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Whitgift School planning to land in Sevens heaven

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WHITGIFT School and rugby prowess have gone hand in hand down the years but, after making last year's Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens final, director of rugby Chris Wilkins is hoping to go one step further this time round.

Twelve months ago it was Coleg Sir Gar that claimed the boys' U18 open title but, having made the showpiece for the first time in almost 50 years, Whitgift were by no means dejected.

Whitgift, who can boast England fly-half Danny Cipriani among their alumni, will be looking to strut their stuff again at this month's Rosslyn Park Sevens, the world's largest schools tournament of its kind.

They have won five titles at the tournament in total and 41-year-old Wilkins is determined to build the same momentum that carried them to their second successive final last year.

"The lads are really looking forward to the Sevens, it's that time of year when we move into the Sevens and this tournament is one we all look too," he said.

"It's been a tough season with the U15s, we were knocked out of the Daily Mail Cup in the last 16 by Hampton, but I was pleased with how we were going up until Christmas.

"Then injuries started to take their toll, we were struggling to name the same side for more than two games.

"The good thing about the Rosslyn Park Sevens though is it gets the boys back into that pressure situation, and that's key to developing as a player."

The Rosslyn Park Sevens has had a history of starting the careers of rugby legends – Gareth Edwards, Will Carling, Lawrence Dallaglio, Neil Back, Rob Andrew and Rory Underwood having all competed in the tournament.

And with rugby sevens now included in the Olympic programme from the Rio 2016 Games onwards, Wilkins believes that number is only going to increase and is eager for Whitgift to continue the tradition.

"Sevens is important, a huge amount is put into the 15s over two terms but it's vital to make the transition. All the boys like the change, it's very different," he added.

"The aim is to always play the best we can and get the basics right like set-pieces, ball handling and making tackles. If you do that you'll make your way through."

Whitgift School planning  to land in Sevens heaven


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