PREMIERSHIP Rugby has launched The J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series, a new Friday evening summer 7s series, which takes place in July and August and broadcast live and exclusively on ESPN.
The innovative tournament, which involves all 12 Premiership Rugby clubs, is designed to attract a new audience to the game and create a thrilling new opportunity for existing rugby fans to watch their favourite clubs play during the summer.
The 12 Premiership Rugby clubs are be divided into three groups for the tournament, with the winner and runner up of each regional event goes through to the final, taking place on Friday 6th August 2010.
The three regional events take place at The Twickenham Stoop, Welford Road and Franklin's Gardens. Tickets for all events are £10 for adults and £5 for juniors and can be purchased from Ticketmaster.co.uk or through the host clubs.
Click on venue image for Stadium Ticket offices.
There are six games each evening and, in accordance with IRB Regulations, each match will consist of two 7 minute halves with a 2 minute break at half time.
Games start at 7.30pm and finish by 10pm and will include music and entertainment making each event an exciting summer evening out for families.
There will be prize money for the winner of each regional event as well as for the overall winner of the final.
FRIDAY 16TH JULY 2010, THE TWICKENHAM STOOP GROUP A
Harlequins Saracens London Irish London Wasps
A balmy summer’s evening saw 5,000 supporters through the turnstiles at The Stoop at the inaugural JP Morgan Premiership 7s.
Overall, Saracens dominated proceedings securing themselves the first spot in the final on Friday 6th August at The Rec. The Sarries won all their games only allowing 2 tries to slip through the defence in three games, and scoring an impressive 11 tries; George Kruis scored a hat trick, Kevin Barrett and Jackson Wray scored a couple each, Nils Mordt, Owen Farrell, Jake Sharp and Luke Baldwin completing the London leg with a try apiece.
Hosts Harlequins came a close second losing only to Saracens, also qualifying for the final. They convincingly beat Wasps 3 tries to 1, and fought a tougher battle against London Irish; despite falling behind at half time, Quins came back with two tries putting any chance of victory for Irish well out of reach. Chris York scored a hat trick, and other tries came from Neil McMillan, Sam Stuart, JJ Kilmartin, Miles Mantella and Howard Graham.
London Wasps opening game against the hosts did not fare well with only Jack Wallace managing to put points on the board, but by their second game against Irish, fortunes looked up with a much improved performance with 2 tries from Adam Davies, and one each from Tim Streather and Chris Elder. The final game saw a strong Sarries outfit prevent the men in black and gold from qualifying in second place, but new arrival Seb Jewell did secure 2 tries.
Unfortunately for London Irish, it was not a good night losing all three games. Their opening match against Saracens did not yield even a single point, but an improvement was seen in the following matches with tries from Neville Edwards, Craig Holland, Ryan Lamb and James Stephenson.
The final table does incidentally reflect the number of international level players in each team; Saracens had experience from England U16s right through to the Saxons and England 7s, both Quins and Wasps were on pretty much an equal footing but Irish were blooding new players including Guy Armitage, the third brother in the Armitage dynasty to join the Exiles so far.
The impression left by the end of the evening is that summer 7s rugby is likely going to become a regular and well attended Friday night feature with a fun party atmosphere, and a good excuse to catch up with friends out of season.
1 Chris York 2 Luke Wallace 3 Greg Bardon 4 Neil McMillan 5 Jack Clifford 6 Sam Stuart 7 David Moore 8 Simon Keogh 9 Ben Axten-Burrett 10 Miles Mantella 11 JJ Kilmartin 12 Howard Graham
1 George Kruis 2 Jackson Wray 3 Nils Mordt 4 Jamie Bache 5 Henry Staff 6 Owen Farrell 7 Kevin Barrett 8 Luke Baldwin 9 Jake Sharp 10 Noah Cato 11 Dave Vincent 12 Jamie Hearn
1 Jon Fisher 2 Richard Smith 3 Kieran Low 4 Charlie Gower 5 Guy Armitage 6 Ben Stevenson 7 Craig Holland 8 Neville Edwards 9 James Stephenson 10 James Lightfoot 11 Ryan Lamb 12 Rob Herring
1 Ben Maidment 2 Harry Rowland 3 Alex Cheeseman 4 Jack Wallace 5 Seb Jewell 6 Andy Gomarsall 7 Tim Streather 8 Mark Atkinson 9 Alex Fan 10 Adam Davies 11 Chris Elder 12 Steve Hihetah
WINNERS: NEWCASTLE FALCONS
NEWCASTLE Falcons breezed through the JP Morgan Asset Management Sevens Group B qualifying round at Welford Road, reeling off wins over hosts Leicester Tigers, Sale Sharks, who will join Newcastle and Group A qualifiers Saracens and Harlequins at The Rec finale on Friday, August 6, as Group B runners-up, and battling Leeds Carnegie in a tense finale to the evening.
