DURHAM School are looking to translate their 15-a-side success into the abbreviated code as they compete in the inaugural North East HMC Super Sevens.
The six-stage series is currently a third of the way through, and will culminate with a Twickenham presentation from a member of England’s full international sevens squad.
Durham school’s director of sport and master in charge of rugby, Ben Mason, is the man behind the concept, explaining: “I am the chairman of the HMC games masters’ committee, and what we found was we were getting a lot of stick for midweek tournaments because of the impact on the academic side.
“We have since restructured it to play predominantly Saturdays, and each tournament will be classed as a stage similar to the International Rugby Board’s World Sevens Series. There are six tournaments which are held every Saturday, running every weekend through this term until the culmination in the Rosslyn Park Sevens in London.”
With a season-long table as well as their weekly target, Mason added: “Schools will get a points tally based on their position in each event, and the one with the most will take the series.
“After Ampleforth and our own tournament in Durham (won by RGS Newcastle in a thrilling final against the home side) it is then on to Mount St Mary’s, the North of England Sevens, Hymers College and finishing at Rosslyn Park in London. We have done the same with the under-14s, 15s and 16s, and at Easter we will add up all the scores from the age-groups and come out with one overall winner. They will receive the trophy at Twickenham from one of the current England Sevens squad, and it is great recognition of what we are trying to do.”
Receiving a vote of confidence from England’s top men in the shortened form of the game, the director of sport said: “Russell Earnshaw and Ben Ryan, the England Sevens coaches, are both excited about this being a pioneering series they hope will be replicated in other regions.
“It increases the competitiveness, produces better players and is vital to the ongoing health of the national sevens side. We at Durham are really pleased to be taking a prominent role, even if it might be an administrative nightmare for me!”