The home-towners beat off stiff competition from across the east of England as the second Elite Insurance Schools Sevens reached its climax at the home of Northampton Saints last Thursday (April 24th).
Northampton School for Boys (NSB) beat Buckingham’s Royal Latin School in the final, which was played on the Franklin’s Gardens main pitch, before being presented with their trophy by Saints prop Ethan Waller.
Club captain Dylan Hartley provided both finalists with a pep talk, while Luther Burrell paid a visit to the afternoon’s group stages on the Franklin’s Gardens training pitches.
NSB coach Paul Bryant says it was a memorable day for his team.
“It was a wonderful experience,” he said. “The players are really proud of their efforts and really pleased to have got through to the final and enjoyed the opportunity to play at the Gardens.
“The standard of play has got better between the first and second year of the competition. Obviously some of the schools are at quite a novice level to begin with, but coming back year after year the level of expectations within the schools and the teams is getting bigger and therefore the standards will get higher.”
Ousedale School were the day’s other winners, taking home the Plate silverware after beating Lincroft School, also on the Franklin’s Gardens main pitch.
NSB, Royal Latin, Ousedale and Lincroft were joined by St Joseph’s College, Cherwell School, Campion School, Soham Village College, Linton Village College and the Royal Hospital School at Finals Day.
Over 45 schools entered the 2014 Elite Insurance Schools Sevens regional tournaments, which were held at Franklin’s Gardens, Bedford Athletic RFC, Shelford RFC, Stowmarket RFC and Sibford School.
Elite Insurance group executive officer Barbara Bock says that everyone at the company has been thrilled with how the Schools Sevens has developed in just one year.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic,” she said. “Year one itself was a triumph, and this year it has expanded. We have had a lot more schools entered and the Series has reached a lot more children.
“We were looking to increase the interest of Rugby Sevens in schools and support rugby right down to grass roots level, seeing children coming up through the ranks of what is now an Olympic sport.
“It’s been such a success that clubs have even approached us and asked us to expand the competition to club level. So really we couldn’t have asked for more!”
One of Northampton Saints' Elite Sponsors, Elite Insurance is dedicated to supporting youth rugby in the Eastern Counties and East Midlands, and after a successful inaugural Sevens Series in 2013 the company committed itself to a further three years of sponsorship of this unique Under-13 schools rugby competition.
And in 2014 the Series was expanded to accommodate Under-13 club teams in a new Club Sevens tournament, played along similar lines to the Schools Sevens.
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