Date: August 8-9, 2015
Location: Cownie Soccer Complex, Des Moines, Iowa
Men's Final Standings
1. Seattle Saracens
2. Denver Barbarians
3. Mystic River Rugby
4. 1823 Rugby
5. .Old Blue of New York
6. Schuylkill River Exiles
7. U.S. Army Selects
8. Austin Blacks
9. Kansas City Blues
10. Santa Monica Dolphins
11. Chicago Lions
12. Charlotte Rugby
13. Belmont Shore Rugby
14. Life West Gladiators
15. Omaha Goats
16. Dallas Rugby
Women's Final Standings
1. American Rugby Pro Training Center
2. Seattle Saracens
3. San Diego Surfers
4. Berkeley All Blues
5. Life West Gladiatrix
6. Northern Virginia Rugby
7. Chicago Lions
8. Youngbloodz Rugby
9. New York Rugby
10. ICEF Rugby
11. Scion Sirens
12. Rocky Mountain Squids
13. Philadelphia Rugby
14. Hawaii Harlequins
15. Orlando Rugby
16. Boston Rugby
DES MOINES, Iowa – Denver Barbarians will wait another year for their first USA Rugby Emirates Airline Men’s Club 7s National Championship after a defeat to three-time defending title-holders Seattle Saracens in the 2015 Final Sunday at James W. Cownie Soccer Complex.
Ata Malifa, named Smith and Forge Hard Cider at the end of the day, filled in for Maximo de Achaval on day two in Des Moines, after the long-time Denver captain returned home for a prior commitment. Without skipping a beat, the Barbarians continued their unbeaten run to the Final with a last-gasp defeat of 1823 in the Semifinal. Down, 12-10, in the dying seconds of the Semifinal, Ben Pinkelman created a turnover and Ke’von Williams ran close to the length of the pitch with Martin Iosefo in support. Williams found the capped Eagle for the game-winning try.
Seattle lost its first competitive sevens match on U.S. soil in three years during pool play Sunday, and did not want to lose a second. Despite Mystic River’s successes in Iowa, including an impressive, 24-5, defeat of Army in the Cup Quarterfinal, Saracens’ warpath went through the Boston-based club in the Semifinal.
“Because Seattle scored early [in the Semifinal], confidence got up, etc., and then that carried on,” Men’s Eagles Sevens Assistant Coach Chris Brown said prior to the Final. “Mystic River needed to hold them early, then outplay them. Because they didn’t they couldn’t control the game. If [Mystic River] played anyone else, I would’ve picked them to win the whole thing.”
With one of the longer breaks between matches, the men’s teams took to the stadium pitch in the last action of the day. Logan Collins put Denver ahead in the first minute of the match after Malifa and Williams each stepped around a couple of defenders in Seattle’s half.
DES MOINES, Iowa – In its first appearance at the event, American Rugby Pro Training Center won the 2015 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Women’s Club 7s National Championship with a 21-17 defeat of Seattle Saracens at James W. Cownie Soccer Complex Sunday.
The USA Rugby Olympic Development Academy’s team held off San Diego Surfers, last year’s champion, in a 12-7 Cup Semifinal victory. Berkeley All Blues, 2013 champions and 4-0 headed into their Cup Semifinal, were handled by Seattle in a 19-0 shutout.
American Rugby Pro scored in the first minute of the Final after a switch set up by Jessica Liu at Seattle’s 10. By minute five, the group from Arkansas had a 14-0 lead and had kept Saracens from going forward with ball in hand. The restart after the second try was recovered by Seattle, but a fit defense and well-executed structure forced Saracens back towards the try line.
Seattle managed to get out of its half with the possession, and was awarded a penalty in the attacking side of the pitch. The attack pushed forward through phases, but individuals rather than the team tried to make a scoring play happen, and the referee called a penalty for crossing five meters from the in-goal area.
DES MOINES, Iowa – Seattle Saracens will not replicate last year’s undefeated run to the USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championship after losing the third pool match to 1823 Rugby, but a victorious rematch of the 2014 Final in Saturday’s Cup Quarterfinal ensures the Washington-based club remains in contention for the title.
Seattle and 1823 strolled through the first two rounds of Pool A Saturday at James W. Cownie Soccer Complex, with Saracens scoring 78 points in keeping Charlotte Rugby and Dallas Reds scoreless. 1823 battled through wet conditions after Seattle took a 7-5 lead in the second minute of the unbeatens’ matchup, and two tries from Ryan Cochran proved the difference in the 17-7 decider.
“It was a tough loss and I think the next game will be telling,” 2014 Club 7s MVP and Seattle Saracens captain Mike Palefau said prior to the knockout round. “There are two ways we could go from it: up or down. I’m not really concerned about who we play [in the Quarterfinal], because we’ll have to play them to get to the Final eventually, anyway.
