St Andrews Rugby 7s
Since its inception in 1970, the St Andrews Seven-a-side Rugby Tournament has grown to become one of the top 7s tournaments in the Scottish rugby calendar and the largest student run 7s in the UK.
The inaugural tournament, which saw Dunfermline beat Madras FP 11-8 in a closely fought final after extra time, also featured the first recorded Women’s Seven-a-side Tournament, although this was only one match, entitled the Grand Challenge Match, which was a fitting prelude to the conclusion of the Men’s Tournament.
“Dunfermline became the first side to win our seven-a-side tournament by beating Madras 19-8 in the final after extra time. The Women’s match served as a most enjoyable prelude to the final though it is not certain whether or not the Scottish Rugby Union were in accord with this. It is hoped that the tournament will be an annual one as it would appear that all the clubs participating were in favour of the league system which ensured more than one game and in consequence no team’s journey was entirely worthless.”Rugby Football Club Minutes 1948-1982
Unlike other 7s tournaments of the time, the St Andrews competition pitched teams against one another in leagues rather than adopting a straight knockout format, which ensured each team that entered got more than one game and no team’s journey was entirely wasted. This format, once unique to the St Andrews Tournament, is now widely used around the rugby 7s circuit and has evolved to allow the St Andrews 7s to accommodate 30-40 teams annually.
Each year, teams from across the UK travel to St Andrews at the end of April to compete for the coveted Drummond Cup or Stanley Plate, the former kindly presented to the club by E. P. Drummond Esq. following the inaugural tournament in 1970.
In the early days of the competition local club sides from the North and Midlands Districts were joined by teams from the Borders, with the University supplying two or three sides themselves.
In recent years, teams from Glasgow Hawks RFC, Dundee HS FP RFC, Stewarts Melville FP RFC and a number of universities including Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Manchester, Newcastle and of course St Andrews have taken part.
The tournament fields several St Andrews teams each year, with current students joined by a number of graduate teams.
It is common for a Freshers VII to enter the tournament and many year groups have returned annually, even after graduation, with some competing in up to 10-15 tournaments.
Please visit the St Andrews Rugby 7s Facebook page for the latest information about the tournament.St Andrews Rugby 7s