Bromsgrove secured the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s U18 Vase title on Wednesday after an epically well-contested two days of rugby.
The Midlands side was sensational in the final, beating Rugby School 26-5 after a stunning first half saw them lead 14-0 before they really stretched out in the second half for a 26-0 lead.
Rugby deservedly pulled one back in the end for 26-5, a fitting score as they truly had been magnificent all day.
Indeed the Vase competition was completely draining for all sides, such was the effort they had been forced to put in. It was, perhaps, the most impressive aspect of their performance in the final, their sheer energy. With each score, they showed superb zip and in defence, their enthusiasm to bounce back to their feet and keep working for the men either side of them truly was a sight to behold.
They had reached the day after winning their opening group on Tuesday ahead of an elimination round 38-5 victory over Ysgol Y Preseli, who would go on to the Bowl semi-finals.
That left Bromsgrove in a quarterfinal pool alongside Norwich School and Cathedral School, Llandaff. The Vase competition consisted of six quarterfinal groups of three, from which the winners progressed to two semi-final groups of three, with the winner of each of those meeting in the final.
Bromsgrove headed up that quarterfinal pool, while Rugby School finished ahead of RGS Guildford and Wimbledon College, who had both impressed so much on the opening day.
Rugby’s semi-final pool was as tough as it gets, alongside Merchiston Castle and Epsom College, two sides that had come under some heat for their position in this Vase competition rather than the Cup. Epsom had come through a tricky quarter-final pool ahead of George Watson’s College and Eton College, while Merchiston had been superb against Tonbridge and Cheltenham College.
Bromsgrove meanwhile found themselves in a semi-final pool against Oakham and Seevic College. Seevic had finished ahead of Millfield 2nd VII and Durham in their quarterfinal pool, Oakham finishing ahead of Downside and Gower College in theirs.
Bromsgrove was in fine form against Seevic for a 32-12 victory, but Oakham, who had looked like one of the favourites, gave them probably their toughest game of the tournament. However, this Bromsgrove side, who earlier in the season won the Solihull 7s, toughed it out for a 26-21 victory.
Over in Rugby’s Pool, things were tight, it seemed to be the pitchside view of many that either Merchiston or Epsom was the tournament favourites overall. As it turned out, all three were incredibly evenly matched, Merchiston edging out Epsom by a score before Rugby them did the same.
That left Rugby v Merchiston as the decider, and what a decider. Just three points separated them, Rugby were ahead 15-12 fairly early in the second half and then withstood a Merchiston onslaught for the rest of the game to hold on to that lead and secure their place in the final.
Perhaps that had simply tired them out too much ahead of that final, or perhaps Bromsgrove was just magnificent. Perhaps a bit of both.
Whatever the truth of it, what was certain was that Bromsgrove had played fantastic rugby all day and in the final the showed the very best of it, scoring some stunning tries and showing an intensity to their play that few could possibly have matched.
It was a wonderful achievement for these men in maroon and white, and a title that they have thoroughly earned.
For the sides losing in those Vase elimination games on Tuesday, the U18 Bowl was the prize. There was some cracking rugby throughout, as shown by the quality of the sides in the Bowl draw.
Ultimately it was RGS Newcastle that took the title, beating Felsted 26-17 to add the U18 Bowl to the St Joseph’s Festival title that they won before Christmas.
They had to do it the hard way, coming through a brutal quarter-final pool against Mount St Mary’s College and Berkhamsted, before heading into an even tougher semi-final pool alongside St Peter’s York and Campion.
That Pool was as tough as it gets and that was shown by the way it was decided – on points difference. RGS beat St Peter’s but lost to Campion, who in turn had lost to St Peter’s, leaving them all level on points but with RGS progressing with a plus 5 points difference to St Peter’s plus 2 and Campion’s -7. There was some consolation for St Peter’s though, who claimed the Try of the Day through Barney Baker.
Felsted, meanwhile, had finished ahead of St George’s College Weybridge and Isle of Man Schools in their quarterfinal pool to set up a semi-final pool against Ysgol Y Preseli and Exeter School, beating both to head into the final full of confidence.
It was a cracking final, with the score swinging back and forth with both sides giving it everything. Felsted had the lead at 17-14 and simply could not have given more to the cause.
RGS dug deep though, oh so deep, scoring for 19-17 and then hounding down Felsted, who looked like they might score themselves. Having won the ball back though, RGS slowly made their way downfield to finish off in magnificent style, scoring for a 26-17 victory and a brilliant U18 Bowl title.
The final plaudits must go to Bromsgrove though, who was quite simply magnificent in their final against a Rugby side that had been impressing all onlookers throughout the day’s play.
The zip and verve that they showed throughout the final was outstanding and left them the deserving Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s Vase champions, a stunning achievement.
Article by: http://www.fifteenrugby.com