“ were physical. We knew they were going to be physical, and they did a good job.”
DES MOINES, Iowa – Defending USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Champions San Diego Surfers remain in the hunt for the 2015 title after a perfect 3-0 record in pool play and shutout defeat of Youngbloodz in the Cup Quarterfinal Saturday.
Each women’s pool featured an undefeated team, with Berkeley, Chicago, and American Rugby Pro joining San Diego in the Cup Quarterfinals as pool winners. San Diego’s day one kicked off bright and early with the first match at James W. Cownie Soccer Complex, a 29-0 win against Hawaii Harlequins, while defeats of Northern Virginia and Orlando sealed Pool A for the Surfers.
“We play all out, but we play strategically,” Surfer Phaidra Knight said prior to the team’s pre-Quarterfinal break. “We knew this last game [against Orlando] was probably going to be the hardest game of the day. We’re going to go rest and make sure we take care of ourselves, so we come out stronger; as strong as we can come out; as strong as we’ve been today.
“None of these teams are giving up. It’s strong competition across the brackets.”
Article by Chad Wise and Alex Solomon | Originally published at usarugby.org
DES MOINES, Iowa – The 2015 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Men’s Club 7s National Championship kicks off at James W. Cownie Soccer Complex Saturday, Aug. 8, where 16 domestic clubs will fight for the title.
Two years of dominance from Seattle Saracens could end in the Hawkeye State’s first USA Rugby National Championship event. Old Blue of New York, the other 2014 Finalist, and third-place Kansas City Blues will offer a challenge to the field of competitors, one of the strongest set of teams in recent memory.
Seattle Saracens, 1823 Rugby, Charlotte Rugby, Dallas Rugby
With the influence of Fijian great Waisale Serevi, the nearby training facilities of ATAVUS Academy, and a tight-knit group that plays 15s and sevens throughout the year, there is no reason to doubt Seattle’s credentials as the favorite at Club 7s for yet another year. B.C. Division Champions in the long-form version of the game and B.C. Sevens Series victors in the 14-minute version, Saracens brings the cohesion and confidence of a club on track for the dynasty classification. Eagles Mike Palefau and Tim Stanfill fit into a team of near-professionals, while Eric Duechle adds additional fitness from his time at the Olympic Training Center as part of the U.S. Army World-Class Athlete Program.
Not to be outdone, 1823 Rugby stormed through Midwest competitions with an undefeated record, Athletes training at Tiger Rugby Academy, a member of USA Rugby’s Olympic Development Academy, include American football converts Aaron Davis and Alex Elkins. Tiger’s fitness and strategic guru, Head Coach Paul Holmes, leads a team that has underachieved in recent years at Club 7s, placing 10th and ninth in 2013 and 2014, respectively. If the upward trend is to continue, 1823 will have to first hurdle Seattle in pool play.
In six appearances at Club 7s in the past 20 years, Charlotte Rugby has only reached the Cup round once, but brings momentum from a strong qualifying campaign in the south. Top points-scorer Matt Hughston, a Men’s Eagles Sevens High Performance Camp attendee, led the team with 17 tries and 30 conversions as Charlotte won Cup championships at Triad 7s, Airborne 7s, Moonshine 7s, and Todd Miller 7s, the South Championship. The team also brings cohesion to Iowa, with 10 of the team’s 12-player travel squad having played rugby in the Charlotte area high school system.
Injuries and schedule conflicts prevented Dallas from performing at its expected standard in the first Red River Rugby Conference Qualifier tournament, but responded with a clinical Cup championship at the second in Fort Worth, Texas. The victory and second-place finish in the third qualifier sealed a place at Club 7s, where Dallas has not played since 1997. In three appearances, the club has not won a single match, but finishing speed from Jon Moore and experience from capped Hong Kong international Rob McDermott are sure to help the team challenge for a spot in the Cup round.
DES MOINES, Iowa – The USA Rugby Emirates Airline Women’s Club 7s National Championship kicks off at James W. Cownie Soccer Complex Saturday, Aug. 8, with 16 of the finest domestic programs competing for the coveted trophy.
San Diego Surfers return to defend their title after a 6-0 run in 2014, but a mix of newcomers and Club 7s veterans in the fifth edition of the event will give the reigning champions a run for their money.
San Diego Surfers, Orlando Rugby, Northern Virginia Rugby, Hawaii Lady Harlequins
San Diego will be one of the favorites in the women’s bracket, but the same could be said for any of the teams that make it out of the Surfers’ pool. Orlando Rugby will make its first appearance at Club 7s after winning multiple events in Florida, including the Phillippe “Fiji” Leka Memorial 7s event in Miami. Though the club lost Kristen Thomas to the Women’s Eagles Sevens last year, several skilled runners, including Jessica Warner, can cause problems on both sides of the ball.
