Credit: Rugby Town Sevens
Day 2 - Rugby Town Sevens
The second day of the 2018 RugbyTown 7s Tournament saw teams compete in conditions similar to those on Friday: sunny, hot, and fast-paced. Twenty teams began the day, each working to secure a spot in the championship match on Sunday. In addition to the overall RugbyTown 7s title chase and winner-take-all $10,000 purse, Saturday saw the U.S. Military Championship decided, with defending champions U.S. Army taking the victory for the sixth year running.
Competition was noticeably more closely matched, visiting teams likely becoming more accustomed to play at a mile above sea level after Friday’s breathtaking sevens rugby. Alongside the rugby action, Infinity Park hosted its annual Bruises and Brews Beer Festival. Featuring local breweries, cider makers, and distilleries, the event only adds to the excitement and draw of a rugby-filled weekend.
With pool play and quarterfinal competitions completed, the RugbyTown 7s Tournament is far from over. The action will kick off once again on Sunday, when ultimate victors of the 2018 event will be decided. Beginning at 11am Mountain Time, the top teams will test themselves once again to see who takes tournament honors
U.S. Army drew first blood on day two, shutting down Coast Guard 38-0. The Marines then took down U.S. Navy 14-12 in a close match. The Collegiate All-Americans continued their excellent tournament showing, putting up 40 unanswered points against the winless Bermuda side. The final match of segment one was one of the closest of the tournament thus far. The Denver Rugby 7s Selects finished off the Sacramento Eagles in the fifteenth minute of play, coming from behind to edge out a 21-17 victory.
Saturday saw competition tighten among many of the teams. Segment two began with another close match, newcomers Lomaiviti Rugby ultimately overtaking the SoCal Griffins, 15-14. The next match further demonstrated the strength of Tiger Rugby, the Georgia-based side decisively defeating the winless Royal Armoured Corps team, 42-10. The USA Falcons then got the better of Cayman Islands, leaving the pitch with a 47-12 win. Segment two ended with a grudge match, Ramblin Jesters and British Army vying for top pool honours. A tight contest, the Jesters dotted down a 13th minute try to seal the victory.
Kicking things off for the day’s third segment, U.S. Army faced U.S. Air Force in a preview of the U.S. Armed Forces Championship to come later in the afternoon. Proving once again why they are the hands down favorite to win that contest, as they have for five years running, Army shut out Air Force, 34-0. Washington Athletic Club then bested Bermuda, employing great speed and footwork to sprint to a 29-10 victory. In an especially hard fought and well matched contest, newcomers Lomaiviti Rugby were able to dot down in the final minute of their game against the Dark n’ Stormy Misfits, earning a win. The North American Tsunami Sport Barbarians closed out pool play against the Cayman Islands side, leaving that team winless in this year’s tournament as the Barbos sewed up a 21-17 win.
U.S. Armed Forces Championship
The U.S. Army once again claimed the Armed Forces Championship victory in 2018. For the sixth year running Army proved to be the strongest amongst the U.S. Military’s Rugby Sevens competitors – though their work was cut out for them against the U.S. Air Force. In perhaps the most closely contested match the Army side has faced so far at RugbyTown 7s, the squad put up an early 12 points and then fought hard on defense against an Air Force team that refused to quit until the final whistle. Ultimately securing the 12-7 victory and a sixth U.S. Armed Forces Championship, Army appeared to be suffering from the many matches they’d already played and a slew of injuries. Both teams continued to compete for the overall RT7s Championship following the match.
Bowl quarterfinals began with the U.S. Marines falling to the North American Tsunami Sport Barbarians, 42-7. The second match of the segment saw Washington Athletic Club against the SoCal Griffins. With conditioning becoming more and more of a factor, and many tired bodies on the pitch after two days of competition, SoCal showed their fitness in a 26-5 win. The Dark n’ Stormy Misfits knocked off the Sacramento Eagles next, taking down the second California team in quarterfinal play by a margin of 35-5. The USA Falcons closed out the first segment (the bowl) of the 2018 RugbyTown 7s Tournament quarterfinals in impressive fashion, shutting out the U.S. Coast Guard and putting up 50 points in the process.
The second segment of quarterfinal play (the cup) at RugbyTown 7s demonstrated the impact that a weekend full of intense rugby play can have on a seemingly untouchable squad. The U.S. Army, hot on the heels of a sixth straight U.S. Armed Forces Championship victory, failed to put up any points against a British Army team that was dominant in a 38-0 shutout win. In one of the most exciting match ups of the weekend, the Collegiate All-Americans took on RT7s first timers Lomaiviti next, in a nail-biter that came down to the wire. Hanging onto an unblemished tournament record, the All-Americans refused to give up, the Glendale crowd erupting as the young team dotted down a last-minute try to secure a 31-29 win, and demonstrating in the process that the next generation of American rugby is bright. After two long days of rugby sevens play, some tournament favorites had begun to show potential chinks in the armor, and Tiger Rugby was no exception. The team struggled to hold off the attacks of hometown Denver 7s Selects, but eked out a 26-12 win to remain unbeaten in the 2018 tournament. The final match of Saturday play saw the Ramblin Jesters take on U.S. Armed Forces runners up U.S. Air Force. Though Air Force had just come off a close contest against U.S. Army for the Armed Forces Championship, the team looked fresh against a Jesters team that has risen in the ranks of RT7s Champion contenders. The final score not telling the entire tale of the match, the Jesters walked off the pitch with a hard-earned 36-5 victory, maintaining one of the few remaining undefeated records in the tournament.
Remembrance Ceremony For Fallen Ruggers
Saturday concluded with an annual Glendale tradition: the honoring of Fallen Military Ruggers. With deserved ceremony, all in attendance paid homage to those who have both served their respective countries and enjoyed the sport of rugby. Fans, players, and coaches stood at attention to honor those who sacrificed all for the greater good – a RugbyTown tradition that demonstrates the American embrace of the sport, and the utmost respect and admiration for those that serve.