"It's silverware for the Falcons, and a positive start to the season for the whole club,” said delighted Falcons Sevens squad coach Mark Laycock. "The finals down in Bath will be a new and a different challenge, but for the time being I'm just pleased for the boys to have won tonight's trophy and to have recorded three wins from our three games."
With Newcastle’s young thrown together for the competition at the 11th hour, Laycock revealed: "The only training we did for this event was ten minutes in the car park at Leicester Forest Services on the bus down, but the lads' attitude was superb all night.
"We showed great character, defended well and scored some good tries, so I can have few complaints really.
"I'm sure there will be strong competition now for the finals next month, but the boys tonight have all put their hands up and it's good to have a trophy in the cabinet already for the season."
Former Harlequin Charlie Amesbury, a former England Under 18, Under 20 and Sevens squad member ran in two first-half tries against the Tigers, who were to end the night winless, to give Newcastle a 12-7 half-time lead. George Ford, brother of Northampton fly-half Joe and son of England defence coach Mike Ford, converted his own touchdown late in the first half to keep the Tigers in touch but Steve Parsons got over in the corner late in the second half to notch the Falcon‘s third match-clinching try.
Tyson Lewis opened the scoring when the Falcons took on Sale, who quickly hit back through Ed Stobart to square it at 7-7 until Fred Burdon streaked away to ease the Falcons back into a seven-point lead before half-time.
Parsons forced his way over for his second try of the evening to give Newcastle a 19-7 lead midway through the second half and, although Sale pulled a try back through Tom Taylor to cut the Falcons’ lead to seven points, Newcastle emerged in pole position to top the group.
And, in the last game of the evening, the Falcons went 10-0 up courtesy of tries from Burdon and Parson and then trailed 12-10 after Denton and Wilson scored for Leeds.
Jack Harrison‘s first try of the night then edged Newcastle back into a 17-12 lead with seconds left on the clock and they hung on from there to finish top of the group.
Sale had made a powerful statement of intent in their first match, out-muscling Leeds on their way to a five tries to one, 33-7, bonus-point win.
Josh Fowles grabbed a quick-fire first-half try brace to set Sale on their way to a 21-7 half-time lead with David Tait adding their third score while Leeds solitary reply came from Curtis Wilson.
After the break tries from Henry Thomas and Stobart put the seal on an easy Sharks win.
After losing their opening games, Leicester and Leeds were desperate to spark comebacks when they clashed in the fourth game of the night, which proved to be a nine-try cracker.
And that saw Leeds end the Tigers’ hopes of a trip to the finals with a 33-26 win, courtesy of two tries from Denton and one each from Tom Barrett, Wilson and Rob Almond.
Leicester hit back with two second-half tries from Matt Everard after one each from Rob Conquest and Stephen Macauley had kept them in the hunt at half-time.
But the Tigers’ fate was sealed when they went down to a Sale side chasing a second bonus-point win to keep their qualification hopes alive.
Tries from Cliff (2), Stobart and Eliot Brierley had the Sharks 28-0 up and on course at half-time. Rory Lynn and Macauley hit back for Leicester after the break, but Fowles grabbed the bonus-point try for Sale which made sure they, too, will be in Bath for the big showdown next month.
