Sign up now for FREE to read our insider reviews in full Sign Up Now

Cranleigh wins Rosslyn Park Plate

Cranleigh's U18 Boys 1st Rugby Sevens squad has won the National 2023 Rosslyn park plate trophy, beating Millfield School in the final by 17 points to 14.


Rosslyn Park National rugby sevens tournament is the largest school sporting competition in the world with over 10,000 students across various age groups competing over five days.

This has meant that the U18 Boys 1st rugby VII’s squad has one of the best records in what is one of the most famous rugby tournaments in the world. In 2015 Cranleigh was Bowl winner, 2016 Cup winner, 2017 Cup winner, 2018 Cup runner up, 2019 Cup Semi-finalist, 2020 & 2021 cancelled, 2022 Cup Quarter finalist and now in 2023 the Plate Winner.

Mr Andy Houston, Director of Sport and Sevens coach said: “This was one of the proudest moments of my professional career. The way the whole squad competed and supported each other was amazing. We could not be more proud of them all. It was such a special moment. The last eight years or so has been such a great journey and I can’t thank enough the young men who have left such an inspiring legacy over that period of time, for all their hard work and commitment.”

The squad played in the Cup competition surrounded by 60 of the country's best rugby schools. On the first day the team played four matches winning three against Oldham School, Gordon’s School (Harlequins ACE programme) and Canford before losing to Kirkham Grammar School. The team progressed through to Day 2 which in itself was a great achievement and were drawn in a semi-final group containing Whitgift, Beechen Cliff (Bath rugby ACE programme), Ipswich School and Brooksby Melton College (Leicester Tigers ACE programme). The day was full of excitement and tense finishes. The team started brilliantly beating Whitgift 43-7 but sadly one of the senior players got injured while sprinting, which meant the squad was now down to only 11 players. The result gave the team confidence to beat Brooksby Melton 21-0.

The side then played Ipswich School knowing a loss would mean they were out of the tournament. With 90 seconds to go the team was 10 points down but a try from Will S. and then after a try saving tackle, Gabe H. went the length (handing off three defenders) to score and, unbelievably, try to win it. This meant we had to win, draw or lose by less than eight points to Beecham Cliff. The side was 10 points down in the last play, when Joe T. scored to advance us through to the final. There we met Millfield School. The team lost their captain (Jack A) due to a shoulder injury when he made a try saving tackle against Beecham Cliff to keep us in the game, so the squad was down two players with four of the 10 still in our U16 age group.

The side started brilliantly and went into half time 7-0 up after a try from James F. Millfield responded and took a seven point lead after two tries in five minutes, meaning we needed to score twice to win. With only two minutes left, Will S. scored one of the great solo tries to set up a tense finish. The team got hold of the ball, and James F. beat his man to score in the corner. Millfield had one more attack to win it but great defence meant the School held out to a famous win in front of a large travelling supporter group.