Hawaii Lady Harlequins will be just the second club from the 50th state to play at Club 7s following Mana Wahine’s entry in 2014. National All-Star Camp attendee Ashley Sorenson, who has been on the Eagles’ radar for several years, helped the team defeat traditional powerhouse Kalihi Lady Raiders in the Hawaii State Championship Final to claim a spot in Des Moines. Featuring players from Australia, France, Sweden, and, of course, Hawaii, the Lady Harlequins could bring the intensity of Tropical Storm Guillermo to the midwest.
Northern Virginia Rugby won two of the MAC qualifiers before second-place performances at Ruggerama and the MAC Championship, beating conference opponents six times in eight opportunities. USA Rugby AIG Women’s Collegiate All-Americans Nicole Benedetti and Stephanie Goetz strengthen an already-formidable squad, which has placed in the top five at Club 7s since the inaugural women’s tournament in 2011.
By Chad Wise | Originally published at usarugby.org
UPDATE: Titans Rugby has been replaced by Omaha Goats in Pool D of the men's competition.
BOULDER, Colo. - The pools for the 2015 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Men's and Women's Club 7s National Championships, set for James W. Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 8-9, have been announced. All matches throughout the championship weekend will be streamed live on USA Rugby TV.
Two-time defending champions Seattle Saracens will head Pool A in the men's bracket with 2014 Bowl-winner 1823 Rugby, while San Diego Surfers take the top seed in Pool A of the women's bracket having won the 2014 tournament at Starfire Sports Complex.
Runner-up in 2014, Old Blue of New York will match up with USA Rugby Emirates Airline Men's Senior Club Division II National Champion Life West in Pool B, as well as DI runners-up Austin Blacks and the Chicago Lions.
The United State Olympic Committee (USOC) has declared August 8th Olympic Day in Des Moines.
Previously held on June 23rd, the USOC granted this special recognition in conjunction with the first day of the 2015 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championships. The championships will be held on Aug 8-9 at James W. Cownie Soccer Complex.
The USA Rugby 7s National Championships will feature the top 16 men’s and top 16 women’s teams from across the nation playing Olympic style rugby. With both the USA men’s and women’s teams qualified for the 2016 Olympics, this tournament allows spectators the final chance to watch 384 players compete for a spot on Team USA.
“We were thrilled to learn that USA Rugby will be holding the 2015 Men’s and Women’s Club 7s National Championships in Des Moines,” said Greg Edwards, President of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and Des Moines Area Sports Commission. “This is another first-time event for our metro and will bring 32 teams and 1,200 to 1,500 visitors to Des Moines. A great example of our local Des Moines Rugby Club, Des Moines Area Sports Commission and Des Moines Parks and Recreation teaming together to make this happen.”
The addition of Olympic Day recognition means The Rugby Foundation and Iowa Youth Rugby Association are teaming up to introduce rugby to hundreds of kids throughout the metro on August 5-8 at local YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Des Moines Parks and Rec camps. Every kid who participates in one of these outreach events will receive a free pass for August 8th and play on the main field during one of the breaks in the action.
“Iowa is unique in its commitment to Olympic rugby,” USA Rugby Board Member and Host Committee Co-Chair Jeremiah Johnson said. “It is an honor to see USA Rugby partnering with the Des Moines Area Sports Commission, Des Moines Rugby Foundation, Des Moines Rugby Club and the Iowa Youth Rugby Association. We are thrilled to bring our nation’s top Olympic rugby teams to one of our nation’s best cities just weeks after both of our men’s and women’s teams qualified for the 2016 Olympics.”
This is the first USA Rugby Championship event to be held in the state of Iowa, and the Host Committee believes it could be one of many.
“Iowa has a history of producing some of our nation’s best rugby talent,” Iowa Youth Rugby Association Chairman and Host Committee Co-Chair Chris Draper said. “It is fitting that the path to Olympic Gold now runs through the world-class city of Des Moines.”
About Olympic Day: Olympic Day features more than 700 events taking place nationwide between June 14 and 30. The events, designed to engage youth and promote the ideals of the Olympic movement, feature athlete appearances, family-friendly activities and interactive learning experiences. Around the world, more than 160 countries take part in the annual celebration. Olympic Day, created in 1948 to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games, focuses on the Olympic values and ideals such as fair play, perseverance, respect and sportsmanship. In the U.S., Olympic Day events range from small gatherings to large, city-wide events.
About USA Rugby: Founded in 1975, USA Rugby is the national governing body for the sport of rugby in America, and a Full Sport Member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Rugby Board (World Rugby). Currently headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, USA Rugby is charged with developing the game on all levels and has over 115,000 active members. USA Rugby oversees four national teams, multiple collegiate and high school All-American sides, and an emerging Olympic development pathway for elite athletes.
