Harrow claimed the U14 title at the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s after a gruelling two days of rugby.
They beat Jumeirah English Speaking School, from Dubai, 35-14 in the final, ending a wonderful run from the Dubai based school but crowning a stunning two days of rugby from Harrow.
After topping the group on Day One, Harrow then beat Radley College 33-0 in their elimination round game at the end of the opening day. The winners of those elimination round games would head to the Cup last 16 pools on Day 2, the losers to the Plate last 16 pools.
Little did we all know it at the time, but the Harrow v Radley College elimination round game was a vital game for the tournament. Both would go on to win their respective competitions, Harrow winning the Cup and Radley College beating Manchester Grammar School 31-19 to secure the Plate, playing some truly sensational rugby along the way.
Back to the Cup though, where Harrow faced a pool containing Howard of Effingham and Worth and came through unscathed. Jumeirah meanwhile had a pool that almost gave new meaning to the word difficult, containing both Whitgift and Epsom College, two sides being touted as real title challengers.
It lived up to the billing, first Whitgift beat Jumeirah, then Epsom beat Whitgift, meaning that and Epsom win over Jumeirah would send them through, while a Jumeriah win would send the whole group down to points difference. What nobody could have counted on though was one of the most astonishing performances of the day as Jumeirah blitzed Epsom to go flying into the quarterfinals.
There they were tested heavily again, facing a St Peter’s York side looking to back up their fantastic Colts victory the day before. Another massive game ensued, with the Dubai side winning 28-24.
Harrow meanwhile was relentless, taking on Stockport Grammar, who had qualified as the best runner up from the last 16 pools, and putting in a massive performance for a 40-7 victory.
Into the semi-finals then and Harrow were starting to look ominous, they took on New Hall, who had been turning plenty of heads, not least in their 35-12 defeat of Stowe in the quarterfinals. Harrow just kept on coming through, the speed of their play just too much to handle and taking them to a 35-17 victory and a place in the final.
Jumeirah meanwhile had beaten surprise package Rodillian Academy 31-7 in their semi-final to make a bit of Rosslyn Park history, becoming, to our knowledge at least, the first overseas side to make a Rosslyn Park National School 7s final.
They wanted a bit more history though, they wanted to win this U14 Cup but they came up against a Harrow side that was just playing some sensational rugby. Relentless as soon as they got a sniff of victory, Harrow charged for the title in a wonderful final performance.
For Jumeirah, it will have hurt, but they go home knowing that they have sealed a place in Rosslyn Park history that nobody can take away from them.
Harrow though take home the Cup and deservedly so after two outstanding days of 7s. With the Colts in two years time and the U18 Cup after that, you can be sure to see this group of young men challenging for honours again at this incredible tournament.
Radley College meanwhile won the Plate, playing some lovely rugby along the way. After their elimination round defeat to Harrow a Plate group with RGS High Wycombe and Bournemouth Collegiate awaited.
They came through that unscathed before a stunning 38-0 victory in the quarter-final against a Wimbledon College side that had impressed many on the opening day.
They repeated the trick in the semifinals, this time against a side even more fancied, Reigate Grammar, once again 38-0. The momentum that Radley was building was irresistible.
It sent them into a final against a Manchester Grammar side also playing some sensational rugby, finishing ahead of Wimbledon College and Dulwich College took some doing in the Last 16 pools, while a 36-21 victory over George Watson’s College in the quarterfinals was the game of the round.
Then came their semi-final against a side that will not take many headlines but should, Finborough. This small East Anglian side played some glorious rugby throughout, punching well above their weight with an exceptionally talented group of players. Ultimately though, the semi-final was too much, with Manchester Grammar running out 31-24 victors.
In the final Radley just had too much, such was the momentum that they had built through these knockout rounds. Manchester Grammar tested them more than anyone and should take huge credit for their performances across the two days.
Radley was magnificent though, not just in that 31-19 performance in the final but across the two days, and how fitting that their only defeat of the tournament came in that elimination round to the eventual Cup champions, Harrow, who were quite simply the class of the age-group. Exactly how a Cup and Plate format should work.
Article by: https://www.eng.ruggas.co.za