Finalists at Round 1 Super 7s Series
Super 7s Series is a 4 Round Elite 7s tournament in the UK with the some of the very best Elite invitational 7s teams. There are 12 core teams and then each round there are 4 guest teams. The core teams include the likes of Samurai, British Army, Rabbling Jesters, Apache, Akuma Rugby Agents and of course ourselves! In round 1 we had guest sides including Leicester Tigers! The teams for Round 1 were
Core Teams Guest Teams
Samurai RFC Leicester Tigers
Guildford Bears Bury St Edmonds RFC
Oxfam Crusaders Welsh Crawshaws
British Army Samurai Academy
Akuma Hurricanes/Rugby agents
GB Student Select
Speranza 22 Round 1 team (Photo credit: Shawn Pearce @spearcephotos)
Speranza 22 were invited on to the Super 7s Series core teams for 2019 after a strong debut season in the UK and Ireland in 2018 winning the Bournemouth 7s National Elite Cup, being finalists in the Kinsale 7s in Ireland and Chester 7s and then winning the Dubai International Open. Round 1 of the Super 7s series was held at Bury St Edmonds RFC and large crowds had turned up to watch some of the best Elite invitational 7s teams in the country.
Speranza 22 were drawn in pool D alongside established Super 7s series teams Akuma Hurricanes/Rugby Agents, GB Student Select plus the guest team and hosts Bury St Edmonds. Game 1 was against the GB Students. S22 always feel their way into a tournament as the lads do not get a chance to train before any tournament and so it was in the opening game against a very talented GB Student Select side. S22 grinding out a 21 – 14 win. Next up was the Rugby Agents and we knew they would be a tough outfit with their experience, wide playing pool and success over the years. S22 started to hit their stride and again played some great attacking rugby but more importantly showed some excellent defence to again win a close fought battle 19-14. Next up were are hosts Bury St Edmonds and a win would see us top Group D. The boys were playing excellent rugby and managed a strong 45-0 win to see us heading into the Cup Quarter Finals.
Mike Adlard in action (Photo credit: Shawn Pearce @spearcephotos)
Next up was the impressive Samurai Academy who we knew would be strong after coming second in a group containing Rambling Jesters, Stunts 7s and Marlborough Lomaiviti. However, as is often the case, S22 just kept getting better and eventually ran out convincing 33-10 winners. It was now a Cup Semi Final against the British Army who we had last met in the final of Bournemouth almost a year ago. We soon learnt that there is never an easy game in the Super7s Series and so this proved against a very strong British Army side. The scores ebbed and flowed with S22 going 12-0 up before the Army came back to lead 12-19 at half time. A strong second half from S22 with two unanswered tries saw an excellent win 26-19 and set up a dream cup final in our first ever series tournament. Our opponents…. Our Group D friends the Akuma Rugby Agents, who had defeated Rambling Jesters (QF) and Apache (SF). It was a dream start in the final as S22 went out to a 14-0 lead but after some key injuries to two S22 players and some exceptional rugby by our opposition the Akuma Rugby Agents ran out deserved winners 14-26. It was an exceptional debut appearance by the Speranza22 and we now go in to Round 2 on 18th May at Broadstreet RFC with the confidence that we can compete at this level.
Matt Pollen breaking away (Photo credit: Shawn Pearce @spearcephotos)
Rory Greene: "I am exceptionally proud of the lads. We went into Round 1 with some key players from our triumphant Dubai side missing through injury including Ben Magee, Lloyd Owen and Callum McKenzie but as all ways we knew some quality players to step in. It is always a bit nerve racking to step into the top level competition, whilst confident you belong there you never know until you actually play. The lads played some fantastic rugby against some of the powerhouses of invitational and club 7s teams to have a dream start to our time in the Super 7s Series. However, we are under no illusion about the quality of the teams in the series and realise that one excellent result gets us nowhere. We now need to kick on and keep working hard to try and get some more results in the remaining 3 rounds. The lads who played for the first time for S22 excelled and our now part of our ever growing family. It is amazing what can be achieved when talented rugby players, who more importantly are top lads off the field, are allowed the freedom to just go out and play, for each other and a great cause"
S22 are raising money for an Ethiopian Orphanage and donations can be mad at www.gofundme.com/speranza-22
Cam Roberts VC: "After a typically Speranza slow start the team performances improved as the day went on and the new players bedded in. We felt like we deserved to come away with silverware but 7’s isn’t always fair and a couple of cruel injuries meant finishing the tournament with 9 players. We did ourselves proud in our first S7S tournament and can take the momentum gained from the first round up to Broadstreet for Round 2 . The boys feel more than confident we can compete again and progress well in the rest of the series."
Captain Josh Hall (Photo credit: Shawn Pearce @spearcephotos)