Lansdowne Holds Off Gotham Knights

September 25, 2016

Lansdowne Holds Off Gotham Knights

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Photo: Lansdowne RFC

Lansdowne RFC Release: September 25, 2016

Alan “Rusty” Walsh saved the day for the homeside as he kicked an 80th minute penalty to edge the Gotham Knights 25-23 in a nervy encounter at Tibbetts Brook Park.  Lansdowne struck first in minute 8.  Some lovely interplay between the dynamic halfback combination of Mark Giordano and Dillon Casey saw the ball come out wide to Robbie Davies.  Center Davies was able to beat 2 defenders and run into goal from 20 meters. Sennin Flanagan converted.

Six minutes later, Davies struck again.  Austin Purcell, who was all over the pitch in offense and defense, pilfered the ball and got it out wide Robbie, who flew in from 40 meters out. The Flanagan conversion gave Lansdowne at 14 point advantage.  Sennin’s boot was true again as he kicked an 18th minute penalty and stretched the difference to 17 points.

But the seemingly safe advantage proved to be the total opposite.  The Knights’ dynamic back line caught fire and started to make inroads into Lansdowne territory.  In minute 21, some impressive footwork by Gotham’s center combo saw their #13 slam into the corner to get the Knights on the scoresheet.  Just 3 minutes later, Gotham’s terrific #8 pulled the ball out of a ruck and began a sequence of play of 9 passes, which culminated in a converted try that got the visitors to within 5.

The 2nd half began and the Lansdowne front row of Ian O’Connor, Rampaging Steve Murphy and Ciaran Byrne were dominant in the scrums and briefly kept Gotham at bay.  Dillon Casey’s lovely drop goal gave Lansdowne an 8 point lead.  Three minutes later, Sennin Flanagan was accurate again as he slotted a penalty and had the homeside up by 23-12.

But Gotham responded accordingly.  In minute 65, a magnificent 40 meter gallop by their dynamic outside center got the Knights to within 6.  In minute 71, their center struck again.  Another long distance try, this one converted, gave Gotham a one point advantage.

But Lansdowne weren’t quite finished yet.  Man of the Match Hugh Byrne demonstrated some brilliant tactical kicking and got The Irishmen deep into Knights territory.  A Gotham infringement gave Alan Walsh a shot at goal, and he converted in a nervy finish.

Lansdowne practices are held every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00PM at Randalls Island field 74.  All interested players should come on down or contact the club at www.lansdownerugbyclub.com.

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Penn State Women’s Rugby Races By Rutgers

September 25, 2016

Penn State Women’s Rugby Races By Rutgers

Photos: Penn State Rugby and Rutgers Women’s Rugby

Doug Coil

On Saturday September 24th, Penn State Women’s Rugby welcomed Rutgers to the Big Ten Women’s Rugby Conference with a 89-5 win. The match will be a bench mark for Rutgers to measure their progress. There will be more competitive league matches this season for Rutgers.

Penn State took advantage of a penalty on Rutgers for a high tackle, when Gabby Cantorna took a quick tap and offloaded to Tess Feury for a try and a 5-0 lead. The lead became 12-0 after Kyla Chipman picked up the ball from a 5 meter scrum and went in for a try. Rachel Campbell then turned the ball over from Rutgers and the ball was swung wide to Katie O’Hare for a try.

The fourth Nittany Lion try came after two breaks, one by Kira Garnett who offloaded to Fallon Joseph and then by Rachel Campbell who offloaded to Ellie Fromstein to Armanda Berta for a try. The lead was now 24-0.

The lead increased to 31-0 when Az Nalbandian found a gap in the defense and offloaded to Maggie Carly for the fifth try. Soon after Katie O’Hare added a sixth. A seventh resulted from a Cantorna kick for territory that was chased down. The eighth try prior to halftime, was started by an Az Nalbandian break who then offloaded to Kyla Chipman and back to Nalbandian for a try. At halftime it was 48-0 to Penn State.