1 Oli Stedman 2 Joe Barker 3 Richard Beck 4 Alex Reider 5 Alex Black 6 Toby Quarendon 7 James Twomey 8 Oli Denton 9 Rob Almond 10 Curtis Wilson 11 Tom Barrett 12 Christian Georgiou
1 Liam Holder 2 Jimmy Stevens 3 Dave Hughes 4 Rob Conquest 5 Hamish Watson 6 Stephen Macaulay 7 Matt Everard 8 Tom Armes 9 Christophe Ridley 10 George Ford 11 Luke Veebel 12 Rory Lynn
1 Steve Parsons 2 Aaron Myers 3 Sam Shires 4 Jack Smales 5 Peter Jericevich 6 Michael Tait 7 Charlie Amesbury 8 Sep Visser 9 Jack Harrison 10 Mike Ward 11 Tyson Lewis 12 Fred Burdon
1 Henry Thomas 2 Charlie Baleirara 3 Tom Taylor 4 Luke Raselala 5 Ben Davey 6 Fergus Mulchrone 7 Elliot Brierley 8 Will Cliff 9 Josh Fowles 10 Ed Stobart 11 Tom Brady 12 James Lewis
Bath Rugby Exeter Chiefs Gloucester Rugby
WINNERS: NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
HOSTS Northampton, who benefitted from the presence of England Sevens trio John Brake, James Rodwell and Tom Powell in their squad, emerged at the top of the Group C pile, thanks to a 100 per cent record in front of a partisan 7,000 Franklins Gardens crowd which cheered the young Saints to the echo in their last-game, winner-took-all showdown with Exeter Chiefs.
Saints win was enough to see them pick up the Group C winners’ trophy and £10,000, booking their place in the finals at Bath along with Saracens, Harlequins, Newcastle Falcons, Sale Sharks and Group C runners-up Exeter, who will fly the West Country flag at The Rec.
The Premiership new boys, who saw off Gloucester and Bath with ease, saw their chances of coming out on top of Group C virtually evaporate when key playmaker Drew Locke was sent off barely a minute into their clash with Northampton a for a spear tackle on Saints Ryan Glynn.
At half-time, Northampton had made the extra man count only to the tune of a try from Powell and a 5-0 lead, although it took a last-minute tackle from Bright on Exeter‘s Eoghan Grace to protect that slender lead.
Early in the second half, Powell romped over under the posts to make it 10-0 to Northampton and the writing was on the wall for the Chiefs, although an immediate reply from Mike Canty kept them alive with four minutes to go.
Saints squad skipper Ryan Glynn then wrapped it up for the hosts with a 60-metre run under the posts as a brave Exeter side finally began to give in to fatigue, although Canty made sure the Premiership new boys had the last say with a late second-half try.
Jamie Elliott got the night’s proceedings off to a flying start for hosts Northampton with the opening try in a 17-12 win over Gloucester, who hit back with tries from Jake Carter and Dan Robson to take a 12-5 half-time lead.
Rodwell made the extra man count with the early second-half try which tied the game up at 12-12 while Gloucester‘s Ryan Mills was in the sin-bin and Simon Hunt went the length of the field in the final minute to nick the match-clinching try for Saints.
Exeter, meanwhile, took just three minutes to notch their first try as a Premiership club, Paul Mackenzie romping over under the posts with Josh Matavesi following up to give the Chiefs a 14-0 lead over Bath at half-time.
Nick Scott fastened on to Paul Roberts’ clever cross-kick to pull a try back for Bath, but Garrick Cowley restored the Chiefs‘ cushion and then ran in a second score to earn his side a comfortable 26-5 win.
Gloucester took an early 7-0 lead over Exeter in a game they had to win to stay in the hunt for a finals place courtesy of Robson, but Matavesi capitalised on a 50-metre break from Mackenzie to level it up and Herbie Styppe gave the Chiefs a 12-7 until Carter scored just before half-time to lead 14-12.
Former Bath and Saxons centre Andrew Higgins, returning to competitive rugby after a nine-month ban for refusing a drugs test last summer, got Exeter in front for the first time with two minutes to go and that proved enough to effectively end Gloucester’s interest in the competition.
Bath had to beat hosts Northampton in their second outing to stay in the qualification hunt, but a superb last-ditch tackle by Brake on Paul Roberts denied the West Country side a half-time lead.
Hunt made his teammate’s effort count when he ran in a try for Saints just after the break and a second try from Sadler and a third from John Brake made sure the hosts picked up their second win of the night.
