Not even two dropouts on the morning of the competition could prevent Midlands-based Cardinals 7s from once again tearing up the opposition at the SecureTrading 24/Sevens.
The team, made up of players from Nottingham, Mansfield and Leicester, proved a different class at the Ashby Sevens, a qualifier hosting teams from all over the region.
And the Cardinals success was never in doubt for manager and player Aaron Langan, with the successes far from limited to the first team on a thrilling day of sevens rugby.
“We expected to win it, we turned up with the attention of winning but we had two drop-outs of the morning of the competition – so we only had ten players but it didn’t affect us,” said the Nottingham-based Langan.
“We have a first team and a social team, called the Weasels, which allows the guys who have played with us for years to keep going.
“We got first place and they got third so it was the best result all round for us.
“We’re a physical team and were just able to get the better of all the opposition, we’re a sevens unit at heart, we just dominate in the battle and don’t let other teams get the ball off us – it sounds simple but it’s effective.
“By the end of it teams didn’t want to play us, we try and run the ball for seven or eight phases and that worked well.”
The Secure Trading 24/Sevens Series is England Rugby’s premier competition for sevens teams – open to all community clubs and men’s and women’s sevens teams to enter, with qualifiers, followed by regionals later in the summer and the National Finals at The Recreation Ground in Bath on July 28.
The competition, which attracted more than 10,700 players from around the country in 2017, is aimed at continually growing sevens among both men and women and is back for a third year.
And the Cardinals’ season in the competition is far from done yet, with the Midlands regional play-off to come in July as they bid for a place in the national final.
For Langan this leg of the journey will also provide a chance to settle old scores, cruelly missing out at this stage last year – a setback they are determined to override.
“We’ve won quite a few competitions, including in Olney which is really competitive, and we got to the final in Bournemouth which is the biggest festival in the country, we lost there by a point two years ago but we’re feeling really good now,” he added.
“Last year we lost in the semi-finals at the regional qualifiers but this year I really fancy us to win it,.
“We’ve got a really strong and committed team and our sponsors, Graphite Sportswear, have really helped us to keep playing.
“There’s better kit, better facilities and that’s given us more incentive to keep striving. This year we’ve had so much better organisation, we’re planning for these events and that’s helping with our performance as a team and individuals.”
The Secure Trading 24/Sevens Series is England Rugby’s premier competition for sevens teams – open to all community clubs and men’s and women’s sevens teams to enter. For more information: www.englandrugby.com/24sevens