Penn State added another try to begin the second half as Maggie Carly found a gap and offloaded to Maddie McCormick for a try, which was then converted by Cantorna for a 55-0 lead.

Finally, it was Rutgers turn to add points. Rutgers #8 picked up the ball after a scrum and the ball went wide for a try by Shai Hodges. It would be the only score from the Scarlet Knights of the match.

Penn State would add another seven tries after this with doubles by Katie O’Hare, Tess Feury, and Gianna Solomon, while Katie Sayer had her first try.

Ken Pape, Rutgers Head Coach said “Penn state is a well coached team, and worked well through multiple phases. I think we did well in set pieces winning 11 of 12 of our own scrums, and winning 3 of 9 of their scrums. we won 7 of 9 of our own lineups and most times had them off balance in the lineout.”

Rutgers #8 Tasha Hodges and #10 Kelly Dronne we’re players of the game, while Penn State Women of the Match were Az Baldandian and Katie O’Hare.

Ken Pape added “We had a lot of positive take aways from the game and look forward to working on them this week and preparing for a a side coming off a big win against Ohio State.”

Penn State will have a busy weekend next week, as they host Ohio State in a Big Ten match Friday night September 30th and then play Life University on Saturday.  The following weekend then then travel to Rutgers and then play Army the next day.

Next Sunday, Rutgers will host Michigan and in two weeks they can measure their progress when Penn State travels to play Rutgers.

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Army West Point Men’s Rugby Blanks Buffalo for Second Weekend Win

September 25, 2016

Army West Point Men’s Rugby Blanks Buffalo for Second Weekend Win

Logos: University of Buffalo and Army West Point Black Knights

Doug Coil

After winning against St. Bonaventure (Recap) on Friday, Army West Point Men’s rugby team traveled to Buffalo, N.Y. and shut out the University of Buffalo 50-0 on Saturday.

With the win the Black Knights improve to 5-0 on the season and 4-0 in Rugby East action, while the Bulls fall to 0-2 overall and in conference play.

Army scored five first half tries against Buffalo. Two minutes into the match, Andy Sullivan went in for the first try and Harrison Farrell converted. Five minutes later, Andy Sullivan added another try to increase Army’s lead to 12-0. Army then added tries by Nathan Williams (15′), Connor Parker (30′) and Eli Brown, converted by Farrell (35′) for a 29-0 lead at halftime.

Army scored three second half tries, all converted by Harrison Farrell to win 50-0 against Buffalo. Jeff Malm-Annan (46′), Nathan Williams (50′) and Andy Sullivan (60′).

Senior Andy Sullivan had a hat trick on the day in his 15s season debut. Nathan Williams had a pair of tries. Will Miller, Andrew Finken, Rob Niscior and Eli Brown, all made their first career starts in 15s versus the Bulls. Eli Brown also added his first career try for the Black Knights.

Army Head coach Matt Sherman said “It was great to see a lot of players contribute to the two road victories this weekend. We put together two solid performances. We have much to be proud of, but we’re most excited about how much room for improvement we have in front of us.”

Next week the Black Knights travel to play Rugby East member, the University of Delaware, on Saturday, Oct. 1. at 3 p.m.

Mike Hodgins, Head Coach of Buffalo said “Lost 50 – 0 to Army yesterday, a rough day for the guys but it is always a great experience to go out and complete against the best. A true measuring stick of where we are and how to improve. Penn State next weekend at home come out and support the team.”

Army: 1. Jareth Long-Garrett 2. Jamison Geracci (Ben Vasta @ 45th) 3. Eli Brown (Nathan Brooks @ 58th) 4. Connor Parker 5. Will Miller 6. Andrew Finken 7. Bailey Abercrombie 8. Rob Niscior 9. Harrison Farrell (Jason Blackwood @ 66th) 10. Michael McTiernan 11. Tony Smith 12. Jeff Malm-Annan 13. Torran Raby (Jordan Jurosic @ 31st) 14. Nathan Williams 15. Andy Sullivan (James Mbony @ 62nd)

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AIC Rugby Wins Against Fairfield

September 25, 2016

AIC Rugby Wins Against Fairfield

Logos: Fairfield RFC and AIC Rugby

Doug Coil

On Saturday, American International College Men’s Rugby traveled to Fairfield, Connecticut and came away with a 52-13 win.

