6:27pm Tuesday 26th March 2013
Dulwich College Preparatory School captain Charlie Lyons insists his side emerged with their heads held high after finishing as runners-up at the 2013 Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens.
Lyons and co lost out to Aysgarth in a one-sided preparatory schools final in Rosslyn Park, the Yorkshire school emerging comfortable 26-7 victors.
Earlier on Dulwich had made serene progress through to the final, seeing off the likes of Packwood Haugh, St John’s Northwood and Cheltenham College Junior School.
But, after failing to produce their best on the big occasion, Dulwich captain Lyons admitted that the final had been a step too far for his side.
“It was a tough encounter and they had a few big kids who were very handy on the ball and had a lot of speed,” said the 13-year-old.
“We were really up for it from the start but it was a tough game.
“I don’t think we believed we could come this far so it is a great achievement from the squad to get to the final. We didn’t know we could make it but the belief grew as the tournament went on.
“It was difficult playing in the conditions. You felt really sluggish with all the mud on your boots and it was quite tiring but you had to get on with it as it was the same for both teams.
“It is great to captain the side and it makes me feel really proud. They are a great group of boys who put all their efforts into this and we couldn’t have asked for more. It really is a great achievement.
“It is the last time we will play together so it was a bit of an emotional occasion. We have been playing together since we were nine-years-old and it wasn’t quite the perfect send-off but close enough.”
Over 600 teams of all levels from across the UK as well as international visiting teams took part in the tournament, which is now in its 74th year.
The 7,500 participants age from 13 to 18 with boys and girls taking part in the various different competitions during the week.
And World Cup winner Jason Robinson, speaking in his role as an ambassador for HSBC, insisted that the tournament is continuing to go from strength to strength.
“This is a great competition, it is very competitive but at the same time it is all about improving as well,” he said.
“While everyone wants to come and win there are actually teams that don’t play a lot of rugby playing for the first time and I think that is important.
“You look at the England-Wales Six Nations game, it just highlights the fact that we need to produce more kids who are comfortable with the ball in their hand.
“Sevens just strips it down. The emphasis is not on the scrum, the maul or kicking. It is about running with the ball, creating space, playing with your head up and using those skills.
“Especially with Sevens being an Olympic sport now, this competition is more important than ever with the future of this sport in this country in mind.”
Rugby World Cup winner and British & Irish Lions legend Jason Robinson is an HSBC ambassador. Jason was attending the Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens tournament running special coaching clinics for participating schools courtesy of HSBC. For more information visit www.rpns7.co.uk
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