Date: August 13-14, 2016
Location: Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado
Men's Final Standings
1. Rugby Utah
2. Kansas City Blues
3. Old Blue of New York
4. Chicago Lions
5. Belmont Shore Rugby
6. Seattle Saracens
7. 1823 Rugby
8. Mystic River Rugby
9. Northern Virginia Rugby
10. Santa Monica Dolphins
11. Atlanta Old White
12. Little Rock Stormers
13. Olympic Club Rugby
14. Schuylkill River Exiles
15. New Orleans Rugby
16. Austin Huns
Women's Final Standings
1. Scion Sirens
2. Old Blue of New York
3. American Rugby Pro Training Center
4. Oregon Sports Union
5. San Diego Surfers
6. Northern Virginia Rugby
7. Seattle Saracens
8. Berkeley All Blues
9. Youngbloodz Rugby
10. Glendale Raptors
11. Orlando Rugby
12. Phoenix Rugby
13. Chicago Griffins
14. Boston Rugby
15. Austin Valkyries
16. Tempe Ninjas
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - Dick's Sporting Goods Park hosted eight Rugby Sevens Finals Sunday at the 2016 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championships, where Scion Rugby Academy and Rugby Utah won National titles in their first attempts.
Thirty-two teams entered Sunday's Semifinals having played four games apiece in an 11-hour Day One. Seattle Saracens, defending National Champions since 2013, bowed out of the men's competition under the stadium lights in Saturday's Cup Quarterfinals, while Scion dropped 2015 Champion American Rugby Pro Training Center to the third-place match in this morning's Semifinals.
The women of Old Blue of New York stunned 2015 runners-up Seattle Saracens in the first round of knockout play to advance to the Semifinal matchup with Oregon Rugby Sports Union, and sprinted to a 10-0 lead. ORSU overcame two first-half yellow cards for a 12-10 halftime score, but Old Blue scored an early try in the second frame and held on for the 17-12 victory.
National Development Academies ARPTC and Scion were top seeds from their respective pools when they entered the Cup round, and were evenly matched in a high-paced Semifinal. Eagle Samantha Pankey scored the only try of the first half and capped Women's Eagles Sevens Ashley Perry ticked the scoreboard for ARPTC for a 12-7 Scion lead that held through the remaining minutes. The Little Rock, Ark., outfit defeated ORSU to take the tournament's bronze medal.
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - Sixty-four of the 96 matches at the 2016 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championships were played on the grounds of Dick's Sporting Goods Park Saturday, and eight teams are still in the race for a National Championship.
Women's Cup Semifinalists Scion Sirens and Oregon Rugby Sports Union kicked off the day at nine a.m. MT in separate matches, while the men's competition kicked off 80 minutes later on fields outside of the main stadium on the outskirts of Denver. The National Championship concludes Sunday, Aug. 14, with the Finals of both genders' Shield, Bowl, Plate, and Cup - as well as the third-place matches - scheduled for the stadium field beginning at noon MT. The action kicks off at nine a.m. MT on The Rugby Channel, where streams from all three fields are available to viewers at no cost.
American Rugby Pro Training Center made history in Des Moines, Iowa, last year, winning the women's National Championship in just its first year of existence as a squad. Not shockingly, ARPTC went undefeated through its three matches against Old Blue of New York, Phoenix, and Youngbloodz Saturday to take the top seed out of Pool A. Capped Women's Eagles Sevens Rachel Perry set the tone for the club from Little Rock, Ark., while XVs Eagle Jess Wooden provided the composure and conversion-kicking accuracy necessary to reach the Cup Semifinals.
LAFAYETTE, Colo. - Pool D in the women's bracket of the 2016 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championships will not be the most experienced group competing at Dick's Sporting Good Park in Commerce City, Colo., but there are still a few heavy hitters in the pool capable of making a deep run this weekend.
Oregon Sports Union has reached multiple Cup Quarterfinals at Nationals, and although the Scion Sirens have yet to do so themselves, the academy squad has been one of the top teams all summer. Orlando returns to Club 7s stronger for its Championship appearance last summer, and the Tempe Ninjas hope to surprise the field at Nationals in the team's first crack at a Club 7s National Championship.
