National Pub Sevens 2012 - Report

England 7s Triumph at The National Pub7s at Harpenden RFC.

Despite only being the number two seeds in this year's National Pub 7s, England 7s walked away with the impressive Singleton Cup as the winners of the 47th Annual Pub 7s at Harpenden's Redbourn Lane ground on Sunday 26th August. However England's triumph was no walk-over as they had to battle hard to beat the very impressive fourth seeds, 'Apache', 27-14 in the final. With rugby 7s being part of the Olympics in 2016, Team GB's rugby 7s 'road to Rio' began successfully at Harpenden last weekend.

Under almost perfect weather conditions of blue skies and a cool breeze, some 31 teams took part in this year's competition and the crowd of 2,500 enjoyed some fine rugby, as well as Harpenden's excellent hospitality and organisation. Not only taking part were the elite teams such as England 7s, 'Apache', the White Heart Marauders, the Samurai British Bulldogs, the Nigerians and the Redstone 7s but there were also local Harpenden pub teams such as the Mighty Cocks, The Engineer, the Inn on the Green and the Oak Tree. There were also teams from as far afield as Bristol and Jersey as well as a team called 'The Farmers' from Hampshire who definitely had the move of the day with a wonderful successful dummy off the top of the lineout which allowed them to score completely unhindered as the entire opposing team, having 'bought the dummy', moved infield.

The tournament started with a group phase, with the ten group winners and the six best losers moving into the main competition. The remaining 15 teams went into The Plate competition, which was eventually won by 'St Edward's Martys', an old boys' team from St Edward's school, Oxford, after a thrilling 26 – 22 win over Hertford RFC in the final. The losers in the first round proper of the main cup competition went into 'The Barrel', which was won by another 'old boys' team, 'Bryanston's Old Boys', a well-recognised 7s team, who beat the 'Seven Dwarves', who did not appear to have a single small player in their team, 28 – 17 in another very exciting final.

The organisers had obviously done their 'homework' as the four top seeds contested the semi-finals of the main cup competition where, to most people's surprise, 'Apache' beat the top seeds, the White Hart Marauders, 19 – 0 in the first semi-final while England 7s ran out comfortable 45 – 0 winners against Samurai British Bulldogs in the second semi-final. Thus, as the sun began to set, the large crown anticipated a one-sided final between England 7s and 'Apache' but after only a few minutes they were cheering the 'Apache' underdogs as they proved very worthy opponents for England. However, England's undoubted superiority triumphed in the end as they ran in five tries to win the competition and so they were presented with the Singleton Cup by Harpenden RFC's President, Peter Danby.

Image galleries from previous years