St Kevin’s College is set to represent Australia at a Global Sevens Rugby Tournament in England this weekend, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the game of rugby.
The Rugby School in England, where William Webb Ellis first picked up a soccer ball and changed the course of footballing history, is hosting the schoolboy’s tournament that features 20 teams across 11 nations.
“The Bicentennial Tournament at Rugby School has some of the greatest school names in rugby so its an honour to be invited and greater honour to play Rugby School on the original pitch from 200 years ago,” said Kevin Culliver, Teacher in Charge of Rugby at St Kevin’s and current President of the Australian Schools' Rugby Union.
“St Kevin’s College has won the last ten VSRU Premierships and 18 overall but it is difficult to know how we stack up against the more traditional rugby schools to the north in Australia and the schools from rugby centered school systems internationally. This tour will allow us to see that measure.”
The 16 travelling players and three staff will be making the most of their trip by participating in an additional two tournaments to further sharpen their skills ahead of the 2023 VSRU season.
“The opportunity to play in the three tournaments we are entered into in the UK will be a boon for St Kevin’s rugby development, no matter what the score lines end up being,” explained Culliver.
“Playing the Sevens format is not completely foreign to St Kevin’s but its not something we have played a lot of since the many consecutive years we won the VSRU Sevens until it finished in 2018 when the last tournament was held.
“Preparing for Sevens was one thing, but to do it over summer was difficult as almost every school and council ground owners refused us permission to play on their ovals due to it being cricket season. So, with great innovation, we trained on patches of land and against makeshift oppositions throughout summer.
“We could not duplicate the soft grounds of England prior to leaving but playing on land with long grass helped.
Aside from the rugby, the tourists are keen to soak up the atmosphere of what is a unique school experience.
“By far the best aspect of the tournament structure will be mixing socially with players from nations all over the world; all sharing school rugby similarities and glorious differences,” said Culliver.
“It is anticipated that depending on progression tables we will play about 7 nations through the three tournaments.
“Many famous players of national teams reflect that their school days tours are the most memorable. They travel, live with and play with their mates.
“The camaraderie of a school rugby tour in the care and mentorship of their teacher coaches make the personal development within a tour so worthwhile.”
Rugby School Tournament Viewing Details
The matches are being live-streamed by NextGenXV. For anyone who is not able to attend the tournament, please follow NextGenXV on Instagram or on their website, https://nextgenxv.com/, where they will be able to see all the updates.
Rugby School Match Fixture for St Kevin’s (all times shown in GMT)
Saturday 25 March
1040hrs A3 v A4 Monmouth School Wales v St Kevin’s College Australia, OBS Pitch
1300hrs A1 v A4 Rugby School England v St Kevin’s College Australia, OBS Pitch
1540hrs A2 v A4 Fettes College Scotland v St Kevin’s College Australia, OBS Pitch
Redraw for matches Sunday 26 March