School hopes to unearth more gems

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Oakham School already boasts two former England captains among their alumni, but head of PE Glenn Gelderbloom can’t wait to see what gems the 2013 Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens unearths.

Former Leicester Tigers centre Gelderbloom has been a teacher at Oakham for eight years, long after Ron Jacobs and most recently Lewis Moody, both former England captains, had left the School.

However Oakham will be looking to strut their stuff again at this month’s Rosslyn Park Sevens, the world’s largest schools tournament of its kind.

For all their success, Oakham have yet to win a title at the tournament and 43-year-old Gelderbloom has picked out Scotland U18 full-back Ruaridh Smith as one to watch.

“We have some good players this year who really want to play 7s, we’re taking it very seriously,” said Gelderbloom.

“You never know how you’re going to do, but our full-back Ruaridh Smith is one to watch, he’s quick and elusive and a real threat for us.

“On paper we maybe aren’t as strong as previous years, but the game isn’t played on paper and we have a good group coming through.”

The Rosslyn Park Sevens has had a history of starting the careers of rugby legends – Gareth Edwards, Will Carling, Lawrence Dallaglio, Neil Back, Rob Andrew and Rory Underwood having all competed in the tournament.

And with rugby 7s included in the Olympic programme from the Rio 2016 onwards, Gelderbloom isn’t surprised the format is taking off.

“We had players who went on to play in the Hong Kong 7s, Hamish Watson, who now plays for Edinburgh, was one for instance,” added the Oakham coach.

“I used to love playing 7s when I had the chance and the boys love the challenge. It can expose you, for some boys it doesn’t come naturally, but it’s great.”

HSBC is proud to sponsor the world’s largest school rugby tournament. All HSBC’s rugby sponsorships aim to help develop and grow the sport and ensure even more youngsters get involved with rugby. For more information visit www.rpns7.co.uk