The Yellow Jackets had three first half tries by Jihad Khabir to lead 19-8 at halftime.

AIC Head Coach Rob Guiry said “Focus wasn’t there when we started. After a blowout last week we looked content to just out-run people. Silly mistakes and a failure to play the referee led to an uncharacteristic half.”

The Yellow Jackets came out more focused during the second half, as they scored 33 unanswered points. Khabir had two more times in the second half, the 42nd minute and 64th minute. Marquis Williams, Christian Adams and Malik Walker also added tries.

Nick Franklyn, who started his first match at scrumhalf said “Today’s game was hard fought, some things didn’t go as planned, but business was handled as usual. Senior Corey Momsen also added “We started off sloppy because we played almost too fast, but towards the end of the game we started to find our rhythm and stick to AIC rugby: aggressive”.

Next Saturday, October 1 the Yellow Jackets host the University of Connecticut at 1 p.m.

AIC Scoring: Tries: Jihad Khabir (4 13,29,42,64), Royaal Jones 36, Marquis Williams 55, Christian Adams 71, Malik Walker 75); Con: Michele Magistrali x6

Fairfield Scoring: #10 – penalty 19, #15 try 38, #8 try 80

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Virginia Tech Men’s Rugby Beats Mount St. Mary’s in Closing Seconds

September 25, 2016

Virginia Tech Men’s Rugby Beats Mount St. Mary’s in Closing Seconds

Logos: Virginia Tech and Mount St. Mary’s Men’s Rugby

Doug Coil

Virginia Tech Men’s Rugby  hosted Mount St. Mary’s Rugby in a Chesapeake Collegiate Rugby Conference match Saturday in Blacksburg, Virginia. After taking an early lead the Hokies needed to come back at death to win 22-20.

The Hokies scored on their first drive and to take an early 7-0 lead. Mount St. Mary’s then narrowed the lead to 7-3, when Tito Miranda slotted a penalty kick.

Virginia Tech added a try from a infraction by Mount for a 12-3 lead. Mount countered with a Brandon Johnson try, which was converted by Miranda, and the score was 12-10. Mount then had a defensive goal line stand. While that helped to stem the Hokie attack, , they did add a try soon after. At halftime the score was 17-10 in favor of Virginia Tech.

Early in the second half, Tito Miranda narrowed the score to 17-13 when he kicked a penalty over the crossbars. On the restart Travis Bewley found a gap and offloaded to Brandon Johnson for his second try under the posts. Miranda’s conversion was good and Mount had it’s first lead of the match, 20-17.

With no time on the clock, Virginia Tech found a way to run in the deciding try for a 22-20 win against Mount St. Mary’s.

With the win, Virginia Tech is 2-0 on the season and in league play. Mount St. Mary’s record falls to 2-2 with two narrow losses. Their league record stands at 2-1.

Next week, Virginia Tech will travel to the University of Maryland for a Saturday match. Mount St. Mary’s has a home match against the University of Mary Washington.

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Virginia Tech Men’s Rugby

Quinnipiac Women’s Rugby Beats Notre Dame College

September 25, 2015

Quinnipiac Women’s Rugby Beats Notre Dame College

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Photo: Quinnipiac Athletics

Quinnipiac Athletics Release:

Sep. 24, 2016 Women’s Rugby
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Senior fullback Maggie Myles (Emmitsburg, Md. – pictured) accounted for all 10 of the match’s first-half points with a pair of tries, and the defending national champion Quinnipiac women’s rugby team broke open a defensive struggle late in the second half to capture a 30-5 win over Notre Dame College on Saturday evening at Founders Field, increasing its winning streak to 10 matches.

