National Schools Sevens
The World's Largest Rugby Tournament
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Glories and Stories
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
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
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
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.
© National Schools Sevens
© National Schools Sevens