Skipper Ben Skirving went the length of the pitch for a consolation try for Bath, but it was little comfort for finals night hosts , who then suffered a seven-try, 47-0 drubbing in their dead rubber against Gloucester,
First-half tries from Langley, Jarvis and Apo Satala earned the Cherries a 21-0 half-time lead before two second-half scores from Langley and a brace from Ryan Grant and wrapped up an all-too easy bonus point win for Gloucester, who finished third ahead of Bath in the final group standings.
1 James Tyas 2 Joe Ellyat3 Jamie Collins 4 Rhys Davies 5 Ben Skirving (C) 6 Charlie Marr 7 Chris Cook 8 Paul Roberts 9 Nick Scott 10 Ted Stagg 11 Matt Keyte 12 Ollie Woodburn
1 Michael Stupple 2 Chris Reakes 3 Eoghan Grace 4 Garrick Cowley (C) 5 Josh Matavesi 6 Paul McKenzie 7 Andrew Higgins 8 Jamie Fleming 9 Charlie Walker-Blair 10 Drew Locke 11 Mike Canty 12 Rob Coote
1 Gareth Evans 2 Rob Langley 3 Harry Casson 4 Jake Carter 5 Koree Britten 6 Dan Robson 7 Ryan Mills 8 Paul Jarvis 9 Tom Jarvis 10 Mark Woodrow 11 Tim Stevenson 12 Jack Hayes
1 Tom Powell 2 Mike Haywood 3 Tom Nutley 4 Sam Farmer 5 Charlie Sadler 6 Ryan Glynn (C) 7 Ben Nutley 8 James Rodwell 9 John Brake 10 Glyn Hughes 11 Jamie Elliott 12 Simon Hunt
SaracensHarlequins Newcastle Sale
Northampton SaintsExeter Chiefs
SARACENS, beaten by Leicester Tigers in last season’s Guinness Premiership final, collected the first silverware of the new season at The Rec on Friday evening, when they won the inaugural JP Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series title.
The Men in Black completed a 100 per cent run through the new competition with a 17-5 win over Newcastle Falcons in a final watched by 5,000 fans – a triumph which Sarries Sevens team boss Simon Rauluni insisted puts down a strong marker for the season ahead on the Premiership and European club competition front.
Sarries grabbed the early initiative in the final with a first-minute try from their star turn on the night, England Sevens half-back Kevin Barrett, with Nils Mordt converting for a 7-0 lead over Newcastle.
Falcons' former England Sevens star Charlie Amesbury then denied another of the evening's top performers, Noah Cato, the chance to go the length of the pitch for a second Sarries try and his superb effort was rewarded just before half-time when teammate Chris Pilgrim side-stepped his way over the Saracens line to cut the deficit to 7-5 at the interval.
But Saracens made the vital break with three minutes left when George Kruis's pace and power took him over the Falcons line from ten metres out to open up a seven-point cushion and Barrett killed Newcastle off in the final minute, when he streaked over in the corner to seal Saracens trophy triumph.
Barrett had earlier opened the scoring in Saracens' opening Pool A clash with Sale Sharks and a double from Noah Cato had the Men in Black in the driving seat before Josh Fowles grabbed the Sharks’ consolation try.
Jake Sharp rounded off a 24-5 Sarries win to send Sale into a make-or-break crack at Franklins Gardens qualifying round winners Northampton, who were comfortably in front at half-time after Ben Nutley, John Brake and Simon Hunt touched down in the first half with Fowles replying for the Sharks.
Will Addison converted his own score to cut Saints' lead to 17-12 and Fowles levelled it up with his third try of the night, but Greg Barden's late try earned Northampton a 22-17 bonus-point win.
The big Pool A showdown then went Saracens' way with a try from Cato and a reply from Ben Nutley, scored while teammate Jamie Rodwell was in the sin bin for a no-arms tackle, giving Sarries a 7-5 half-time lead.
And even with Jackson Wray in the sin-bin for fighting, Saracens ran in two second-half tries from Luke Baldwin and Kruis to run out 17-10 winners with Charlie Sadler's late score coming as scant consolation for Northampton.