With the win, Quinnipiac improves to 4-0 this season, after winning the final six matches in 2015, including the national championship match over Army West Point. Notre Dame College slips to 1-1 on the year with the loss after beating Norwich in its first contest.

The Falcons did earn a second half try to close the lead to 10-5 and snap Quinnipiac’s streak of 255 minutes without allowing its opponents into the try zone. The Bobcats have now outscored their opponents 153-8 since trailing Army West Point 19-17 at the half on opening day (Sept. 1) in a rematch of last year’s championship (before winning 32-19).

Myles had both tries in a defensive first half to give the Bobcats a 10-0 lead heading into the break. Both of her tries were assisted by freshman eight Mikah Maples (Mowequa, Ill.), with one coming early in the match and the second coming with 10 minutes left until the break.

Quinnipiac had to defend its goal line on several occasions in the first half to keep Notre Dame off the scoreboard and did so successfully, as props Carlyn Plowman (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Jessica Maricich (Lansing, Ill.) and Karee Helgerson (Portland, Ore.) helped anchor the defensive effort. The 10-0 halftime score stretched Quinnipiac’s streak to three full games (240 minutes) without allowing a try, since Army West Point scored late in the first half on opening day.

Notre Dame again got down near the Quinnipiac goal line early in the second half, but sophomore wing Emily Roskopf (Pleasanton, Calif.) came up with a key tackle to force the Falcons out of bounds and give possession back to the Bobcats. The tryless streak finally ended at 255 minutes for Quinnipiac when Notre Dame made it into the try zone with 26 minutes remaining to cut the lead to 10-5. The Bobcats had the answer six minutes later, though, as senior flanker Hailey Wyatt (Breckenridge, Colo.) scampered up the sideline off a pass from junior scrum half Mason Johnson (Olympia, Wash.) to restore the ten-point lead at 15-5.

With 10 minutes left, Quinnipiac salted the win away with two quick tries. Maricich found her way in over the line after Helgerson carried inside the 10 to push the lead to 20-5. Then, right off the ensuing kickoff, junior center Ilona Maher (Burlington, Vt.) caught the ball and offloaded it to junior center Flora Poole (Christchurch, New Zealand), who rambled over 50 meters for another try and a 25-5 lead.

Quinnipiac added one final score in the final minute, as Notre Dame turned the ball over in its own end with Maples securing the possession for the Bobcats. Helgerson then found her way into the try zone for the second week in a row to close out the game 30-5.

Quinnipiac will be able to take advantage of a bye week to rest up before returning to action on Saturday, Oct. 8 for a road match against Brown.

Central Washington Women’s Rugby Wins Home opener Against Army

September 25, 2016

Central Washington Women’s Rugby Wins Home opener Against Army

Logos: Central Washington University Wildcats and Army West Point Black Knights

Doug Coil

The Central Washington University women’s rugby team won their home opener in Ellensburg, Washington on Saturday (Sep 24) over Army 63-17 in a National Intercollegiate Rugby Association league match. It was the first meeting ever between these two elite women’s rugby teams.

Five different Wildcats scored tries for the Wildcats, including six from Suiluana A’au.

Mel Denham, CWU Head Coach said “Army have some very physical and talented players which was a challenge for us. We have been working on our defensive pressure and we’re able to contain Army’s attack.”

It took only 34 seconds for Central Washington to score, as Michel Navarro went right up the right wing for a try off the kickoff.

Suiluana A’au then scored her first try just a few minutes later as she found a gap in the defense and broke from near midfield down the left touchline for a 10-0 lead.

Mel Denham noted that “Sui’s linespeed was a factor. On attack we played at a high tempo which was our goal and were able to find space around the field and exploit it.  Michel was consistently dangerous with her work rate around the field, slicing through Army’s defense.  When Army did have the ball junior Taylor Duncan was a menace at the tackle, racking up multiple turnovers.”

A’au had another try in the sixth minute after Cassidy Meyers executed a grub kick and A’au picked and went in for a try and a 15-0 lead.

