Remembering the Middlesex Sevens


For many years the least developed side of Twickenham Stadium was the South. At the end of the First World War, the exposed concrete terrace was extended and a clock-tower constructed at the back. The clock-tower didn’t last long but the Terrace remained for over sixty years and from 1926 onwards was the site of English rugby’s biggest annual end-of-season party.

The Middlesex Sevens began life as a southern counterpart to the popular Melrose Sevens that had taken place in the Scottish Borders since the 7-man game had been invented there by a butcher, called Ned Haig, in 1883.

Appropriately a London-based Scot called Dr Russell-Cargill instigated the tournament which quickly became something of an end-of-season bash, featuring between twelve and sixteen sides.

Harlequins, 1929

Harlequins, 1929

Harlequins dominated the early years, winning the first four tournaments. Ever-present in the competition they eventually bettered the winning streak sixty years later by winning five consecutive tournaments between 1986 and 1990.

The Russel Cargill Trophy is now on permanent display in the World Rugby Museum

Russell-Cargill Trophy

The list of winners is mostly comprised of London sides, with a few notable exceptions. The Barbarians won in 1934, 1997 and 1998, Western Samoa in 1992 and there were also two successful incursions by Rugby League sides: Wigan Warriors winning in 1996, and Bradford Bulls in 2002.

The tournament peaked in popularity in the 1980s, attracting upwards of 60,000 spectators, but an increase in competitive rugby led to several format alterations during the professional age. The competition was held at Twickenham for the final time in 2011.

Twickenham may have seen the last of this classic tournament but a keg of ale opened and shared around the South Terrace at the Middlesex Sevens represent the very best of times at Twickenham for rugby fans of a certain age.


About the Author – This article is an extract from the book ‘Twickenham: Home of England Rugby’ available from Amazon. Phil McGowan has been a member of the World Rugby Museum team since 2007.

List of Middlesex 7s Winners

1926 Harlequins

1927 Harlequins

1928 Harlequins

1929 Harlequins

1930 London Welsh

1931 London Welsh

1932 Blackheath

1933 Harlequins

1934 Barbarians

1935 Harlequins

1936 Sale

1937 London Scottish F.C.

1938 Metropolitan Police

1939 Cardiff

1940 St Mary’s Hospital

1941 Cambridge University R.U.F.C.

1942 St Mary’s Hospital

1943 St Mary’s Hospital

1944 St Mary’s Hospital

1945 Nottingham

1946 St Mary’s Hospital

1947 Rosslyn Park

1948 London Wasps

1949 Heriot’s FP

1950 Rosslyn Park

1951 Richmond

1952 London Wasps

1953 Richmond

1954 Rosslyn Park

1955 Richmond

1956 London Welsh

1957 St Luke’s College

1958 Blackheath

1959 Loughborough Colleges

1960 London Scottish

1961 London Scottish

1962 London Scottish

1963 London Scottish

1964 Loughborough Colleges

1965 London Scottish

1966 Loughborough Colleges

1967 Harlequins

1968 London Welsh

1969 St Luke’s College, Exeter

1970 Loughborough Colleges

1971 London Welsh

1972 London Welsh

1973 London Welsh

1974 Richmond

1975 Richmond

1976 Loughborough Colleges

1977 Richmond

1978 Harlequins

1979 Richmond

1980 Richmond

1981 Rosslyn Park

1982 Stewart’s Melville Former Pupils

1983 Richmond

1984 London Welsh

1985 London Wasps

1986 Harlequins

1987 Harlequins

1988 Harlequins

1989 Harlequins

1990 Harlequins

1991 London Scottish

1992 Western Samoa

1993 London Wasps

1994 Bath

1995 Leicester Tigers

1996 Wigan Warriors (RL)

1997 Barbarians

1998 Barbarians

1999 Penguins

2000 Penguins

2001 British Army

2002 Bradford Bulls (RL)

2003 Northampton Saints

2004 British Army

2005 Gloucester

2006 London Wasps

2007 Newcastle Falcons

2008 Harlequins

2009 London Irish

2010 ULR Samurai

2011 Samurai International


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1 Response to Remembering the Middlesex Sevens

  1. Pingback: Así nació 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot' - Revista H

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