URugby Sevens Philadelphia a Clinic in Great Rugby
The skies cleared, the wind kicked up and flags flew from the top of custom-made goal posts as URugby Sevens Philadelphia blew in to Malvern, Pa. on April 11 and 12.
Photo Credit: Tom Weishaar, www.OneMoreShot.com
The two-day tournament saw more than its share of excitement as 26 men’s and 6 women’s teams meet on four fields at the Greater Chester Valley Soccer Association (GCVSA) Complex. When the dust settled, Kutztown was the men’s Cup champion, defeating Temple in the final, while Princeton claimed the women’s Cup.
Beyond the hardware, though, the tournament offered an excellent opportunity for both well-established and developing squads to test their mettle in a highly-competitive, full-scale tournament environment.
High-Level Sevens Rugby
West Virginia sevens coach John Baker, whose Mountaineers won the Plate final against Georgetown, saw the Malvern tournament as a way to get his team ready for the College 7s National Championships in Denver and the ACRC7s in Virginia Beach.
“This is a good way for us to play some quality sides,” he said. “You get some of these teams out here, with bigger guys who can really move—it’s good [experience] for my guys, because we’re not a huge team.”
The men of Stony Brook, who fell to Temple in the cup semifinal, will be in Denver next month and Virginia Beach in just two weeks. “A two-day tournament gets you used to the national set-up,” said Jerry Mirro, head coach of the Seawolves. “Instead of one day, with five or six games, when its spread over two days you’ve got to learn how to allocate the time, keep the conditioning, keep the mental level up - so it’s a good test. That’s why we came."
Stony Brook, along with several other teams in Malvern this weekend, will get their first chance of the spring to prove their championship-level credentials at URUgby Sevens Virginia Beach featuring the ACRC7s, which takes place April 25-26.
Tournament Rugby: Getting it Together
For the Kutztown women’s rugby team, the two-day format offered an excellent chance to experiment as the club jumps fully into sevens rugby in advance of an appearance at the Collegiate Rugby Championships (CRCs) in May.
“We’ve got a lot of new players that have never played sevens rugby before … so we’re trying different lineups, different groups of people working together so we can figure out a nice flow for the CRCs,” said senior multi-position player Tabetha Super.
With six games on Saturday and three on Sunday, Super (a veteran of Atlantis Rugby and Old Blue who will play on scholarship at Palmer this summer) said that Malvern offered the perfect environment for a developing squad.
“It's easier to correct our mistakes when we can play multiple games in a row, and for multiple days with different groups of people,” she said. “So if these groups of people are making mistakes they can play again and fix those mistakes and we still have time to work together [as a team] and figure our where our weaknesses are, and whose skills compliment each other.”
“We’re here really to learn,” she said.
Whether the goal was to learn, to win—or in most cases, both—teams appreciated the well-organized structure of the event.
“It’s really efficiently run, which I really, really like,” Baker said. “I like how everyone’s on the same schedule instead of running behind, as most tournaments tend to, so it’s easy to plan.”
“It was well-run,” Mirro said right off the bat when asked for his thoughts on the URugby tournament. “Well run,” he repeated, “with really good competition.”