Originally posted by Alex Goff at Goff Rugby Report | Edits made to include the event's proper title
For the first time since 2007 the Chicago Lions are the National 7s Champions.
The Lions, playing an intelligent team-oriented style of rugby scored two quick tries on the surprise Westside Ronins in the final and held on 17-10. The Ronins had made the final by utilizing their pace and the smart support running of their more experienced heads, and could also unleash a nice vertical offload game.
But Chicago allowed them none of that, instead showing why making your one-on-one tackles is very important and making key turnovers in the rucks. It was a mostly young Chicago side with collegiates like Kai Carlberg, terran Meek, and Will Chevalier assisting recent collegiates like Tom Kacor and Jake Hidalgo. But they had talent all over and players with speed and agility.
Chicago won their pool on Saturday albeit in very close games, but there's an adage that certainly Goff Rugby Report adheres to, and that's the idea that tough games in pool play make you ready for the tough games in the knockout rounds. Nothing was easy for Chicago, so they didn't wilt when National Athlete Village scored to lead in a defensive-minded quarterfinal. Instead they worked their opportunities and scored twice to eke out a 10-7 win.
They didn't wilt when, up 14-0 they saw the somewhat surprising St. Louis Bombers storm back. Instead, they calmed down and iced the game. That was Chicago.
The Austin Huns might count themselves a little unlucky against the Westside Ronins in the quarterfinals, but rebounded to take down Old Blue. For Old Blue it was a rough Day Two after looking so in control on Day One (see adage above and its converse). Life West, who had lost by only a conversion to St. Louis in the quarters opened up against NAV and with Tim Stanfill making key plays and Gavan D'Amore-Morrison doing the same, they pulled away 27-19.
So it was Austin vs Life West in the final and once again teams that played the better team game and played strong defense won out—the Huns took it 12-5.
The Bowl and Shield
Belmont Shore shrugged off a somewhat disappointing Day One to play the way they know they can. It was a looser, more fun Belmont Shore on Day Two and that led to a 24-7 defeat of Oceanside, and 19-12 win over Schuylkill River, and a 24-12 defeat of NOVA for the Bowl.
For host team Washington Athletic Club is might have been galling to see fellow Northwesterners the Westside Ronins make the Signes Cup Final, but they had to deal with an off performance. Not quick enough and not fluid enough they still made the Shield Final. Mystic River, however, ended their trip to Washington with a win 17-12 over WAC.
Because of the new format of two tiers, the top team in the Silver Cup was given the opportunity to play in a challenge match to see if they deserved to be in the top tier. Rugby HTX won the Silver Cup, and then played Oceanside, which had lost their Shield semifinal. The other Shield SF losing team, Dallas, did not play any more. Rugby HTX beat Oceanside 24-19.