Ten minutes later the Wildcats were driving again, but a staunch Army defense held up the ball in goal for a 22 meter drop.

Army’s first scoring opportunity occurred in the 19th minute of the match, but their penalty kick bounced off the crossbar.

The Wildcats would score again in the 25th minute when Ashlee Byrge off loaded to Carrie Vaillancourt for a try.

Two minutes later Navarro found a gap, but Army’s fullback Kirsten Redmon made a try saving tackle. Jennifer Johnson gained possession and went in for a try. Byrge added the conversion for a 27-0 lead.

A’au gained a hat trick when she breached a tough Army defense for a try, also converted by Byrge to put the Wildcats up 34-0.

A minute later, Army took the restart and after a long run down the left wing by Tosha Wilson-Lattimore, she touched down for Army’s first points. The conversion was missed and the score was 34-5.

With no time in the first half, A’au intercepted an Army offload and went in for her fourth try. Byrge made her third conversion for a 41-5 lead at halftime.

During the second half, Yana Manoa and Jennifer Johnson each had tries and Suiluana A’au also added her 5th and 6th tries. (48, 55, 61 and 74th minute)

Army added its second try of the match in the 72nd minute. Sam Sullivan scampered up the left touchline and went in for a try. Bayleigh Gable then added the conversion. Gable also scored a try on the final play of the match. With that, Central Washington secured a 63-17 win over Army.

Central Washington played four previous matches before yesterday’s contest. They split matches between both the University of Victoria and the University of Lethbridge and are now 3-2 on the season and 1-0 in NIRA play. Next weekend they will make the trek across country to play Norwich University on Saturday October 1st and then against American International College on Oct. 2.

The Black Knights dropped to 2-2 on the season and in the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA). The Black Knights will travel to Notre Dame College for a Oct. 1st match at 11am.

Army: 1. Taylor Jessop (Hannah Whisnant) 2. Sarah Meier 3. Nicola Newton (Reilly Kissinger) 4. Tosha Wilson-Lattimore 5. Sydney Dossett (Sara Emsley) 6. Olivia Capasso 7. Elexa Leach (Sophia Schwanebeck) 8. Giovanna Ferguson-Lewis 9. Mackenzie Garner (Rebecca Jeffrey) 10. Megan Rogers 11. Zye Crittington (Sam Sullivan) 12. Bayleigh Gable 13. Jill Bottarini 14. Rebecca Stipp (Courtney Smith) 15. Kirsten Redmon (Savannah Murray)

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Worcester Valkyries Suffer Home Loss to Bristol Ladies

September 25, 2016

Worcester Valkyries Suffer Home Loss to Bristol Ladies

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Photo: Worcester Warriors

Worcester Warriors Release: Tom Branston, September 25, 2016

Worcester Valkyries endured a difficult evening as Bristol Ladies Rugby claimed a 62-10 bonus-point victory with a talented display at Sixways on Saturday.

Bristol proved too hot to handle as they ran in nine tries courtesy of braces for Marlie Packer and Lottie Holland along with scores for Izzy Noel-Smith, Clara Nielson, Jasmine Joyce, Chantelle Miell and Poppy Leitch.

Megan Goddard did cross for a second-half consolation while also kicking five points from the tee but the Valkyries’ occasion in front of a big crowd ended in defeat at Sixways.

Noel-Smith got Bristol off to a flying start as she finished off a neat move before Packer touched down from a driving maul with Amber Reed converting to give the visitors an early 12-0 lead.

Tilly Vaughan-Fowler soon added a penalty and when Ceri Large and Helena Bunce were sin-binned, Bristol took full advantage with Packer going over for her second as she was on the end of another piercing attack.

Reed converted before Goddard slotted a penalty for Valkyries but things went from bad to worse for the hosts as full-back Rachel Lund went off injured.

Holland then got Bristol’s fourth and bonus-point try as she went over in the corner and Reed added another two from the tee as the visitors went in 29-3 ahead at the interval.

