Many established 7s teams started their journey as a bunch of good mates who were just keen to play rugby together. In some cases, after years of touring, playing and working hard, this bunch develops into a strong and organised team, not only enjoying the banter but also some successful trophy hunting, often the icing on the cake.
A development which probably describes best the story of this week’s featured team, the Tornado 7s from London. A tight group of good old friends which managed to win a decent number of competitions over the years and consequently making a name for themselves. Founder, coach and team manager Elliott Brown told us the whole story which started back in 2014.
It all began with a setback when Elliott suffered an injury which he picked up during the 15s season playing for his club in Barking. Being sidelined is a frustrating experience for any athlete but sometimes it gives you time to reflect and to think about new ideas and opportunities.
So, it came the day when 7s-enthusiast Elliott sat down with his bud Nathan Barham to decide that it’s time to launch their very own team, rather than constantly playing for other teams. Nathan came up with the name Tornado, Elliott liked it, job done. The two agreed on one rule: Only players which had some sort of connection to their team could join the squad. An ethos they upheld for the first few years, but with an expanding touring schedule and growing success more and more players took notice and wanted to take part.
Although players from other teams have enjoyed a run-around with the Tornado boys, the Londoners still pride themselves on being a very tight group of friends rather than just teammates. Some of the original members emigrated to Canada, but still travel back just to play 7s with their old pals, which shows how solid and long-lasting these connections are.
With such a strong code, it’s no wonder that the Tornadoes have collected a fair few pieces of silverware along the line. Everyone who has ever played rugby with their best mates knows how much more enjoyable it is, you just relish the experience a lot more, it gives you a boost on the field.
Considering that the team is only around for a few years, they have achieved some remarkable milestones and seen some great places. The team's mission remains to play the highest level possible whilst still maintaining our friendship ethos.
One of their biggest success was the introduction to the Super Sevens Series in 2016. For this exclusive tournament series, each year 10 of the best 7s sides in the UK and Ireland are invited to participate. Big names such as Samurai, Apache and the Irish Wolfhounds are regulars of this elitist circle.
Due to their London-base, you’ll find the flamboyant Tornado team at most big tournaments in the capital such as the 7s in the City and the FRN 7s. Once a year, they swap the surface, leave the boots in the bag and go sandy by playing at the famous London Beach Rugby. A challenging tournament which they won this year in front of the picturesque Tower Bridge.
But it’s not just the UK circuit the team regularly appears on. In the last years, they also went overseas to tournaments in France and Holland to enter one of Europe’s biggest and infamous 7s-festival, the Amsterdam 7s. The Dutch tournament organisers even graded the Tornadoes the highest-ranked British team, a huge honour and another great milestone for Elliot’s team.
With such ambitious touring-plans, funding the entry fees and purchasing stash whilst keeping the team affordable for the players remains the biggest challenge above all. Especially as most funding still comes from the players itself rather than big-name sponsors.
So, what’s next for the boys? First, repeat the success of a glorious season. The Tornadoes will try hard and are ready to go full blast to equalise or even top this year’s record season with Cup wins at the GRM 7s, Essex Charity 7s and Sevens in the City. It’s all worth it as next year will be the last season, Elliott told us. Despite all the fun, it takes a hell of a lot of time and money to run such determined side and unfortunately, other work commitments don’t allow him to carry on with the project. However, before he and his mates disappear from the 7s-circuit, they set one huge target, taking part in the world-famous Dubai 7s in December 2018.
Surely, if they approach this goal with the same passion as they have shown in the last four years, anything is possible.
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#My7sClub is a brand-new blog series, featuring every week one of the many awesome 7s teams from around the world. We caught up with the heroes who invest countless hours, raise funding are coaches, team managers and players in one person and give it all in order to keep their beloved team running. Read their exciting stories on our blog. If you and your team like to be featured in this series, just contact us. We are excited to hear your story.