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Former Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club chief Terry Sands celebrates Shogun’s victory in the final of the Greene King IPA Sevens and Super Sevens Series

It was a joyous return to the Haberden for Terry Sands on Saturday as his Shogun team won the men’s competition in the Greene King IPA Sevens, the final round of the Nirvana Spar Super Sevens Series.

It saw the team, previously known by former Bury St Edmunds chief Sands’ previous company name Samurai, finish second in the three-leg national series, equaling last year’s finish in their former guise.

Sands, the team’s founder and performance director, left Bury after 17 years of service in the summer of 2021, with a restructure as his role as pro-am chairman no longer existed.

Terry Sands (background left) returned to the Haberden to see his Shogun side celebrate the men’s victory in the Greene King IPA Sevens. Photo: Russell Claydon

After a convincing 35-5 win in the final against Boom Beavers, he couldn’t wait to say: “It’s always nice to return to the Haberden. I’ve spoken to a lot of people today and had some really nice conversations I was talking about the fantastic memories I’ve had here with some of the old board members and some of the new people who are now involved.

“It was great to come back and have a chat with them and of course to top it off with a win with our Shogun team, as it’s now known, was really awesome and a lot of fun.”

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Shogun, who were coached during the tournament by former Ireland international Kevin Maggs, who had a spell as Bury’s pro-am director of rugby, included a number of high-profile players. South African Ricardo Duarttee was named rookie of the year in the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Series, while Welsh-capped Sam Cross played for Newcastle Falcons in the Premier League and Angel Bozal is a contracted Spain Sevens player.

Men’s series champions British Army stop an attack by Vaquita Fiji Warriors Photo: Mark Westley

Sands said: “What we’ve done with the series this year is we’ve looked at the development of some of the young players and we’ve done that at Farnham and at Newbury.

“And I have always said that we would strengthen the team a little more for this tournament.

“I think we had eight young players in the first leg, five in the second and only three today, but it was great for them to play with some of the quality players we have had here today.

“Yes, to do it in the Haberden and give the crowd something to cheer about was fantastic.”

The British Army celebrate their Super Sevens Series win at Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club after reaching the semi-finals of the Greene King IPA Sevens. Photo: Russell Claydon

British Army, who lost 17-7 to Boom Beavers in the semi-finals, celebrated victory in the Super Sevens Series with a 13-point lead. This meant that they had already secured the group by expelling from the group.

“There has been some great rugby and, overall, Army were the deserved winners of the series,” Sands said.

“They had a good strong team. It was very unlikely that they would lose, I think they would have gone out in the quarter-finals.

Academic Barbarians run clear to score Photo: Mark Westley

“We finished second for the second year on the trot. We’ve had a great year, we won the Hong Kong 10s, the Melrose Sevens and the Wimbledon London 7s, all priorities of ours, so we did that and I think that we proved that we are probably the top team in Britain in terms of elite teams and we did that and had a great time.

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The women’s final had proven to be a much tighter affair with Hammerhead Sharks also finishing fourth as overall champions, winning thanks to an extra conversion to triumph 24-22 against Vaquita Hammerhead 7’s.

Kierra Deeks was named the women’s player of the tournament, while Ross McKnight, also of the winners, took home the men’s award.

Savvy Pathers won the Women’s Plate after a 27-4 win against Hong Kong China Rugby in the final, while the Men’s Plate was won by Rugby Deutschland after a 24-14 win over Academic Barbarians.

There were no men’s or women’s tournaments open to local teams this year, after the Super Sevens Series requested an extra field, which it later turned out they didn’t need. The loss of the local teams affected the crowd, which was probably around 400.

But Bury St Edmunds was represented by a replacement team, HMP BaBas, following the late withdrawal of Esher Mavericks, with the team containing a number of former and current Colts (under 18) players.