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Last weekend culminated with the last tournament of the season for the both the Lions and Lionesses at the British Airway Grenada Rugby World 7s hosted at the 35,000 capacity national cricket stadium. Several Caribbean nations have previously hosted the event since the 1980s, with Barbados holding the tournament from 2015 to 2019, making 2022 the inaugural event for Grenada. The Lions squad had their last run out together in August this year, where they lifted silverware at RugbyTown in Denver, Colorado, whilst the Lionesses had not played since their trip to Harpenden in the summer. Paul Tietjens led both squads as Head Coach, assisted by Strength & Conditioning coach Stuart Aimer. Skipper Arun Watkins led the Lions assisted by Vice- captain Austin Beckett. Anna Davies captained the Lionesses and was ably assisted by the experienced Dutch half back, Nicole Kwee. The Lions first fixture was against Atlantis, a physical and abrasive side from the US. Taking an early lead thanks to Max Trimble, the Lions quickly followed with a second try from Pelo Kgatlhanye. Atlantis however responded to take the lead with just 2 minutes left, only to be stopped by a phenomenal 80 metre run by Jago Ford set up by Tom Derrick to clinch the game for the pride with the Lions winning 19-14. The Lionesses had a really tough encounter in their first match against Rugby Quebec who fielded a squad consisting of Canada 7s players from the high performance centre. A try for Holly McIntyre was by way a consolation for them, as the Lionesses lost 24-5. The Lions second game saw them take on Cormack Barbarians, a side made up of a number of former Richmond RFC players. A physical encounter which saw half back Tom Derrick taking the lead followed quickly by another try this time from skipper Arun Watkins stepping 6 Cormack players to round off the first half with a score 14-0. The start of the second half saw the score 14-7, which fuelled the Lions to set out to put the game to bed. A 40m cross field kick from Derrick was caught and executed by Watkins – the plan looked to be working. Two minutes later, a miss pass from Derrick to Watkins to run 60m, rounded off Watkins hat trick, and Derricks hat trick assist!. A final try win for Watkins with an intercept that seemed to just drop in his hands from 30m out. The Lions kept the pressure up however, with Max Trimble rounding the Cormack defence. In the final minutes of the game, Jack Blackmore pounded on a dropped ball from the Cormack defence, to grab himself a score. The final score coming to Lions 45-7 Cormack. The Lionesses were out for revenge in their second game, this time facing the UK outfit Find Rugby Now, who had a large influx of players from across the Caribbean for this event. Within the first minute, 19-year-old Lucy Peters opened the scoring courtesy of a great pass from Holly McIntyre. Minutes later, Lizzie Musa attacked the same wing to go over for her first. It was a game for the Peters sisters, as older sister Sophie proceeded to like her team mates attack on the left wing, and dot down for her score. Into the second half Nicole Kwee spotted a 2 on 1 situation and set up Skipper Davies to go through for a further score. Suzie Flowers then rounded her opposition from 35 metres out to take the score to 27-0. Bobbie Haywood, mirroring Kwee, spotted a 2 on 1 and set up young scrum half Willow Bell. A score for FRN followed, before Flowers decided to better her previous effort and ran in a score from her own half. The final score in this game finished Lionesses 41-5 Find Rugby Now. The final game of Day 1, was Lions vs Misfits made up a squad of Caribbean based players plying their trade for the national teams of the likes of Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados. A young and athletic team with bags of potential they looked to be tough competition for the Lions. The game starter similarly to the first match, with Pelo Kgatlhanye spotting a gap within the midfield, then breaking through to dot down for the match opener. Less then a minute later, Watkins picked up a loose ball off the kick off, catching the Misfits defence unaware to make the score 14-0. The final score of the day came from Jago Ford, who picked up a fantastic offload from Max Trimble off an expertly executed penalty move orchestrated by Tom Derrick. Final Score Lions 21 Misfits 5. The end of Day 1, saw the Lions ranked joint top, with the Lionesses in fourth