A year ago I reflected on the fact that it would take an exceptional school side to win the Open Tournament at the Rosslyn Park national Sevens and that we were likely to be entering a period of domination by a number of colleges of further education. Last year AASE college, Filton secured the title with a win over Hartpury College. On Friday after five rounds of knockout rugby, Coleg Sir Gar emerged as convincing winners of the Open Tournament and in doing so became the first Welsh side to secure the title since 1995.
The large multi campus college from West Wales and Llanelli Scarlet’s Academy Centre of Excellence produced a hugely authoritive performance in overcoming last year's Daily Mail U18 champions, Whitgift. The 26-0 scoreline belied the fact that Whitgift defended superbly but had no answer for the patient build-up play of Sir Gar. Two tries either side of half time saw the Welsh side secure their first Open title after reaching three semi finals in recent years.
Commenting on their success Sir Gar head of rugby Euros Evans was full of praise for his side saying:
“We were in the tough side of the draw and Whitgift gave us a really tough time but we did enough to get over the line.
“It’s been ten years in the making and I’m just so proud of the boys.
“It’s been a really tough tournament but it’s the pinnacle of schoolboy Sevens. The boys were challenged both physically and mentally but we’re just so chuffed.”
Sir Gar conceded only six tries in there nine games over two days of competition and kept their line intact for four of the games. After scoring 166 points in their qualifying group, relatively straightforward wins were secured against Campion 33-0 and St Benedict's 35-7.
The quarter-final saw Sir Gar face the reigning champions Filton College, who they had beaten in the semi-finals of the Marches 7s. In the end the Welsh side emerged as 14-10 winners in their closest game of the tournament. That set-up a semi-final clash with Millfield, who had reached the final four thanks to a 22-17 extra-time win over Llandovery College. Previous form suggested a close game was in prospect but the Welsh side dominated the semi final securing a place in the final with a 32-7 margin.
Whitgift had breezed through the group stages scoring 184 points in the process. After surviving a narrow victory over Bishop's Wordsworth, the Croyden based school carried on their free scoring form with convincing victories over Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr and Worcester College. In the semi final they are overcame a stern challenge from the equally impressive Sedbergh, winning 24-21.
A unique double for Coleg Sir Gar was not to be as their Girls team lost out in the final to a very impressive Moulton College side from Northampton, 29-0.