On the 21st May 2017 the Rosslyn Park National rugby sevens squad travelled to Twickenham Stadium to play an exhibition match in front of 55,000 people as part of the HSBC London 7’s series. This was a result of their victory at Rosslyn Park in March.
This is the second time the School has played at this event after winning the title in 2016 and retaining it in 2017. The match was a repeat of the final and it was decided that all members of the squad would play a half game of rugby with the message being that it was all about the experience rather than result.
Rather than playing the strongest side, the first half team was made up of entirely U6th formers who have all been at the School for five years and played at Rosslyn Park during the two day tournament. Amongst that side were boys who had played U14C, U16B and even 4th XV rugby in the previous years. At half time, they were replaced by a mainly L6th and U5th side who were all part of the national winning squad.
The first half was a tight affair with the team responding brilliantly after conceding an early try. Rob Cloete scored on the stroke of half time after a wonderful tackle from Harry Binnion which dislodged the ball from the attacker and gave Rob a chance to gather the loose ball and fly over the try line.
The second half saw the best of Cranleigh attacking power and the team ran in three tries from Tom Nicole, Harry Serjeant and then a 60m run and score from Harry Binnion. This lead to a victory of 22 points to 12 and capped off a season which will be tough to surpass in the future.
Andrew Houston, Director of Rugby, wrote: “This group of players have trained so hard and achieved some wonderful things. What amazes me is how they have supported each other and how much they have improved over the course of the season and throughout their time here at the School. All but one of the boys have been here from the Fourth Form and with players starting at U14C team level. That is what makes it all so special. Winning wasn’t important at Twickenham and I wanted to make sure the whole squad got a half game of rugby and a moment in the spot light. I felt strongly that this was the right thing to do as a reward for all they have done for me and the School. To see so many supporters and friends in the crowd made it a very special day. 2016/17 will be incredibly tough to beat in terms of titles and trophies but I just hope our junior players realise how much hard work these players have committed to. They really are a very special bunch of young men.”