A now well-established and exciting rugby tournament is heading back to Harpenden promising "thrills aplenty".

Harpenden Rugby Club’s National Pub Sevens is now in the 56th year with a version for ladies, the Hen Sevens, gearing up for a seventh iteration. Both take place on Sunday.

The sevens format of rugby union has always brought fast-paced, fast-flowing and high-scoring contests and is now included in Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

It has brought a number of rugby greats to Redbourn Lane in the past with the likes of former England internationals Andy Gommersall, Andy Ripley and Peter Winterbottom all appearing at vents.

And its popularity has also reached beyond these shores with teams coming from France, Holland, Germany, the Middle East, Nigeria and, on one occasion, the USA.

Teams that have announced their return this year include the Army, the RAF, Sherrards Assassins, Samurai and Dambusters.

The first competition was staged in 1966 at a time when the RFU still banned clubs from playing on a Sunday.

The event was therefore a way of enabling players to prepare for the new season in a fun way by turning out for a team named after their local pub.

Organiser Robin Spicer said: "The National Pub Sevens has long been established as an important event in the rugby calendar – and this year it promises to be right up with the best we’ve ever staged.

"We’ve again got some really good sides taking part so there should be thrills and high-quality action from the first whistle.

"Apart from the actual rugby, it’s also a great day out for the whole family, with the accent firmly on everyone having fun in a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere."

The gates at Redbourn Lane open at 8am, with the first games starting at 10.30am.

Admission is by programme and costs £5 with U16s free if accompanied by an adult.

The final of the main competition is expected to take place around 5pm.

Herts Advertiser: St Albans Centurions masters with their Medway and Basingstoke opponents.St Albans Centurions masters with their Medway and Basingstoke opponents. (Image: St Albans Centurions)

St Albans, Berkhamsted, Verulamians and the host club will also appear in a vets competition for players over 40.

Some of those players warmed up with a game for St Albans Centurions Rugby League Club with their masters team playing a combined Medway Dragons and Basingstoke side at Toulmin Drive.

Cents Mick O'Shea said: "It was a real ding-dong of a socially-modified game with 32 players, new and old, getting stuck in."