St John’s School Leatherhead 1st VII rugby team have been crowned Rosslyn Park National School Sevens Vase champions. An outstanding Sevens campaign included reaching the Cup semi-finals at the Reigate and Surrey tournaments and wins over Brighton College, Wellington College and Harrow.
The last St John’s team to come close was in 1944 when the team came runners up. This year 170 schools competed for the National Sevens title resulting in a fierce competition. On Day 1 St John’s topped their pool with wins over Bedford Modern (43-0), Clayesmore (38-0), Yarm (17-7) and Christ’s Hospital (27-5), before beating The Perse 42-0 in an eliminator.
St John’s returned on Day 2 for the quarter-finals to beat a physical QEGS Wakefield team 26-15 before winning against Blundell’s 27-7. In the semi-finals, the team faced Eastbourne College and Oakham in quick succession. St John’s beat Eastbourne 34-24. A win against Oakham, the Champions Trophy semi-finalists, put them into the final with a 26-17 victory.
To be the first St John’s team to lift the trophy means so much and highlights the strength of St John’s rugby – 1st team coach, Nick Platt
The final against Cheltenham College proved an epic contest. It was all St John’s to start, leading 26-7 at half time. Cheltenham made a strong fightback but St John’s managed to hold on, eventually winning 26-24.
A strong fightback by Cheltenham saw the title saved by a Hugo Coughlan conversion and St John’s winning 26-24.
1st team coach, Nick Platt, said, “This is an outstanding achievement from a very talented and hard working set of players. To win the Vase title at the one of the most prestigious school tournaments in the world against high calibre opposition is an exceptional effort. They have played brilliant rugby in recent weeks, taking notable scalps and impressing expert judges in the process. To be the first St John’s team to lift the trophy means so much and highlights the strength of St John’s rugby.”