LAFAYETTE, Colo. - Mystic River caught some off guard when it raced to the Cup Semifinals of the 2015 Club 7s National Championships. If the 2016 Division I National Champions in 15s want to one-better itself by reaching the Cup Finals at the Aug. 13-14 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championships, it will need to get past fellow Pool D occupants Atlanta Old White, Chicago Lions, and Santa Monica Dolphins.
Since its national runner-up finish in 2012, the Chicago Lions have regressed at Nationals in each of the past three championship tournaments. Last summer, the Lions failed to win a game in pool play, and settled for an 11th-place finish.
LAFAYETTE, Colo. - Three-quarters of Pool C at the Aug. 13-14 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championships compete in the Women's Premier League. Throw in the Austin Valkyries, a 2016 Division I national playoff team this past spring, to go along with the Berkeley All Blues, Glendale Raptors, and San Diego Surfers, and you have quite possibly the toughest pool top-to-bottom.
No women's team has won more Club 7s National Championships than the Pacific South's No. 1 seed - San Diego Surfers. The club has been revered for its play in 15s, but something in the water in southern California has made the Surfers one of the most formidable sevens teams in the country.
LAFAYETTE, Colo. - One would expect all competitors at a National Championship event to possess the talent and credentials to vie for the Championship itself. 1823 Rugby, Old Blue of New York, Olympic Club, and Schuylkill River Exiles will consider themselves contenders in Pool C at the Aug. 13-14 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championships, but only two will reach the Cup round at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Old Blue of New York is one of the most storied clubs in American rugby history, and has one of the most impressive Club 7s records of the men's field. Two of the club's 42 Nationals wins have come in Cup Finals (1993 and 2005), while two of its 25 losses have also come in Finals, most recently in the 2014 event in Seattle.
LAFAYETTE, Colo. - Half of the Men's Pool B at the Aug. 13-14 USA Rugby Clubs 7s National Championships will be competing at its first Club 7s Nationals, but Rugby Utah and Little Rock Stormers have the talent to make up for the programs' relatively inexperienced squads. The other half of Pool B has an immense amount of sevens experience at the championship level. Belmont Shore and Northern Virginia Rugby not only combine for 34 National Championship appearances, but four Club 7s titles, as well.
One of USA Rugby's newest National Development Academies, Rugby Utah is doing a lot of big things in its state - including the support of an impressive select sevens side. Entering its first season playing in the Frontier competition, Rugby Utah was not expected to qualify for Nationals. The sevens expertise of Denver Barbarians and Kansas City Blues have prevented Glendale Raptors from entering a Club 7s Nationals field since 2011, but Rugby Utah defied logic by not only qualifying for Nationals, but taking the No. 1 seed out of the Frontier.
Over half the team is either currently enrolled or graduates from Brigham Young University and University of Utah - two of the best collegiate men's rugby programs in the county. While there are a couple of quality athletes currently touring Australia with the AIG Men's Collegiate All-Americans who were likely to make Utah's 12-man roster, the program has the depth to back up the absentees.
LAFAYETTE, Colo. - Seattle Saracens' back-to-back Division I National Championships in 15s makes it a bit easier to forget the Saracens came very close to a National Championship in sevens last year, as well. Seattle no doubt will have high expectations going into the 2016 Club 7s National Championships, but will first concern itself with escaping Pool B, which includes Boston Rugby, Chicago Griffins, and Northern Virginia Rugby.
Last year's Seattle Saracens squad won all of its matches at Nationals - except those played against American Rugby Pro Training Center. After falling to ARPTC in pool play, Seattle's second-half comeback fell four points short against the National Development Academy in the 2015 Cup Final.
LAFAYETTE, Colo. - Austin Huns' first-place finish in the Red River competition puts the Huns in their first Club 7s National Championship in the team's history, but the No. 1 Red River seed also sees Austin into Pool A - an extremely experienced pool. Seattle Saracens, Kansas City Blues, and New Orleans make up the rest of Pool A, and combine for 33 National Championship appearances.
Seattle Saracens' eight National Championships at Club 7s includes years the team played as Old Puget Sound Beach Rugby, Seattle-OPSB, and Saracens. Whichever label the boys from the Pacific Northwest have played under, they have proven to have mastered sevens.