(Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
The weekend was full of great quality rugby and it was almost all available on the new Ustream USA Rugby site (They had generator problems all weekend so some games were missed or partially availablle. This includes the Women's final, we only saw about 8 minutes of it).
Northeast Women, West Men Take Home Titles at All-Star Sevens
NEW YORK—Following two days of stiff competition on Randall’s Island in New York City, the Northeast women’s team and the West men’s side walked away with their respective All-Star Sevens Championship titles, earning themselves bragging rights throughout the next year as they both finished the tournament undefeated.
The Northeast Rugby Union (NRU) Women’s All-Star Team worked the Pacific Rugby Union in its first round on Sunday, beating the Grizzlies 12-5 and moving on to meet the Mid-Atlantic (MARFU) Women’s Team in the final after the Mid-Atlantic team successfully handled the USA Development side earlier in the day.
The Women’s Championship match actually saw the local side get off to a slow start as MARFU scored first and the Northeast found itself trailing for the first time all weekend. The Northeast wound up taking back the lead in the second half, however, scoring its second unconverted try of the match and holding its Mid-Atlantic competition scoreless for over 15 minutes of play. (Finals in the All-Star Championships consisted of 10 minute halves.)
The NRU has now secured their fourth title in five years, continuing their domination of opponents with great team work and a consistent aggressive style.
“Obviously we are very happy,” Northeast Women’s Coach Chris Ryan said. “It was a really good week and we couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. We had a lot of local support and MetNY hosted a great event. Hopefully there are many more like this in the future.”
Unfortunately, the local Northeast men didn’t have the same success as the women. NRU lost their semifinal match after a last-second try by the Pacific Men gave them a three point lead and the win.
The Northeast actually had the game in its grasp within the last minute of play in its match against Pacific. Following a penalty within Pacific’s 22 in which one of the players was sent off, the Northeast decidedly should have gone for the try, but attempted a penalty kick instead. Pacific would come back in the very next play and score a try to end the game, 27-24.
“It was a very disappointing way to end a game we could have won,” Northeast Men’s Coach Sean Horan said. “But for the team to come this far is a great accomplishment. Unfortunately, a couple mistakes hurt us, several missed tackles directly led to several of their tries, but in sevens these things happen. All in all, the guys put forth a great team effort and I’m proud of them.”
In the other Cup Semifinals, the West faced the Mid-Atlantic in a similarly close match that came down to a last minute effort. In the end, however, the West walked away with it, winning 14-12 to advance to the cup finals where they faced the Pacific side. MARFU went on to win against the Northeast to take home the Men’s Plate.
Following such a tough match against the Northeast, the Pacific side may have been a bit worn down; and in the Men’s Championship finals, the West proved it had much more in the tank, jumping out to an early 21-0 lead.
The Grizzlies attempted a comeback, but it was too little too late and could only come within seven, losing 28-19 to last year’s runners-up.
Besides taking second last year, this will mark the West’s third Championship title since the beginning of this event, nine years ago. And with a majority of this year’s players coming from two of its more dominant Colorado sevens teams—Aspen and the Denver Barbarians—the West’s Coach Sean Knight acknowledges the fact that this gives an All-Star team a powerful advantage.
“The team that learns how to play together the quickest has a great advantage over its opponents,” Knight said. “We are excited to finish on top and really owe it to an entire team effort.”
In the Bowl bracket, the Midwest won the men’s final over the U.S. Collegiate side, 29-5, while on the women’s side, the Midwest fell hard in the final to the South, 34-0.
The Metropolitan New York Rugby Football Union is a non-profit organization whose vision is to elevate the sport of Rugby within the New York area. With a mission of attracting, facilitation and supporting the economic and social vitality of the greater metro area, the Metropolitan New York Rugby Football Union works to draw premier domestic and international sporting events to the NYC market. For more information visit www.metnyrfu.org
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