Rugby Union / National Schools Sevens: King's pick up as they left off

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The Independent Online
TAKE 312 schools, a record entry, involve them in four separate competitions amounting to 622 matches spread across four days, scratch your head and ask yourself the question: 'How do they do that?' Only hard-working Rosslyn Park, who run the National Schools Sevens, can come up with the answer.

They have had plenty of practice, mind. Then again, only 16 schools were invited to the inaugural tournament in 1939. Such humble beginnings and now all this. Yesterday's group matches in the Festival event, restricted to those playing rugby in one term only, resulted in the use of 10 pitches.

Peter Tanner, the chairman of the Sevens committee, started work on next year's tournament last November and before this one got underway there were the usual worries.

These mostly take the shape of late withdrawals, which then involves bringing in one of the reserve teams. Rossall from Lancashire, losing finalists 10 years ago and winners here in 1979, provided one such headache, pulling out 'due to circumstances beyond my control', according to John Dewhurst, their master in charge.

The International School of Geneva, who can number 'Stormin' Norman' Schwarzkopf, the Gulf War commander, among former pupils, lost to Feltham Blacksheep, the boys from the institution for young offenders.

Blacksheep suffered in the long run, too, which left the field clear for another dart at the title by King's Canterbury, the '93 winners.

ROSSLYN PARK NATIONAL SCHOOLS SEVENS: Festival Tournament Group Winners: Christ Brecon, King's Taunton, St Paul's, Blundells, Kelly College, Dauntsey's, St Bees, Oratory, Kent College, Monmouth, Clayesmore, Bryanston, King's Canterbury, King's Worcester, Loughborough, Skinners.