About the rugbyDSM Festival: The rugbyDSM Festival includes all events leading up to and including Olympic Day and the 2015 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championships. It is led by the Host Committee representing The Rugby Foundation, the Des Moines Rugby Club, and the Iowa Youth Rugby Association. This is the first year of the rugbyDSM Festival planned for August of each year. - See more at: http://www.sportsdestinations.com/destinations/iowa/news/des-moines-gets-olympic-day-2015-usa-rugby-nationa-9638#sthash.XWzvBeru.dpuf
Article by Alex Solomon | Originally published at d1arugby.com
BOULDER, Colo. – The rising temperatures and completion ofUSA Rugby’s Club Championships in 15s has unofficially marked the beginning of the summer sevens season. For several D1A Rugby student-athletes, this time of year means transferring their registration in order to join a senior club team for a summer of competitive sevens.
While the summer months provide plenty of opportunities for rugby players to break a sweat and have some fun in social tournaments, it’s not surprising college rugby’s elite competition will see several of its players link up with some of the very best club teams in the country.
Three of the four teams that reached the 2014 Club 7s National Championship Semifinals, including the Kansas City Blues, will lean on talent out of D1A Rugby to make another run at a National Championship. The Blues, whose third-place finish last August came as a bit of a surprise, will be poised for another big summer after adding the likes of College 7s National Champions Mike DeSouto, Morgan Findlay, Sebastian Kalm, and Lunaile Tshuma of Lindenwood University.
Year-in, year-out contender Belmont Shore, which finished fourth in the 2014 Nationals, will also benefit from the addition of Lions Giovanni Falco and Cam Reed – both of whom started in Lindenwood’s 28-10 win over Davenport in the College 7s Men’s DI Cup Final.
Old Blue of New York, the team that bounced Kansas City in the National Semifinals, has also called on a few D1A student-athletes to bolster its roster. Michael Al-Jiboori, a senior center with Oklahoma, has traded in his Denver Barbarians green for New York’s black and blue. Coming off of his sophomore season with the Arizona Wildcats, full back Shane Dempsey has also found a temporary home with Old Blue, as has Onye Onwukanjo – a loose forward entering his junior season at Davenport.
Onwukanjo isn’t even the only D1A player in his family swapping kit over the summer. Onwukanjo’s older brother, Ike, is a winger for Buffalo who has earned a spot on Nigeria’s national sevens team, and helped the Black Stallions qualify for November’s regional qualifier in Johannesburg, South Africa for the 2016 Olympic Games.
In the Midwest, 1823 and the Chicago Lions both finished in the top 10 at the 2014 Club 7s National Championships, and each has an eye on improved finishes in 2015. In order to do so, 1823 has tabbed Ohio State’s Santino Cua and Luke Hickey for its program, while the Chicago Lions expect impacts from Davenport centers Sondai Adjei and Mike Houston.
Select sides are another great way for players to garnish recognition, while also competing in an atmosphere that suits them best. For instance, active-duty military ruggers receive immense pride in representing military select sides. This summer, two Zoomies and All-West Conference standouts Calvin Johnson and Victor Woo will compete with the US Air Force Selects, while All-Mid-West center Anthony Welmers and Life winger Tyrus Baytops will take the pitch as part of the US Army Selects – which will be led by Utah Director of Rugby Mark Drown.
One Olympic Development Academy that always seems to select imposing sides for a host of international sevens tournaments is Tiger Rugby. A busy summer slate for the men and women at Tiger begins this Saturday at Cancun Sevens, where Head Coach James Walker and Academy Director Paul Holmes will blood AIG Men’s Collegiate All-American and Saint Mary’s standout Kingsley McGowan.
“I’ve always been impressed with Kingsley’s work ethic,” exclaimed Walker. “When I finally got to meet him in Chula Vista at one of the Eagles High Performance Camps, he struck me as a great guy, very coachable, and most importantly he embodies the values we have as a club.”
Making his return to Tiger in Cancun is the heart and soul of Davenport’s impressive 2015 campaign in 15s and sevens – JP Eloff.
“JP is a tremendous talent and athlete,” Walker described. “In my opinion, I think he still needs to find his best position, but he has the mental makeup to play international rugby.”
Joining the Collegiate All-Americans on tour to Mexico is Wes Parker. The loose forward just finished his first year on campus at Lindenwood, but has impressed the coaching staff with his physicality during his time spent training at the Tiger Rugby Academy in Columbus, Ohio.
Like all tours under the watchful eye of Walker and Holmes, the objective is to provide rugby players the platform to improve their game and potentially get recognized for national team selection.
“It’s absolutely the ultimate goal,” stated Walker. “We want to get these athletes through the system and into the national team, or in a position to sign a professional contract.”
All of this summer’s club sevens action will build towards the 2015 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championships. This year, the two-day National Championship event will take place Aug. 8-9 at the James W. Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines, Iowa.