Oxford were drawn in a group with National students 7’s teams from Tunisia and Bulgaria along with the Seven Academy – a French National students 7’s squad – so it was going to be a tough day for the scratch OURFC squad on day one of the 9th edition of the Centrale 7’s! First up at 2.10pm were the Seven Academy, who caught Oxford cold and were soon 21 points to nil ahead. However, Oxford got themselves together and scored three tries through scrum-half Matt Shorthose to make the final score 38 points to 19 in favour of the French team. Next up at 3.50pm were Bulgaria and this time Oxford started strongly from the kick off and produced a tremendous attacking performance to ran out comfortable winners by 52 points to 5. Oxford then had a five hour wait for their final pool match against the unbeaten Tunisians with a 9.10pm kick off being a challenge more mentally than physically with bed seemingly a more attractive proposition than another game of rugby! However, Oxford produced arguably their best performance of the day despite going by 12 points to 7 – Tunisia qualifying as the No 1 seeds after the pool rounds with Oxford qualifying in 7th place. On day 2 they will face a Bay of Plenty side from New Zealand, who are also unbeaten and qualified in 2nd place – so another tough encounter awaits the OURFC 7’s squad at 10.50am on Thursday morning!
The squad were up early for breakfast to ensure they were prepared for the challenge of facing the Kiwis from Bay of Plenty first up, however the hard nosed New Zealanders were had the jump on us and came out 33 points to 15 winners, meaning Oxford were now in the semi-final of the Plate competition, where they would meet Midi-Pyrenees. The French select VII were tall and strong and gifted 7’s players and were too strong for a spirited Oxford team down to an 11 man squad by now – final score 21 – 0. Oxford therefore faced a play-off match for 7th/8th place against the Seven Academy who they had lost to in their opening pool match, so revenge was on the agenda! In an exciting see-saw match Oxford just missed out taking the game into extra time when a last second conversion skimmed the post to leave us 2 points adrift 24 points to 26. Despite only managing one win and finishing in the lowest position in nine attempts (8th), the scratch OURFC squad played some decent 7’s and will be welcomed back for the 2014 edition which will celebrate 10 years of Centrale 7.
OURFC were also awarded the Men’s Fair Play Award, as we received no yellow cards throughout the tournament.
For highlights of the OURFC performances please click on the link below: