Olympic feel to National Pub 7s at Harpenden Rugby Club

PUBLISHED: 13:23 27 August 2013 | UPDATED: 13:45 27 August 2013

Action from the National Pub Sevens, held at Harpenden Rugby Club. Picture by James Latter

Action from the National Pub Sevens, held at Harpenden Rugby Club. Picture by James Latter

James Latter

THE BRITISH Army topped all other teams to win the National Pub Sevens competition, held at Harpenden Rugby Club on Sunday.

With 40 teams competing on the day, nine more than last year, the Army and a future Olympic team from Germany cruised through their semi-finals to set up a thrilling finale.

The heavily-favoured Army side looked to be heading for a convincing win with corporals Alex Swan and Zack Vakasawaqa running-well and James Cupman’s ability at the lineout to secure good ball.

However, it was the Germans who scored first, Phil Szczesny intercepting a wayward pass and scampering to a score.

The Army fought back and were level at the break thanks to a score from Swan and converted by Peckham.

The second half proved to be a further lesson in strength and fitness as the Army started to exert their physical presence over their much younger opponents.

As fatigue set in, Vukinavanua ran in a score one minute from kick-off and two further tries from Komoyias and Tamatawale, all converted by Vakasawaqa, were enough to secure a deserved win.

Deustchland replied towards the end with one more try from Szczesny – another player to watch for in the future - but were beaten.

Germany were not the only international team to use the tournament as a stepping stone to creating a squad for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The Italians, coached by former England Sevens captain Andy Vilk and managed by Orazio Aracio, who as 38 caps for Italy, were also present, as were teams from Nigeria and Barbados

Vilk and confirmed Manual Wilhelm, the German coach, confirmed they were eying the Olympics.

“We have only students and a couple of soldiers playing for us, and started out just a few months ago with a grant of €75,000 from the government in recognition of our attempt to qualify for an Olympic place in four year’s time,” said Wilhelm.

A spokesman for Harpenden Rugby Club said: “To run an event of this scale, volunteer helpers are vital and necessary. From the referees, car park attendants, ground staff, pitch marshals, bar staff, the pig roasters and, of course, Senor Evans and his Paella Stall - all deserve a big ‘thank you.

“And, last but not least, the spectators, without whom the event would lack the atmosphere so engaging on a Sunday Bank Holiday afternoon.”

Other winners were: Suns Out: Guns Out (Plate) and RAF Spitfires (Barrel).

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