Shocks galore as Pups surge to West Country 7s title

Shocks galore as Pups surge to West Country 7s title

In a day of shocks and upsets not seen on the UK circuit for a many seasons, the West Country 7s delivered high quality rugby and drama throughout as the Gilbert Pups took the title over the Olorun Sharks after a 'golden-point' extra time in a score of 26.21 The Pups had been the class act of the day winning their group with relative ease defeating the White Hart Marauders and new boys Kamikaze in the morning before setting up a quarter-final with the Shamrock Warriors. It was group A that featured the Warriors that saw one of the biggest. Samurai Barracudas who were leading the Super Series at the beginning of the day fell short against an Apache side who had lost to the Warriors and when the points difference was added up with each side having 1 victory it was the Barracudas that were in 3rd position and so relegated to the plate for the first time.

In a day of shocks and upsets not seen on the UK circuit for a many seasons, the West Country 7s delivered high quality rugby and drama throughout as the Gilbert Pups took the title over the Olorun Sharks after a 'golden-point' extra time in a score of 26.21

The Pups had been the class act of the day winning their group with relative ease defeating the White Hart Marauders and new boys Kamikaze in the morning before setting up a quarter-final with the Shamrock Warriors. It was group A that featured the Warriors that saw one of the biggest. Samurai Barracudas who were leading the Super Series at the beginning of the day fell short against an Apache side who had lost to the Warriors and when the points difference was added up with each side having 1 victory it was the Barracudas that were in 3rd position and so relegated to the plate for the first time. 

In group C, it was again the case that honours were even; Raging Bull Ronin beat out Les Bleus in one of the first games of the day before losing out to the HFW Wailers, in one of the final group games of the day the Wailers were then turned over by Les Bleus which relegated Ronin once again to the plate competition and the Wailers topped the group on points difference.

The final group saw Olorun Sharks, British Army and the TourAid Castaways do battle. Olorun turned over the invitation team, the Castaways in a tough game early in the day before being defeated comfortably by the British Army. The Army then defeated the Castaways to top the group and set-up a quarter-final with the french side Les Bleus.

The first quarter-final saw Apache who finished joint 7th in the National Series last year take on the White Hart Marauders who finished 3rd. It was the Apache side bouyed by their earlier victory over Samurai that always looked on top. Apache, played with real structure and dynamism with Hawken in the midfield creating for Dampies and Greenwood outwide. The Marauders who looked a little out of sorts all day as they finished with only the 1 victory could not turn the tide on the team from Henley as Apache made their first ever series semi-final.

The second quarter saw group C winners HFW Wailers take on Olorun Sharks. The game was closely fought in the first half with the Sharks dominating territory but being susceptible to poor defensive errors which saw the Wailers leading by a score at half-time behind scores from Hamish Smales. The 2nd half was all the Sharks though as they scored 3 unanswered tries behind dominance at the breakdown and the set-piece as the Sharks turned over the Wailers scrum on 2 occassions which lead to scores. Olorun moved on to the semi-final against Apache which would see the teams that finished joint 7th in the National Series to see who would make their first Super Series final.

The final 2 quarter-finals also had drama with Les Bleus taking on and knocking out the tournament favorites the British Army in a tightly fought contest and The Gilbert Pups running out comfortable winners over the Shamrock Warriors. 

The semi-finals saw more drama with only the Pups in Manchester last year having been so far in a series tournament of any type. Les Bleus had won the plate at West Country and the Apache and Olorun had only got as far as quarter-finalists in the past. The first semi-final was between the Sharks and Apache and it was the Olorun side that came out of the blocks quickest, as they ran out to a 19.5 scoreline at half time behind scores from Tom Jarvis and Joe Macmanus. Apache came back strong in 2nd half and pulled back to within 2 points as James Greenwood went over but it was Olorun who had the last action with a score from 40 metres out on the right wing as Jaco du Toit went round Hawken to score in the corner and send the Sharks to the final

The 2nd semi-final saw the in-form and only undefeated side taking on Les Bleus and it was the Pinks that came out victorious as James Tirrel controlled possession from half-back. The french team matched quite well with the Pups but it was the Pups speed on the ball in the midfield that caused havoc for teams throughout the day and the semi-final was no difference as the Pups pullled away.

So the final was set between the power and forward control of the Olorun Sharks and the speed and precision of the Gilbert Pups. The Sharks drew first blood and it was the Olroun side that led the final for most of the game by the 1 score as each side showed how the made the final with some great attacking play. Looking after the ball and keeping possession, it really treated the crowd to a great game. It was not without tough tackling either and as the Pups scored to go into the lead for the first time Sharks forward Tom Williams attempted to make a tackle that was deemed by the referee to of been reckless which saw him yellow-carded. The Sharks were not out though as they worked themselves up the field over the final few minutes and as Williams came back on, the Sharks moved the ball from their own 22 before scoring in the corner to make the score all square with the kick to come as the last play of the game. Jaco du Toit could not make the kick count though and the teams went down to extra-time.

The Pups won the toss and it was the Sharks that kicked off to them and possession is key and it was shown to be the case as the Pups worked the ball to wing and Charlie Felix-Bouffour scorched down the wing to score as the Sharks never got the ball back as the Pups scored the golden point and with it victory in the 2nd leg of the series and 20 series points.

In the plate, it was Samurai who found their form defeating Ronin comfortably in the final and picked up 8 valuable series points that keeps them in the hunt for the overall title.

The series now moves on to it final stop in Newquay in 2 weeks time with 4 sides in with a realistic chance of taking the overall title; the Pups who now lead closely followed by Samurai, British Army and Olorun, so there is all to play for at one of the nations favorite tournaments down in Cornwall

Series Standings

Gilbert Pups - 32 Pts

Samurai Barracudas - 28pts

British Army - 26pts

Olorun Sharks - 24pts

Apache - 22pts

HFW Wailer - 20pts

White Hart Marauders - 20pts

Raging Bull Ronin - 12pts

Koru Kamikazi - 8pts