Harpenden leave with heads held high despite 24/Sevens exit

Harpenden's sevens squad that just missed out on qualification for the national 24/Sevens tournament

Harpenden's sevens squad that just missed out on qualification for the national 24/Sevens tournament - Credit: Archant

Harpenden can still hold their heads high – despite missing out on a place in the national final of the new 24/Sevens rugby tournament.

That’s the opinion of Ashley Smith from the Redbourn Lane rugby club.

Harpenden were at Allianz Park, home of Saracens, for the south-east play-offs, having enjoyed success at the Hertfordshire qualifying tournament at St Albans RFC.

Run by England Rugby, 24/Sevens is an exciting new community sevens series that aims to grow rugby and increase participation among men and women in clubs.

And while Harpenden were unable to book their name at the final having failed to come out on top in north London, Smith believes there were still plenty of encouraging signs from his team.

He said: “We had a tough opening but we fought back strongly which was pleasing, and most importantly we’ve enjoyed ourselves and had a good time.

“The fun is why you’re here, you have to love rugby otherwise you wouldn’t come on a wet and drizzly Sunday and who doesn’t want to play on the Saracens pitch?

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“It’s a great experience; you don’t get many rugby tournaments with music playing on in the background so it’s unique and just adds to the fun element of it all.”

And while their 24/Sevens journey may have come to an end this time around for Harpenden, Smith was already looking forward to the upcoming 15-a-side season.

“The experience we’ll get from the 24/Sevens will be huge heading into next year,” he added.

“The majority of the side play 15s with Harpenden, and even though there are differences in the formats the benefits are certainly transferable and that’s certainly what we’re after doing.”

England Rugby 24/Sevens, a new exciting grassroots sevens competition for all rugby teams, welcoming anyone who just wants to pick up a ball and run, for fun or glory.

Visit www.englandrugby.com/24sevens to get involved.