Bristol picked up where they left off in the first-half as Holland bagged her second off the back of a driving maul after the break.

Nielson then scored from the result of a quick-tap penalty and Reed converted as Bristol built an unassailable 41-3 lead.

And Joyce soon went over in the corner before Miell added an eighth try with the impressive Reed converting both.

Bristol’s last score came courtesy of Leitch who spotted a gap to touch down and Reed again chipped over the extras to make it 62-3 after 60 minutes.

But Valkyries didn’t lie down and shut Bristol out in the final 20 minutes, and even had a try to show for their efforts when Goddard crossed the whitewash following a spell of pressure and she converted to give the home crowd something to cheer.

The Valkyries will be next in action at Saracens on Sunday 9 October (kick-off 5pm).

Timeline:
04m | Noel-Smith try 0-5
10m | Packer try 0-10
10m | Reed con 0-12
15m | Vaughan-Fowler pen 0-15
20m | Packer try 0-20
21m | Reed con 0-22
25m | Goddard pen 3-22
38m | Holland try 3-27
39m | Reed con 3-29
44m | Holland try 3-34
48m | Nielson try 3-39
48m | Reed con 3-41
54m | Joyce try 3-46
54m | Reed con 3-48
57m | Miell try 3-53
59m | Reed con 3-55
60m | Leitch try 3-60
60m | Reed con 3-62
70m | Goddard try 8-62
71m | Goddard con 10-62

Valkyries | 15 Rachel Lund, 14 Alexia Mavroudis, 13 Zoe Bennion, 12 Ceri Large (C), 11 Sam Bree, 10 Megan Goddard, 9 Bianca Blackburn; 1 Rochelle Clark, 2 Lark Davies, 3 Laura Keates, 4 Rosie Haigh, 5 Stacey Hiscox, 6 Rhiannon Donnahey, 7 Helena Bunce, 8 Courtney Gill

Replacements | 16 Steph Clarke, 17 Lizzie Banks, 18 Amy Wigley, 19 Sam Parker, 20 Josie Symonds

Army West Point Men’s Rugby Wins Against St. Bonaventure

September 24, 2016

Army West Point Men’s Rugby Wins Against St. Bonaventure

Logo: St. Bonaventure Rugby and Army West Point Black Knights

Doug Coil

Army West Point Men’s Rugby traveled to Olean, N.Y. to face St. Bonaventure for a Friday night Rugby East match. With their 67-12 win, they are now 4-0 on the season and 3-0 in the conference. They are also ranked 7th in the D1A Rugby rankings.

This is the first time that Army has had consecutive 60 point matches. Last week they won 64-0 against West Virginia.

Today, Saturday, they will face the University of Buffalo in another Rugby East conference match.

Scoring Recap

Jon Kim, who would account for 18 of Army’s points, slotted a penalty kick at the 10th minute giving the Black Knights a 3-0 lead. Two minutes later, Jake Lachina went over for the first try and Kim added the conversion for a 10-0 lead. Kim added a second penalty kick at 15 minutes to increase Army’s lead to 13-0.

Army then added three more tries prior to halftime. These were scored by Ryan Moshak and converted by Kim (20′), Chris L’Amoureaux (27′) and Ben Lemon, converted by Kim (34′) for a 32-0 lead.

With three minutes remaining until halftime, St. Bonaventure’s Stephvan Tanner broke through the defense and after a kick and chase, Ted Gorman touched down for a try that also was converted to narrow the score to 32-7. This score remained at halftime.

The first fifteen minutes of the second half saw good defensive play by both teams before Army added three more tries within a five minute span that were all converted by Kim. The tries were scored by Sean Berry (55′), Hayden Cross (58′), and Ben Vasta (60′).

St. Bonventure then added their second try of the match by Chaz Schwenk and it was 53-12.

Army would add another two tries by Jason Blackwood, who also added the conversion (70′) and another try by Ben Vasta, once again converted by Blackwood (79′) This resulted in a 67-12 win for Army.

