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Trinity School, Croydon, took a number of teams to the Rosslyn Park National Schools Sevens tournament last month, but a very special mention must go to the U16 team. The U16s made school history by beating nine brilliant rugby teams to get to the national final.

A total of 252 teams entered tournament with schools travelling from all round the country: Wales, Scotland, Ireland and even Dubai. The tournament has become the world’s largest rugby tournament with over 14,000 boys and girls aged 11-18 competing annually.

Mr Kimmins, U16 Rugby Sevens Coach, reports back from an exhilarating tournament:

To win the national tournament, you have to win 10 games in a row; absolutely no mean feat when you are playing the best schools in the country. The Rosslyn Park 7s is considered to be one of the hardest competitions in school sport and schoolboy rugby. However, the U16s almost did just that, losing out to a brilliant Sedbergh team in the final.

Day one

On day one of the tournament, Trinity was drawn against Wrekin College, Cwmtawe and Finbourough in the group. The team started extremely well against Wrekin, running in tries at regular intervals with the whole squad contributing to a 43-12 win. It was much the same against Cwmtawe, where Trinity eased to victory 38-12. Against Finborough however, it was the first time the team were tested. Finborough went 12-0 up in the opening stages through two well-worked tries, and it was time for the team to dig deep. Some excellent offloading from Ben Beadle and Harry Webzell created space for Ezekiel Asigo to score. Oliver Styles got in on the act, and Ollie Young had his best game yet. Trinity overcame the challenge to run out 45-17 winners.

To qualify for the second day, teams had to win an eliminator match against another group winner. Trinity was drawn against The Leys School from Cambridge. The boys never looked in doubt, and when Kaiden Watson, Dan Aisa Miller and Cameron Buxton all scored, Trinity went into a commanding lead. Luke Thorne and Matthew Oppong worked outstandingly in defence, and Lanre Olatunji was too fast for the opposition, as Trinity eventually won 33-7. All in all, a very good first day where the team were only scratching the surface of their potential performance levels.

Day two

On to day two, where Trinity was drawn in a group against Stanwell School, Oundle and the much-fancied Bedford School. Picking up where they left off, Trinity won comfortably against Stanwell, where the defensive work of Jayden Alabi was a noticeable energy shift and pressed the opposition into many mistakes. They then followed this up by beating Oundle 22-12, where Joel Adu Kwapong was playing some of his best rugby yet. He beat many defenders over the few days, but also never put a foot wrong in defence, helping to set up a group decider against Bedford who had also won both their group games. Trinity started very physically in defence, taking every opportunity to attack defensive breakdowns, and caused Bedford many headaches. Max Anderson was outstanding all tournament, however, it was now that he really started taking the team with him, working tirelessly in defence and feeding Kaiden Watson and Ezekiel Asigo for more well-taken tries. Trinity win 26-7.

The quarter final ended up as a repeat to the U14 quarter final for the boys two years ago, where Trinity lost in a close match to George Watson’s College. However, that wasn’t to be this time. Trinity controlled possession, won their restarts and shut out George Watson’s quick runners every time they had the ball. Watson’s were stunned as they hadn’t lost a game yet this season, and when Ben Beadle and Ezekiel Asigo scored in the second half, Trinity knew they had won the game, finishing comfortably at 27-14.

The semi-final was a repeat of the Bedford match, who had progressed as the best placed second team in the group. Trinity stuck to the same game plan, and important contributions from Cameron Buxton and Luke Thorne in defence, meant that Max Anderson and Kaiden Watson could use fresh legs to score three well-taken tries and take us to the final, winning 17-10.

The team had now made history as the best ever run in the competition in Trinity’s history. They faced a Sedbergh side who no other team had got close to. They beat other tournament favourites, Epsom College, 38-5 in the other semi-final. Trinity more than competed in the final, being watched by 1,000’s both live and online. They had many chances to score in the first half, going agonisingly close through Dan Aisa Miller and Ezekiel Asigo, but somehow found themselves 26-0 down against a quality Sedbergh side. This is when the team could have given up, but they are made of much more than that. Kaiden Watson, Harry Webzell and Max Anderson all leading from the front, and Trinity came back into it to restore pride and show everyone how good they are. Max Anderson got his try in another outstanding performance, alongside Ben Beadle who had worked his socks off all game. Trinity ended up drawing the second half 12-12.

Squad:

Luke Thorne
Oliver Styles
Benjamin Beadle
Ollie Young
Ezekiel Asigo
Cameron Buxton
Max Anderson(Capt)
Harry Webzell
Daniel Aisa Miller
Kaiden Watson
Joel Adu-Kwapong
Lanre Olatunji
Matthew Oppong
Jayden Alabi


“I could not be prouder of what the boys have achieved. To get to a national final in the manner they did does not only require a lot of skill, but more importantly a lot of heart and character. What impressed me the most was their work rate. They did not stop working for each other, and always lifted each other up when a mistake was made. They played against, and beat, some excellent rugby teams, and if it wasn’t for their collective responsibility to keep going for the person next to them, this would never have been possible. 1-14, they were absolutely brilliant, and represented so much of what Trinity School is about. They will always look back and share these memories, knowing that they did something very special

Mr Kimmins, U16 Rugby Sevens coach


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