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.
Article by Bridget Kapinus | Originally published at usarugby.org
This past Saturday, Rockford hosted the third and final Midwest Qualifier before the Midwest Championships, set to begin July 28th in Cincinnati. Though not as large as the previous two qualifier tournaments, Firehouse 7s and Legacy 7s, the competition proved just as fierce.
In the men's bracket, both the Lions and Metropolis fielded two sides with the Chicago Blaze, Milwaukee, Cleveland Academy, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland rounding out the ten team competition. Metropolis' A side dominated Pool A with an unsurprising four wins and 132 points versus their opponents. Milwaukee then barely edged out the Chicago Blaze for the second playoff spot with two just two wins. Over in Pool B, the Lions A dominated the large Ohio based teams with over 150 cumulative points and Metropolis B coming in a close second.
The championship game ended in a strong Metropolis A side defeating the Lions A side 24-10 to take first while Milwaukee beat out Metropolis B for solid 19-10 third place finish.
Over on the women's side, the day's games resulted in quite the interesting result. Six teams enter the qualifier with the Chicago Lions fielding two sides against Chicago North Shore, Cincinnati, Grand Rapids and Metropolis. The Lions B Side as well as Grand Rapids and Metropolis fell to the bottom of the pool. The Lions A side, Chicago North Shore, and Cincinnati all one four games putting them into a three way tie for first. Rather than continue into a playoff round, as each team had already played five games, officials were forced to determine standing based on number of tries scored. Not surprisingly, the Chicago Lions A side came out ahead with 27 tries and a first place finish. Following them, North Shore narrowly beat out Cincinnati with a total of 19 versus 18 tries.
All qualifier teams now have a bye week to recover before heading into the Midwest Championships (Cin City 7's) on the 28th where the top two men and women's teams (and National Qualifiers) will be decided.
The Red River Rugby Conference 7's Qualifier Series continued with the Tornado Alley Rugby Sevens Tournament Saturday hosted by the Oklahoma University Rugby Club at the University of Oklahoma Recreational Fields in Norman, Oklahoma.
In Pool A play the Reds from Dallas started their campaign with two shutouts. First a 22-0 win over the Mavericks and then a 43-0 win over the Austin Blacks. NOLA Rugby also started their day with two victories, first a 26-5 win over Huns 'B' and then a 36-0 victory over the Mavericks. The third match in pool play saw the Reds defeat Huns 'B' 28-17 and NOLA defeated the Austin Blacks 52-0, setting up a match for first place in the pool. The match between the two undefeated sides went the Reds way as they defeated NOLA 31-10 to claim the top spot in the pool heading to the semi-finals.
In Pool B play the Austin Huns started their day with a pair of victories. They defeated HARC 22-7 and then got a decisive victory over The Woodlands 33-5. The Reds 'B' squad started their day with a dominating 46-0 win over The Woodlands and then pulled off a win over Dallas city-rival Harlequins 24-12. The third match in pool play saw the Austin Huns defeat the Harlequins 26-12 and the Reds 'B' team squeaked out a narrow 17-15 victory over HARC, to set up a pool determining clash between the two sides. The Austin Huns took a 24-10 victory over the Reds 'B' side to claim first place in Pool B.
In the semi-finals the Reds 'A' squad defeated the 'B' squad to clinch a spot in the final. NOLA rugby upset undefeated Austin Huns 26-5 to set-up a rematch versus the Reds.
NOLA avenged their only defeat in pool play over the Reds with a 12-7 victory.
In the women's qualifier ARPTC (American Rugby Pro Training Center) sent two teams a Blue side and a White side. They were placed in separate pools and dominated their competition. In Pool A the 'Blue' side defeated the Lady Quins 44-0 and then also shutout HARC 52-0. In Pool B the 'White' squad defeated the Hawks 36-7 and then took down the Valkyries 29-5.
The two sides elected to not play each other in the final, with the 'Blue' sides victory in a qualifier earlier this season the 'White' squad now earns a spot in the Club 7's Nationals.
The next Red River Rugby Conference Qualifier will be July 28th at the Hell or High Water 7's in Spring, TX hosted by the Houston Athletic Rugby Club.
Having won the Western Open Championship, Belmont Shore Blue, locked up its berth to the USA Club Rugby 7s Championship in New York City August 11-12 and earned the Pacific South an additional seed. But as host of the Sun Splash 7s Men's Qualifier on July 14, Belmont still wanted to showcase their momentum and maybe lock in their second team, Belmont Shore Gold. Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC) and Santa Monica Dolphins were both vying for a seed as well making the Sun Splash 7s an eventful run in the sun.
Belmont Shore Blue seeded first in their pool play defeating both OMBAC and Tempe. The second pool had a bit more vigor with Oceanside, Santa Monica, and Belmont Gold each with a win and a loss. Oceanside secured the top pool seed by a mere three-point differential. The top seeds, Oceanside and Belmont Shore Blue, then earned a bye and a breather in the first game of bracket play.
In bracket matches, OMBAC met Belmont Shore Gold and lost 24-14. Santa Monica defeated Tempe 26-14. Belmont Shore Gold then faced the top seed Oceanside winning a tight 14-12 match, moving them to the Sun Splash 7s Championship game. Santa Monica faced the top pool seed Belmont Shore Blue and lost 21-12. The win pitted Belmont Shore Blue against Belmont Shore Gold in the Final Match. However, Belmont Blue forfeited given they already earned a nod to the Club 7s Championships allowing Belmont Shore Gold to win the Sun Splash 7s.
The third-place match had Santa Monica facing Oceanside and winning 31-10. This win secured Santa Monica the second seed to the Club 7s Championship. Belmont Shore Gold secured enough points with its Sun Splash 7s victory to lock up the third seed to the New York City event August 11 and 12.
The Pacific South will be strongly represented at the August New York City Club 7s Championship with the San Diego Surfers joining the Belmont Shore Blue, Santa Monica, and Belmont Shore Gold clubs vying for the top prize in the 7s prize in the US.
USA Rugby announced its men's and women's team rosters for the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco, and 20 of the 24 athletes representing the United States have played senior club rugby, many at the Club 7s National Championship.
For the full list of players and their former clubs, see below:
Men's National Team
Women's National Team
Ryan Carlyle - San Diego Surfers, Seattle Saracens, Columbia Bombshells
Lauren Doyle - Chicago North Shore
Cheta Emba - Beantown Rugby
Joanne Fa'avesi - Sacramento Amazons
Jordan Gray - Life West Gladiatrix, San Diego Surfers
Abby Gustaitis - Northern Virginia Rugby, Scion Sirens, San Diego Surfers
Nicole Heavirland - no senior club
Alev Kelter - no senior club
Ilona Maher - Scion Sirens, Village Lions
Naya Tapper - no senior club
Kris Thomas - Orlando Rugby
Kate Zackary - San Diego Surfers
Results updated as they come in. The Eastern competitive regions are towards the bottom (NCR1-NCR4); the Western competitive regions are towards the top (ACR1-ACR4). Due to time zones (obviously), the Eastern competitive region results will come in first.