Stonyhurst can hold heads high!

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Captain Alexander Cruise insisted Stonyhurst College could hold their heads high despite missing out on the top prize at the 76th Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools’ Sevens.

Cruise, 17, and his teammates pitted themselves against some of the country’s best in the Festival competition at the world’s largest school Sevens tournament in south west London last week.

In a sevens tournament like this you are expecting tough games, but that is what you want

Alexander Cruise

Drawn in a group of five, Stonyhurst gave it their best shot, topping their group with an unbeaten record before progressing all the way to the semi-finals, where their run ended.

Despite the disappointment, however, Cruise admitted it had still been a worthwhile outing: “We came up against Seaford College first and they were physical boys, much bigger than what we are used to, so it was really good to start with a win against them.

“In a sevens tournament like this you are expecting tough games, but that is what you want.

“We came here last year and did well by getting to the second day, but it was very tiring and we tried to learn from that this time around.

“We’ve always got this tournament in our minds and we’ve done well in a couple of sevens tournaments so far this year, but this is one we wanted to win. It’s a shame it didn’t work out but it was still a good effort.”

A total of 650 teams, comprising 7,500 participants aged from 13-18, competed in various different competitions across the week, with the two Open finalists also getting the chance for a rematch at Twickenham during the ninth and final round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

They were also watched closely by England international Mike Brown, the full-back impressed by the next generation of rugby stars.

“It’s been great to see the different schools in action and the high standard of rugby that is out there,” he said.

“There are some good kids, some very quick players, I remember when I was that age and couldn’t even stretch that quick. It will be good to see if any of them carry on all the way to the top level.

“Rosslyn Park Sevens is massively important to help develop grassroots rugby and help the players down here move forward and hopefully they’ll enjoy their rugby even more so they want to carry on.”

• HSBC is proud to sponsor the world’s largest schools rugby tournament. All HSBC’s rugby sponsorships aim to help develop and grow the sport and ensure even more youngsters get involved with rugby.