Seventy7s captain Harry Whiteley claims his side used their team spirit to triumph at a recent event but as they now gear up to take on the best the region has to offer, he is desperate to keep the hot streak going.
Whiteley’s Wandsworth-based side won the Graham Robinson Memorial Sevens, which took place at Old Emanuel RFC on March 26 and had been selected as one of 32 local qualifiers to host England Rugby’s inaugural community sevens competition, the 24/Sevens series.
24/Sevens is an exciting new community sevens series that aims to grow rugby and increase participation among men and women in clubs.
Local qualifier winners will progress to regional play-offs with the competition culminating in a showpiece national grand final event with 24 teams at the end of July, hosted by England Rugby.
And Whiteley claims that a real mixture of ages and a close bond in the Seventy7s team ultimately paid dividends at the Graham Robinson Memorial Sevens.
“We’re a very close team. We all know each other, we all went to school together and we’re very much a team in that sense,” the 26-year-old said.
“We’ve been a sevens teams for about five years but there are guys in the team who have been playing together for going on ten years.
“We’re quite a broad age group – there is one or two guys from each age group over six or seven years.
“So we’ve got 28-year-olds playing with 21-year-olds but we all went to Emanuel School in south west London.”
Seventy7s will now be part of the 24/Sevens South East play-off which takes place at Saracens’ Allianz Park on July 10 with a chance to reach the national grand final.
And Whiteley says that while his side will relish the opportunity to play on such a big stage, they are certainly not just there to make up the numbers.
He said: “We’re really excited for the tournament to continue now.
“It’s nice that the RFU are putting on an amateur sevens series playing against other teams around the country to see how far you can go.
“I play XVs at Richmond. I’m quite biased towards the sevens though and I love it.
“A lot of the guys don’t play XVs at all but come out for the summer and get stuck into sevens.
“For me, sevens is an enjoyable day out and we get quite good support, all our girlfriends come down to watch, our family and our siblings as well.
“It’s a bit of a day out for the team and the wider group associated with it.”
England Rugby 24/Sevens, a new exciting grassroots sevens competition for all rugby teams, welcoming anyone who just wants to pick up a ball and run, for fun or glory. Visit www.englandrugby.com/24sevens to get involved.
Picture courtesy of Molly Whiteley, with thanks