FORMER Stonyhurst College pupil Harrison Collins helped a scratch team of students conjure up a shock in Europe’s biggest rugby sevens tournament.
The powerful forward played a key part as a hastily-assembled squad of undergraduates from two rival English universities powered their way through to the final of the famous Heineken Kinsale Sevens in Ireland.
Second year sports student Collins, 21, was one of five scholars from Durham who teamed up with 10 from Bath to take the competition in County Cork by storm.
The students, playing under the banner of sports brand “Pride, Passion, Party,” delighted a large crowd with some sizzling rugby over two days of competition, only falling at the final hurdle in an annual event which attracts teams from across Europe.
The Pride, Passion, Party side, put together by New York-based party company Amscan International, were the youngest at Kinsale with an average age of just 20. Yet they steamed through the group stages finishing top of their section with a 100% record.
First off they hammered top Latvian side Kurshi Livonia 45-0, then they sprang the biggest surprise of the weekend by beating reigning champions Susie’s Exiles from Amsterdam 17-10.
And finally they claimed the scalp of Chillax Sevens 17-0 – Collins bagging one of the tries - to progress to the knockout stages.
In the semi-finals the PPP students swept aside Soho Sevens 31-15 to go through to the decider against Susie’s Exiles who had won the event three times in the previous five years.
But, despite putting up a brave fight, the experience of the Dutch side proved the telling factor.