SARATOGA, NY- The final Northeast 7s qualifier was played over the weekend in Saratoga Springs, and for both the men and women sides things went according to scrips, as Old Blue and New York Rugby Club won their fourth and third tournaments of the year, respectively and advanced through to Nationals.
For the men, it had been a three horse race all year. Old Blue, Mystic River and New York Athletic Club (NYAC) had been the cream of the crop and it was never a question of will they or won't they qualify for nationals, but more so, in what order. It became clear the Old Blue would be qualifying first, after they won the first three tournaments, which meant would it be NYAC or Mystic grabbing the silver and bronze. It had looked as if it would be Mystic, but after NYAC was able to beat Mystic last weekend, it set the stage for an all-important pool clash in Saratoga. It was a close match with each team scoring three tries, but, ultimately, it was Mystic who prevailed; conversions the difference, 21-15. The semifinals went as they had all summer, Old Blue went through both sets of opponents, beating NYAC, 31-5, in the semifinal and Mystic, 26-17, in the championship round Old Blue, Mystic and NYAC now all have four weeks to prepare for their run at a national title.
On the women's side, there was more drama on hand. While the men had three qualifying spots available, the women had two. Heading into the weekend New York Rugby Club had all but wrapped up their spot in nationals as they had finished first in each of the prior tournaments. The fight for second place, however, was well and truly alive. In a cross-town rivalry Boston and Beantown would be duking it out for the final Northeast spot in nationals. The game was an intense affair, Beantown was suffocated Boston's stingy defense, and were then spread thin on defense from Boston's relentless attempts to take the ball from sideline to sideline. Ultimately, Boston was just too strong for their neighbors and were able pull off the win and book their spot in nationals.