Originally posted by Alex Goff at Goff Rugby Report | Edits made to include the event's proper title
Teamwork, lack of mistakes, and a little shot of athleticism saw the best teams through on Day One of the Men’s National 7s Saturday in Tukwila, Wash.
For teams that hadn’t played much over the last year or so—with some hardly playing this summer, either—the championship was most welcome, but at times certainly the clubs involved struggled to look polished.
Signes Cup Pool A
Among the teams that did look relatively polished was Old Blue New York, which ran the table 3-0 and did so in impressive fashion … mostly.
Old Blue strode by Schuylkill River in their opener 28-12, although that included a late try to ice it. They then held off a pretty determined St. Louis Bombers team that was one of the dark horses of the day, before putting away Dallas in perhaps their best performance pool play.
St. Louis were surprise winners over Dallas and surprisingly close to Old Blue, but by the end of the day hadn’t surprised anyone when they beat Schuylkill River. Bolstered by a couple of Lindenwood University guys, the Bombers did enough to make the Top Eight.
Signes Cup Pool B
The Life West Gladiators fell behind 17-0 in their opening game against the Denver Barbarians, and then poured in four unanswered tries to win that game 26-17. They allowed only 14 more points the rest of the day, dismissing Mystic River and NOVA to go 3-0.
A very balanced side with some experience and plenty speed, Life West also were consistent defensively, especially after that first seven minutes.
Amazingly, Denver picked themselves up after that stunning loss and won two in a row, with Jeremy Misailegalu and Malik Bryant making some big plays, to make the quarterfinals.
Signes Cup Pool C
The teamwork of the Chicago Lions was excellent, and they needed all of it as while the Lions won all three of their games, every one was a nailbiter.
A one-try win over Austin, a one-point win over Oceanside, and another tight one 17-12 over Washington Athletic Club sealed the deal. WAC needed that win to get a shot at the top eight, and they didn’t get it.
Austin rebounded from their opening loss to hold off WAC 19-10 and then race past a tiring Oceanside 38-12.
Signes Cup Pool D
Maybe the tightest pool of the day saw the Westside Ronins out of the Seattle Area shake things up. With the ageless Mike Nelson leading the way and always dangerous Shane Donovan Moore also finishing off tries, and Lauina Futi a stepper hard to stop, Westside worked the ball nicely from sideline to sideline and were quite happy to surprise their opposition.
A very capable Atlanta Old White side found themselves a bit shocked as the Ronins beat them 24-17, came back to beat National Athletic Village, and then edged Belmont Shore 15-14 in a nailbiter.
Like other teams, NAV was unable to practice much, if at all, because of COVID restrictions but they managed to play well when they assembled. This side had ability and speed but didn’t quite put it all together until the end of the day. It was their ability to make tacklers miss that allowed them to put 31 on AOW and take 2nd.
So the Quarterfinals look like this:
Old Blue NY vs Denver
St. Louis vs Life West
Chicago Lions vs National Athletic Village
Westside Ronins vs Austin Huns
The Bowl QF Matchups are:
Schuylkill River vs Mystic River
Dallas vs NOVA
WAC vs Atlanta Old White
Oceanside vs Belmont Shore
The Beltway Elite had a pretty strong competitive summer and were, perhaps, unlucky not to get into the Signes Cup. They tried to show that on the field and held Grand Prairie, Santa Monica, and Oregon Sharks to just one try in total in winning all three of their pool games.
OMBAC looked secure in winning their pool, and Rugby HTX did just enough.
The weird pool was Pool D, where Optimus edged Silicon Valley 12-10, Silicon Valley won comfortably over Westside Ronins II, but then the Ronins shocked Optimus 12-7.
So all three teams were 1-1, leaving points difference to figure it out. Silicon Valley, by virtue of that big win over Westside, took 1st.
So on to the Quarterfinals, where OMBAC was shocked by Grand Prairie 32-0, Beltway Elite edged Detroit Tradesmen 19-15, Rugby HTX beat Optimus, and ORSU edged Silicon Valley 19-17.
Grand Prairie plays Beltway in the semis on Sunday, and ORSU plays Rugby HTX.