July 25, 2016
Glendale Raptors Win Pioneer 7s; Kansas City Blues Qualify for Nationals
Photo: Rugby Utah
Rugby Utah Release: Kimball Kjar
Salt Lake City, UT—The Pioneer 7s Rugby Tournament finished with two champions as the Glendale Raptors took home the Qualifier Division while Humless 7s notched another Open Division title.
Also notching a victory on the day were the Kansas City Blues who claimed a berth to the USA Rugby Club 7s National Championships.
A full two-days of rugby 7s saw 20 teams compete in their respective divisions while over 100 kids attended a youth clinic on Friday to open the weekend’s events.
The Qualifier Division saw four of the top men’s teams in the Frontier Region face off in the final qualifier of the season before the USA Rugby Club National Championships August 13-15.
Having won the first two Qualifiers, the Denver 7s and the Heartland 7s, Rugby Utah’s state-based elite representative 7s team, the National Development Academy (NDA), supported by GoPlay Sports Tours, was playing to defend its home turf and build towards nationals.
Colorado neighbor Glendale Raptors had different plans however, beating Kansas City in the final by the score of 34-0.
In a competitive pool of qualifier bracket matches Rugby Utah, Glendale and Kansas City all went 1-2 on the day, with the Denver Barbarians going undefeated.
After pool play the Barbarians would face Glendale in the semifinal only to be upset 26-19. The other semifinal saw Rugby Utah face the Blues with the victory going the way of Kansas City in sudden-death overtime despite Rugby Utah coming from behind late in the match to tie and force the overtime.
“Our guys just couldn’t close today,” said Rugby Utah NDA coach Ben Nicholls, “We learned some hard lessons at home. But better to learn them now and here than at Nationals. Hopefully we’re better for it in the long run.”
Meanwhile, with Glendale upsetting Denver the Raptors cruised to a 34-0 victory over the Blues in the championship.
“I’m very proud of the team,” said former South African Springbok and current Glendale Raptors head coach Andre Snyman, “We had a few new players for the first time out and didn’t know how they’d fit in but they really stood up to the challenge and played well. The way the team played in both playoff games was the best I’ve seen them play this season. And it’s great to see that all of the hard work at training is finally coming together.”
With Rugby Utah’s ticket to nationals already booked the Frontier Region series tie between the Denver Barbarians and the Kansas City Blues was broken with the Blues finishing 2nd at the Pioneer 7s ahead of Denver. As such Kansas City Blues will represent the Frontier Region as the region’s 2nd seed behind Rugby Utah in USA Rugby’s Club 7s Nationals.
In the Pioneer 7s Tournament Open Division, some of Utah’s local clubs featured against national squads traveling from as far as Hawaii.
After pool play and playoff matches, Humless 7s came from behind in the final seconds of the match to beat the Hawaii Lions 24-21 to defend their 2015 Pioneer 7s title.
The Utah Brothers also beat the EPA Razorbacks in the 3rd/4th place match to take home a well-deserved consolation title.
Rugby Utah’s NDA will now turn its attention to the USA Rugby Club 7s National Championships held at Dick’s Sporting Good Park in Denver, CO on August 13-15.
The NDA will finish the summer 7s season at the prestigious RugbyTown 7s held in Glendale, CO August 26-28.
For more details on the Rugby Utah NDA please visit www.RugbyUtah.com or follow on Facebook and Twitter.
Pioneer 7s Tournament Qualifier Results
Rugby Utah 19 Kansas City 7
Denver 26 Glendale 14
Glendale 21 Rugby Utah 17
Denver 17 Kansas City 12
Denver 19 Rugby Utah 12
Glendale 26 Denver 21
Kansas City 24 Rugby Utah 19
Denver 38 Rugby Utah 19
Glendale 34 Kansas City 0
OPEN DIVISION FINAL RESULTS
About Rugby Utah
Rugby Utah (RU) is the official Recognized Geographic Rugby Organization for USA Rugby and is focused on aggregating the strengths of rugby in the state of Utah, from the youth to the elite levels. The goal of RU is to unify rugby within the state through High Performance programs like the Olympic Development Academy and Community programs like the Rugby Business Network, Touch Rugby League and A 2nd Try Foundation. With these programs already producing positive results on and off the pitch the “United State of Rugby” looks to develop the most elite rugby players, coaches and referees and to develop the economic engines necessary to build and strengthen America’s rugby culture. For more information, visit www.rugbyutah.com #UnitedStateofRugby
About GoPlay Sports Tours / ACIS
Since 1978 ACIS, the American Council for International Studies, has been a leader in quality travel for middle and high school students and their teachers. We believe in the power of travel to open students’ eyes and change their lives—and every detail of our tours is carefully crafted to help make it happen.
This is replicated through our sports division, where we believe coaches, players and parents alike want the best possible experience, on an exceptional program. We are also committed to being partners with the coaches who take our trips, and work hard to help them select and customize trips that fulfill their team’s objectives. While we offer a range of trip types to fit different budgets and goals, every trip features, training at great facilities, games against the best opposition, tickets to see the best teams in the world, authentic meals, and centrally-located hotels. We believe this brings our teams closer to the people, places and culture. We’re also known for the quality of our tour managers: smart, well-traveled individuals hired for their knowledge, enthusiasm and ability to bring sports and culture to life. Visit www.acis.com/goplay.