place. Day 2 began with the Lions taking on the Saratoga Jockeys – a new side based in the US, providing opportunities for players to play globally. A solo try from George Paul opened the scoresheet within the first minute, before a chase back from Kgatlhanye and Austin Beckett presented Paul with the ball again in the open field which he then proceeded to charge 30m down the field then performing a perfect Sonny Bill offload to Derrick who went into the corner. Shortly after, Max Trimble sent a bounce pass over to Watkins on the left wing, who proceeded to evade 2 defenders, before being cut short and popping up to big Will Aylen who went over for his first ever try in Lions colours. Derrick got the ball in the midfield stepping a defender to run in from 30m out, taking the score to 26-0. Into the second half, and after 2 scores by the Jockeys, Jago Ford, misfooted his defender to provide a perfect platform for Grenadian born Avery Smiles-Tyson to run in from 40m out for his maiden try of the event. The final score – Lions 31 Jockeys 10. Up first on Day 2 for the Lionesses was Phoenix from Arizona. The opening try came from an attacking scrum just 5 metres from the Pheonix line, where a clean ball and no covering defence, allowed Nicole Kwee to show and go to open the score. Sophie Bennett then dragged the ball across to Suzie Flowers on the left wing who ran it in from 25m out. A turnover from Anna Davies, saw the ball get to Lizzie Musa, who got 60m of open space to showcase her speed to go over for the Lionesses third. Within the last minute of the game, Holly McIntyre caught the ball off kick off, where she ran it straight through the Phoenix defence, picking up a crucial try to edge the Lionesses further in the lead. With minutes left, Willow Bell took a goose step close to the right wing, setting up Zoe Heeley on 2 on 1, where she glided past any opposition to clinch her score. The final score Lionesses 31 Phoenix 15. Next up for the girls was Dallas, who so far had struggled in the competition. The game seemed to be the easiest for the squad, and within 30 seconds Sophie Bennett had been able to show and claimed her first try of the competition. Shortly after Flowers cut through the defence to claim the side's second. Holly McIntyre got the ball from Kwee on the Lionesses 40, to run it home for the third. Skipper Anna Davies then spotted the gap between the second last defender and the wing to slot through. Into the second half, Willow Bell and Zoe Heeley carried on their formidable partnership with a quick tap from Bell, setting her team mate up from 65m out. Bell then got into try scoring mode herself rounding the Dallas Defence. Bennett, tried her luck with the show and go yet again, and struck again running in from the midfield. A lineout not going to hand, 7m out from the Dallas line saw the ball pop up for Bell, who went down the short side when she bamboozled the defender to claim her 2nd try of the game. Strong defence from Pippa Robinson and co in the final minutes of the game saw the ball pop free for Zoe Heeley to score quite possibly the easiest tries of her career, as she dived on the ball to close the scores for the game. The final score Lionesses 57 Phoenix 0. The penultimate game saw Lions vs FRN men’s side. A squad with a real mix from across the globe, the Lions had never faced FRN before so this would be a good test for them. Keeping to their usual routine, Tom Derrick stepped the midfield defender to go through for the game’s opener. A big hit and turnover from Derrick soon proceeded to set up a 2 on 1 with Kgatlhanye who sprinted past the FRN defender to go over. Into the second half now, Pelo played quickly off a ruck to Will Aylen who spotted the inside shoulder of the FRN defence, stepping inside to grab his second try of the event. George Paul, yet again showed his footballing skills, chipping and chasing, following a phenomenal turnover forced from a Jago Ford trackback. Paul was then able to hack the ball up the field 80m winning the race to dot over. Aylen then turned provider popping up to Ford who galloped past the FRN defence to get his first of Day 2. In the closing moments of the game, Lewis Dennett held the ball in the midfield, disbalancing 2 FRN defenders before turning right, shifting the ball to Ford, who then cut inside and popped it to Oli Beech, the ball then going to Jack Blackmore who snuck past the last defender, then to Avery Smiles-Tyson who fended off the opposition to seal