Coleg Sir Gâr up against it to defend Rosslyn Park title
COLEG Sir Gâr will attempt to defend last year's Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools 7s title without three of their international stars, but director of rugby Euros Evans isn't making any excuses.
Twelve months ago they claimed the Boys' Under-18 Open title but will have to do so this term without hooker Torin Myhill, winger Josh Adams and No. 8 Tom Phillips.
The trio will be taking part in the FIRA-AER Under-18 Justin Bridou Championship for Wales, but the reigning champions have quality in abundance and will have three other age group internationals to call upon — centre Craig Woodall, hooker Ryan Elias and scrum-half Gareth Rhys.
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But Evans doesn't necessarily consider his troops the favourites for a tournament that begins on Monday."We're preparing as well as we can do but it still feels like winter," he said
"We've been hampered a little bit this year with a few lads away with Wales Under-17s and we will be at the FIRA-AER tournament.
"We're disadvantaged in that sense but you never know. From our perspective it makes it more of a challenge, but we're delighted for them to be going and it gives other lads an opportunity to step up — we're prepared for it.
"I'm sure there will be five or six teams who will consider themselves favourites, it's going to be tough.
"Our pool of talent isn't as big as some people might think, but we'll give it a good crack, but as ever we'll need a bit of luck.
"Last year we got that in the quarter-finals and we never looked back. It's a big tournament and we're looking to retain the trophy."
Over 600 teams of all levels from across the UK as well as international visiting teams play 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 with sevens now included in the Olympic programme from Rio 2016 onwards, Evans believes that number is only going to increase and is eager for Coleg Sir Gâr to continue the tradition.
He added: "We like the format as a college, we enter lots of tournaments and clock up lots of miles to give ourselves the best possible chance to be the best you can be. It's a great format to develop skills, the game is growing and it's becoming a different entity to 15s. Different players are playing the formats and it's going to continue to grow."
HSBC is proud to sponsor the world's largest schools rugby tournament. All HSBC's rugby sponsorships aim to help develop and grow the sport and ensure even more youngsters get involved with rugby. For more information visit www.rpns7.co.uk