In Pool B, Welford Road qualifying round winners Newcastle were given an early wake-up call by tries from Jack Clifford and Sam Smith for Harlequins with Steve Parsons hitting back for the Falcons just before half-time.
Aaron Myers squared it up just after the break, Mike Ward's conversion gave Newcastle a 14-12 lead and a third try from Ward looked like seeing the Falcons home.
But Charlie Walker had other ideas and he grabbed a stunning try for Quins with Graham's conversion tying it up at 19-19 until Fred Burdon made sure the Falcons came out on top with a last-gasp winning try.
Needing a win over Exeter Chiefs to qualify for the final, the Falcons trailed to early tries from Mike Canty and Eoghan Grace for the Premiership new boys until Tyson Lewis pulled a try back before the interval.
In a nip-and-tuck second half, Exeter's superb defence kept Newcastle at arm's length until playmaker Josh Matavesi was sin-binned for a no-arms tackle and Burdon made the extra man count with a touchdown which tied it up at 10-10 and kept both sides alive in the competition.
To edge Newcastle out and to make the final themselves the Chiefs needed a bonus-point win by a better than seven-point margin over Harlequins, who had no chance of going any further, in their final Pool B tie.
Quins made Exeter's task all the tougher when Miles Mantella grabbed a try double to give the Londoners a 10-0 lead early in the second half and when Walker added a third for Quins with four minutes to go, Exeter's chances of making the final evaporated completely despite a late consolation score from Grace.
SCORES & SCORERS
T: Barratt, Cato 2, Sharp
C: Mordt 2
Sale Sharks 5
Northampton Saints 22
T: Nutley, Brake, Hunt, Barden
Sale Sharks 17
T: Fowles 2, Addison
T: Cato, Baldwin, Kruis
Northampton Saints 10
T: Nutley, Sadler
T: Clifford, Smith, Walker
C: Graham 2
Newcastle Falcons 26
T: Parsons, Myers, Ward, Burdon
C: Ward 3
Newcastle Falcons 10
T: Lewis, Burdon
Exeter Chiefs 10
T: Canty, Grace
T: Mantella 2, Walker
Exeter Chiefs 7
T: Barrett 2, Kruis17
Newcastle Falcons 5
1 George Kruis 2 Jackson Wray 3 Don Barrell 4 Nils Mordt 5 Kevin Barrett 6 Luke Baldwin 7 Jake Sharp Henry Staff 9 Owen Farrell 10 Ben Ransom 11 Noah Cato 12 Dave Vincent
1 David Tait, 2 Ben Davey, 3 Henry Thomas, 4 Charlie Baleirara, 5 Freddie Silcock, 6 Josh Fowles, 7 Nick Royle, 8 Will Addison, 9 Ed Stobart, 10 Elliot Brierley, 11 Mike Petri, 12 Rhys Crane
1 Tom Powell 2 Mike Haywood 3 Greg Barden 4 Sam Farmer 5 Charlie Sadler 6 Ryan Glynn 7 Ben Nutley 8 James Rodwell 9 John Brake 10 Glyn Hughes 11 Jamie Elliott 12 Simon Hunt
1 Chris York, 2 Luke Wallace, 3 Greg Bardon, 4 Neil McMillan, 5 Jack Clifford, 6 Sam Stuart, 7 David Moore, 8 Simon Keogh, 9 Ben Axten-Burrett, 10 Miles Mantella, 11 JJ Kilmartin, 12 Howard Graham.
1 Steve Parsons 2 Rob Vickerman 3 Aaron Myers (C) 4 Chris Pilgrim 5 Pete Jericevich 6 Fred Burdon 7 Charlie Amesbury 8 Sam Shires 9 Sep Visser 10 Mike Ward 11 Tyson Lewis 12 Hamish Smales
1 Herbie Stupple 2 Eoghan Grace 3 Charlie Walker-Blair 4 Garrick Cowley (C) 5 Josh Matavesi 6 Dave Ewers 7 Mike Canty 8 Jamie Fleming 9 Chris Reakes 10 Rob Coote 11 Jack Nowell 12 Dave Bargent
Tickets for all events are £10 for adults and £5 for juniors, available directly from the host clubs or through Ticketmaster.
Click on venue image for Stadium Ticket offices.