Epping Upper Clapton RFC commenced the preliminaries for their 140th season on the outskirts of Paris with their recent participation in a rugby sevens tournament.

In 1911, the then Upper Clapton Football Club played against Stade Francais RF, a club whom today now compete in the upper echelons of the French Top 14 competition.

The two clubs have renewed links with the intention of creating a series of reciprocal fixtures. This, then, was the basis for an invitation to Clapton to the prestigious Le Tournoi 7 de Coeur Sevens Tournament, held over last weekend in Versailles.

It attracted the cream of the professional French 7’s circuit, two teams representing the Chinese national team and Clapton as their other overseas guest.

After a slow start, Clapton registered their first victory in Game Three, which progressed them to the top eight competition, where they eventually finished seventh out of 16 ,losing out finally to one of the Chinese representative sides.

Whilst fun and camaraderie were pre-requisites of the trip, this was a very creditable performance. The eventual winners were 7 Fantastics, a nomadic collection of French sevens exponents who defeated the Stade Francais outfit Seventise in the final.

Clapton had played both previously in the competition and competed well against them in the process.

A return visit from Stade Francais is now on the cards for next year whilst Clapton aim to return to the Tournoi in 2020 and maybe a Ladies team will be competing too.

The club are investing time and human resources in developing Ladies rugby, responding to a demand to further expand the opportunities that have been established by girls playing in their junior ranks.

Friday, June 28 sees the first practice session when all girls and ladies of all standards will be made most welcome and invited to start their own rugby journeys.

September 2019 sees the Rugby World Cup get underway in Japan and the league programme begin in the London leagues. Preparation for those starts in early July.

Clapton will welcome all rugby followers and new converts to join them for the upcoming campaign. Having achieved a convincing promotion in 2018/19, the club will be confident in doing their utmost in attempting to repeat this feat.