Because Army is also playing Buffalo on back-to-back days, Army had five new debuts in the match against St. Bonaventure. Ben Vasta scored two tries in his collegiate rugby debut for Army, while Jason Blackwood added a try and two conversions. Andrew Finken, Eli Brown, and Nathan Brooks were the other new players to gain valuable match time for Army.

In post match comments, Army Head Coach said “Overall, this was a strong performance and we hit a lot of targets we set out to improve upon from the week before. With that said, our job in Western New York is half done, and we need to refocus our efforts and continue to improve against Buffalo.”

Army: Dan Dougherty 2. Ryan Moshak (Ben Vasta @ 56th) 3. Adam Szott (Eli Brown @ 53rd) 4. Chris L’Amoureux 5. Sean Berry (Nathan Brooks @ 65th) 6. Raaqim Rispress 7. Alec Smith 8. Ben Lemon (Andrew Finken @ 59th) 9. John Royston (Jason Blackwood @ 59th) 10. Jon Kim (Drew Zagula @ 62nd) 11. James Mbony 12. Luke Heun (Jordan Jurosic @ 64th) 13. Sam Sutera 14. Hayden Cross 15. Jake Lachina (Tony Smith @ 54th) Coach: Matt Sherman

St. Bonaventure: 1. Luis Carpio (c) 2. Kyle Ciquera 3. Jesus Robles 4. Alfonso De Falco 5. Greg Terry 6. Matt Williams 7. Patrick McCormack 8. North Westall 9. Christian Artuso 10. Eamonn Matthews  11. Ryan McGovern 12. Stephvan Tanner 13. Jaret Williamson 14. Chaz Schwenk 15. Matthew Bergstol 16. Casey Mascaro 17. Greg Delaney 18. Joe Vazquez 19. Yohendy Martinez 20. John LaDuca 21. Ted Gorman 22. Jinesh Shaji 23. Tommy Anderson Coach: Tui Osborne

Dubai Rugby Sevens, First Stop on HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series

September 23, 2016

Dubai Rugby Sevens, First Stop on HSBC World Rugby Sevens SerieswVdNb0Xq_400x400.jpg

Logo: Emirates Dubai Rugby 7s

Doug Coil

The 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series first stop is being held in Dubai on December 2-3, 2016.

Fiji claimed last year’s title, as well as finished with the Gold Medal at the Olympics. This year is a different year and the talented Fijian team will have a new coach that as yet to be in place. Ben Ryan will be missed and where he surfaces will foster that program’s growth.

Last year’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series had 715,000 fans in attendance, 6,000 hours of broadcast coverage to more than 100 territories, and social media engaged its audience with 61 million video views. Viewing World Rugby Sevens is indeed, a demand sport.

This year promises to be the best yet and the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for look to make the entire fan experience even better.

The 2016-17 series will have ten stops on the circuit with Dubai kicking off the series on December 2-3, and concluding in London on May 20-21, 2017. The 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series schedule is as follows:

Dubai – 2-3 December
Cape Town – 10-11 December
Wellington – 28-29 January
Sydney – 4-5 February
Las Vegas – 3-5 March
Vancouver – 11-12 March
Hong Kong – 7-9 April
Singapore – 15-16 April
Paris – 13-14May
London – 20-21May

World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “As we look ahead to a game-changing Olympic Games in 72 days, we can reflect on what will be remembered as the biggest and best HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series to date. The compelling and highly-competitive action has captured the imagination of fans around the world in record numbers in stadia, on broadcast and in conversation. I would like to thank all the teams and fans from around the world for playing their full role as we build towards the first series following rugby sevens’ Olympic Games debut.”

Incoming World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby sevens is going from strength to strength and is set to be a hit at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where inclusion on sport’s biggest stage will project our sport and its sevens stars to new audiences.
At the heart of the success story is the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. It’s record-breaking blend of compelling, competitive action, global iconic destinations and festival atmosphere continues to prove a hit with fans, broadcasters, host cities and broadcasters alike.

HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship and Events Giles Morgan added: “In a pivotal year for rugby sevens, HSBC as a long-standing and proud partner of the game, has been working closely with World Rugby to capitalise on the opportunity. The Olympic opportunity has already energised the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and sell-out crowds in Dubai, Cape Town, Sydney, Vancouver and Hong Kong are evidence of this. If we can continue to connect rugby sevens to new players, new countries and new audiences, it will be the spark that continues to ignite ground-breaking growth for the game.”

The Dubai Sevens, actually will have both a women’s and men’s tournament. The women’s 12 team tournament will be on December 1-2, 2016, while the men play a 16 team series opener on December 2-3. The men’s draw was just announced and is listed below, while the women’s draw will be announced at a later date.

 

Dubai Rugby Sevens Men’s Pools

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Pool A: Fiji, Argentina, Canada, Wales

Fiji had a double this past year in winning the Olympic gold medal and also were the 2015-16 series champions. Fiji will also look to defend their Dubai title in Pool A this year. They enter the competition with a new head coach after Ben Ryan’s has left the team after Rio, but they are a very strong team and will continue to be favorites to to win again after back to back wins in this series. .

Last year, Argentina finished fifth in the 2015-16 series and head coach Santiago Gomez Cora will be hoping to build on their strong series finish. Wales and Canada, won Shield win and Bowl semi-final respectively at last year’s Dubai Sevens and hope to improve on that performance.

Pool B: South Africa, USA, Scotland, 16th team

Anytime South Africa take the pitch, they are a formidable opponent. They won the Bronze Medal at the Olympics, were series runners-up in 2015-16 and and finished as Plate winners in Dubai last year. South Africa will look to contend for the title at the Dubai Sevens, but that is also the goal of the teams entered.

The USA is one of those teams that is not satisfied unless they are contending to win and will look to improve on their third place finish in Dubai last December. While it was thrilling to beat New Zealand with a last second drop goal, that was in the past. While several of their players will be playing rugby 15s, one professional football, or trying to complete their university education, most teams will experience some post-Olympics roster changes. Expect Mike Friday to have his team prepared, motivated and ready to excel at Dubai.

Scotland won their first ever tournament at the London Sevens in May when they beat South Africa, and should also be a force to contend with in Dubai.

An invitational 16th team will be added at a later date.

Pool C: New Zealand, England, Samoa, Russia

The biggest change for New Zealand will be the absence of long time coach Gordon Tietjens. He gave so much to the sport and he is a coaching legend. New Zealand will come to the tournament with the motivation that winning right away is expected. Will that create undue pressure, I don’t know. As part a national rugby culture, players represent those who have played for their country before and those that will follow.

England won the Silver Medal at the Olympics.Team GB was assembled after the end of the 2015-16 series and yet they clicked on all cylinders at Rio.

Samoa won the Paris Sevens in May. They are a team that can give any team fits and contend for a title, but they need more consistency in their performance. Will this be their year?

Russia also will be looking to demonstrate that they belong in the series and hope to make a statement in this initial series.

Pool D: Australia, Kenya, France, Japan

Australia appeared in last year’s Plate final in Dubai losing to South Africa. That is not where they would like to be this year. Kenya won in Singapore and their physical play should make them a formidable opponent. France may have finished in eleventh place in the series last year, but they still had two third place finishes in Cape Town and Paris. Look for these three teams to be very motivated this year. Japan, replaced Portugal as a core team for the 2016-17 series. They surprised many by just missing the podium at the Olympics and should be an exciting team on this year’s circuit.

Dubai Sevens ticketing information:

  • Thursday – FREE ADMISSION
  • Friday, 2 December – in advance AED300, on the day AED400
  • Saturday, 3 December – in advance AED300, on the day AED400
  • Season tickets (Friday and Saturday) – in advance AED500, on the day AED600
  • Children under 12 admitted free
  • Special reserved seating and hospitality packages are available,  visit: www.dubairugby7s.com
  • Tickets are available with Skywards Miles – www.emirates.com/skywards

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