off the game. The final score – Lions 42 FRN 5. The Lionesses next game was a crucial match with Atlantis, with both sides on equal points. This was a critical game, packed with players who had recently played at the US based Premier Rugby Sevens league – they would not be pushovers. Lizzie Musa, showed her gas to open the score on the left wing within 2 minutes, fending off her opposite number. A strong run from Musa setting up the foundation for the Lionesses second, saw the ball then make its way to Flowers, then to Peters, before it eventually found Flowers on the wing again. In the second half, and with the scores 14-7, Sophie Peters ran it straight off a 5m penalty, and moved her opposition out the way to get over for the third score. The final score Lionesses 21 Atlantis 7. However, the job was not done as the Lionesses still had their final to play – vs another US based side – Rugby Advantage. Zoe Heeley was rewarded with her first try in the first minutes. Next up Bobbie Haywood exploited a weak inside shoulder from RA, to run in from 70m out to take the try tally to 2. Heeley scored again, beating 3 RA players to take her tally to 2 for the game. Not to be outdone, Suzie Flowers picked up a loose ball bamboozling the defender to go over for a score. A strong carry from Sophie Bennett, saw a one up run from Lucy Peters pay off as she went over for the final try of the game. With that being full- time the Lionesses ensured 2 sides would be coming back with silverware. Final score – Lionesses 33 Rugby Advantage 12 The men’s final was set up for drama…. Lions vs Butchers, an all UK final, England vs Wales – both teams were unbeaten, going into this "winner takes all" finale. The opening exchanges saw a lot of physicality being displayed from both sides as the Lions attempted to penetrate the Butchers line. Eventually following a carry from George Paul, Max Trimble found a hole carrying up to the 22, before being hauled down and offloading over his left shoulder to Tom Derrick who glided in for the opener. The second try came as a long looping pass by the Welsh side, was intercepted by Trimble, who ran in from 40 to make it 14-0. After snatching the ball at the kick off the Butchers made a 60m break through their Number 1, however he was quickly tracked down by Watkins with support from Paul – this was followed by a strong width to defence by the Lions. A strong hit from Austin Beckett, allowed Pelo Kgatlhanye to force a turnover before offloading to George Paul – who managed to find a clean straight of grass to run in for a score. Back-to-back scores then followed for the Butchers which saw the half time scoreboard as Lion 21-12 Butchers. Any threat for a comeback was quickly put to rest as an early pass from Will Aylen put through to Arun Watkins who then bypassed the Butchers winger to run in for his first of the game. A strong run by youngster Oli Beech ensued, who engaged 4 defenders and saw Tom Derrick win a penalty which he quickly picked up and dived under the sticks taking the Lions further into the lead. Derrick was then substituted by Dennett, who swiftly spotted the lack of restart defence from the Butchers plucking a short kick to Arun Watkins, catching the Butchers unaware and allowing him to run in for his 2nd of the game. Following a period of defence from the Lions, an offload into touch from the Butchers signalled the full-time whistle and the GRW7s title for the Lions. Final Score Lions 42 Butchers 12 LION OF THE TOURNAMENT – GEORGE PAUL LIONESSE OF THE TOURNAMENT – HOLLY MCINTYRE British Airways GRW7S MENS PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT – ARUN WATKINS SQUADS Lions 1-    Will Aylen 2-    Arun Watkins 3-    Jack Blackmore 4-    Lewis Dennett 5-    Tom Derrick 6-    Austin Beckett 7-    Pelo Kgatlhanye 8-    Avery Smiles-Tyson 9-    Max Trimble 10-   Oli Beech 11-   Jago Ford 12-   George Paul Lionesses 1-    Lizzie Musa 2-    Anna Davies 3-    Sophie Peters 4-    Suzie Flowers 5-    Nicole Kwee 6-    Willow Bell 7-    Lucy Peters 8-    Sophie Bennett 9-    Pippa Robinson 10-   Bobbie Haywood 11-   Zoe Heeley 12-   Holly McIntyre Management Team -     Paul Tietjens (Head Coach) -     Stuart Aimer (S&C and Assistant Coach) -     Beth Jefferies (Sports Therapist) -     Sarah Prior (Physiotherapist)

You can watch the highlights here:



The Lions are proudly sponsored by Dreamland

The Lionesses are proudly sponsored by Bellissima

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