WELLINGTON College beat back the nerves of playing in front of a 20,000 Twickenham crowd to be crowned HSBC Rosslyn Park Champions.
After claiming victory in the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School Sevens Festival tournament in March, Wellington went up against Open winners Cumbria’s Sedbergh School at the home of English rugby as part of the final round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
Given motivational pre-match team talks by Wales and British and Irish Lions centre Jamie Roberts and England Sevens player Chris Cracknell, the squads then enjoyed the honour of walking out of the tunnel and onto the hallowed turf.
And after scoring an early try though Nick Haynes, Wellington never looked back, emerging 17-5 winners with additional tries from Sam Aspland-Robinson and Ed Forshaw plus a Charlie Wicks conversion.
“It’s amazing,” said 18-year-old captain Simon Sexton. “To be able win the overall thing, here in front of so many people is so great to do – a real privilege.
“I was so nervous. We knew what a massive deal it was just to get here in the first place and then with the build up and the crowd. But we went ahead early and looked to take our opportunities.”
Having failed to grasp the opportunity to win the title during the last few years, Wellington finally managed the feat in front of a crowd that was enlivened from having just watched England thrash Fiji 27-0.
Delighted Wellington first team coach Kevin Brennan said: “Having come here and won today I’m absolutely thrilled for the lads.
“Both teams put in a lot of effort; I don’t think I have ever seen our boys look so tired.
“The whole occasion is a great reward for all the effort they have put in this season.”
After the match, all players were presented with commemorative t-shirts by Cracknell and Roberts with the latter admitting the opportunity to run out and play at Twickenham was a special occasion to be treasured.
“I was very impressed by the skill and intensity of it,” said Roberts.
“Congratulations to Wellington College, I think they were deserved winners on the day.
“It is great that all the guys have got the experience of playing at Twickenham. It’s something that not many boys their age get to do.”
Open and Festival winners from the world’s largest school rugby tournament, the Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens, played at Twickenham during the London Sevens, the ninth and final round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in front of record spectators courtesy of HSBC. For more information visit www.rpns7.co.uk