts winning against St. Anselms 12-6

1974                Tournament adopts the title “National Schools Sevens.”  Lillywhites and Midland Bank give “financial assistance” to the Tournament and this is acknowledged in the programme.

1975/76           Will Carling played for Terra Nova

1978                Chris Sheasby (England RWC 7s winner in 1993) played for Caldicott

1979                Centenary year of Rosslyn Park FC

First ever World Cup Schools 7s, included Japan, Canada, Trinidad, Hong Kong, Greece, Belgium, Sweden, France, Italy,  Netherlands, N. Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England.

HRH Prince Phillip attended Tournament presenting the cup to England who beat Italy 32-10

1980                Rob Andrew and Rory Underwood played in same Barnard Castle side – but only reached the semi-finals!

1981                Andrew Harriman (Captain of England RWC 7s winning side in 1993) played for Radley

1982                Midland Bank becomes the first sponsor of the Tournament.

1982                Damian Hopley (England RWC 7s winner in 1993 and now Chairman of the PRA) played for St. Benedict's

1982/3             Chris Oti played for Millfield, winners of the Open                    

1983                Chris Sheasby (see 1978) played for Radley

1984                Justyn Cassell  (England RWC 7s winner in 1993) played for Dulwich College.

1985                Phil de Glanville played for Bryanston, Festival runners-up

1986                Matt Dawson (England RWC 7s winner in 1993 & RWC winner in 2005) played for RGS High Wycombe (also in 1990/91)

1986                Tim Rodber (England RWC 7s winner in 1993) played for Churcher's


1987/88           Nick Beale (England RWC winner in 1993) played for RGS High Wycombe

1987                Ade Adebayo (England RWC winner in 1993) played for Kelly College

1988                International 7s held to mark Golden Jubilee of Rosslyn Park FC

1989                Lawrence Dallaglio played for Ampleforth in both the Open and Festival, scoring most of the points in a team that achieved a memorable double.   Lawrence went on to win the RWC 7s in 1993 and the RWC in 2003.  Also became Captain of England.

1991                Peter Phillips played for Port Regis.  His mother, HRH The Princess Royal attended the Tournament with Major Mark Phillips and daughter Zara

1992                Statistics over the past 25 years from Rugby News show Ampleforth as

                        the most successful school, followed by Millfield, St. Edward's Liverpool,

                        Llandovery, Monmouth, Plymouth, Royal Belfast

1992                Craig Quinnell played for Llandovery

1993                Almost every member of the England Rugby World Cup 7s had appeared in the Schools Sevens – as had the Manager and Coach.          

1994                International School of Geneva played - "Stormin'" Norman

                        Schwarzkopf's old school (Gulf War hero)

1994                Rhys Edwards (Gareth Edward's son) played for Millfield

1995                Liam Botham (Ian Botham's son) now at Cardiff played for Rossall

1995                Nigel Starmer-Smith's son played for Radley

1996                Female referees officiated for the first time.  Ed Morrison (referee World Cup Final in South Africa) officiated at the Tournament and presented prizes to Juniors and Preps

1996                Peter Philips played for Gordonstoun.  His mother, HRH The Princess Royal attended the Tournament with daughter Zara.

                        Ed Hallett (son of ex Secretary of RFU) played for Bryanston, Festival


1996                Kyran Bracken and Ian Balshaw played for Stonyhurst who won the

                        Open Tournament.

1997                Phil de Glanville (Captain of England) and Rob Wainwright (Captain of Scotland) officiated at presentation ceremonies.  Ireland represented by Paddy Johns

                        First Colts (U-16) competition, Millfield beating Llanhari 34-10

                        A record 753 matches played on 12 pitches over 4 days.

Ben Gollings currently world record points scorer on the IRB 7s circuit takes his school, Canford, to success in the Festival Tournament.           

1998                First Girls competition, John Cleveland beating Range High School 15-5

                        Robert Howley (Captain of Wales) officiated at presentation ceremonies

Gill Burns (Captain of England Women), Lawrence Dallaglio (Captain of England) and Rob Wainwright (Captain of Scotland) also officiated

Simon Danielli plays for Cheltenham.

1999                Old Boys Match held between 1939 Tournament winners and runners-up.  Won by St. George’s Harpenden.  Seven of the original 1939 players attended a lunch with Internationals and RFU representatives to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Tournament.

James Simpson- Daniel plays for Sedbergh.

2000                Old Boys Match held between Millfield and Ampleforth.  These 2 schools have been in the finals more times than any other schools.  The Minister for Sport, Kate Hoey attended the Tournament.  The Army assumes the sponsorship of the Tournament for 2001

2001                Army gets bogged down in mud!  Three times the normal annual rainfall in London falls in the four months before the Tournament.  Despite all attempts to drain pitches, only 2 of 16 pitches playable on last 2 days.  Girls & Open Tournaments cancelled.  The first time any competition had been cancelled in 63 years.  Trevor Leota’s team from the School of Hard Knocks (from inner city schools) competed in the Juniors.

2002                Future Hope from Calcutta, the school founded by Tim Grandage (ex Rugby school) for children he rescues from the railway lines competed in their first ever trip out of India.  Also welcomed were the boys from St. Vincent Grammar School from the West Indies.  Wellington College won the Festival for a magnificent 4 times in succession.  Drainage works (started in 2001) completed too late for this year’s event and again the Tournament was disrupted by flooding caused by months of torrential rain.

2003                First time for many years, the sun shone all week resulting in grumbles that the pitches were too hard. Cheltenham College had a magnificent win over Wellington College in the Festival Final. Maes Yr Yrfa entered the Colts for the 1st time and won.

Past competitors of the National Schools Sevens Matt Dawson and Lawrence Dallaglio become the first (and only) people to win both the RWC 7s and the XV a side version. Michaela Stanniford (Rickmansworth team) selected for the England World Cup squad

2004                Very exciting Open Final won by Ivybridge Community College who only started playing rugby 14 years ago.  A team from Romania competed for the first time and the RFU President held a dinner in the Presidential suite at Twickenham in their Honour, attended by the Romania Ambassador

2005                Future Hope from Calcutta return to the Tournament to take part in the Colts competition, as do the International School from Switzerland.  Millfield institutes an Old Boys Challenge match but lose 40 – 7 to Wellington College Old Boys.   Former Five Nations Grandslam winner, Maurice Colclough, has 3 daughters playing in the same Llandovery side.  Second Row partner, and Captain, Bill Beaumont, has his son playing in the Junior Tournament.

2006                First team from Ukraine (U13). Girls team from Hungary. 2nd visit from Romania and Switzerland. 2 teams from South Africa Townships thanks to benefactors from Millfield School parents.

2007             Martin Johnson (Captain, England at victorious 2003 RWC) attended the Tournament and presented Challenge Cups to the Juniors and Prep Schools.  Ten foreign teams competed.  Girls Tournament was sadly depleted by last minute withdrawals.

2008                Torrential rain, lightning and severe storm force winds caused Prep School and Festival Tournaments to be cancelled but due to some sterling work by the ground staff all the others were played. 

                        Nigerian school, Addax, competed for the first time.  In another first, the final day of the Tournament was filmed live on the internet and was watched in over 30 countries. 



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