August 26, 2016
Stars Rugby 7s Serevi Rugbytown 7s Squad
Stars Rugby 7s Release: Liz Entwhistle, August 26, 2016
Stars Rugby 7s has returned to Glendale, Colorado for the prestigious Serevi Rugbytown 7s tournament featuring teams from the USA, Canada, Great Britain, and Caribbean. Last year’s debut campaign saw the Stars defeat the Bermuda National Team in pool play before falling to Upright Rugby and the Glendale Raptors. The Bowl Quarterfinals seeded the Stars against the Mexico National Team where the team came from behind, playing short-handed 6 vs 7 rugby for much of the 2nd half, to win on a Jojo Tikoisuva try at the death. The victory earned the young squad a Bowl Semifinal matchup against the USA Rugby Collegiate All Americans and it was the All Americans that advanced to the Bowl Final.
To prepare for this year’s event Stars competed in additional 7s tournaments – adding New York 7s, Vancouver 7s and Cape Fear 7s to the normal schedule of Tobago 7s, the Las Vegas Invitational and Stampede 7s – the team placed in the Plate or Cup finals of each tournament save for an injury-laden Tobago 7s tournament. The team notably added rugby 15s to the touring calendar with matches against Life University’s Elite Training Group and the Capital GU Selects – these fixtures expanded the Stars player and coaching pools alike.
This year’s Serevi Rugbytown 7s promises to be a thrilling event where the Stars are grouped in Pool D alongside Ramblin Jesters (GB), Upright Rugby Rogues (Canada), Negro & Azul (USA), and Tiger Rugby (USA). A week of preparation saw players arrive on Sunday to better acclimate to altitude and focus on both physical and mental preparations. Monday’s activities included a stadium tour of Infinity Park, a gym session at the High Altitude Training Center followed by use of the hot/cold tubs in the Recovery Room, and a trip to Pike’s Peak to summit the mountain and train at 12,000 feet. Tuesday welcomed a 2-a-day field session to institute playing patterns and work on position specifics to solidify the lineups for Wednesday’s annual Tackle and Tunes scrimmages with Air Force, Coast Guard and Black Dragon. USA provided a full complement of emerging referees to cover the matches and aid in development.
Two 21-0 wins over a strong Air Force side left the Stars confident in defensive capabilities and in the speed & ball skills of tour veterans Marcus Satavu and Ryan Guercio (two tries each), the 100% accuracy in the kicking of Keagan Barnes and Garrett Jones, and in the pace of rookie Ricky Layton who impressed on the wing. A challenging match for the Stars reserves against Coast Guard left the team with some focal areas when it comes to the contact point which were addressed Wednesday night at a chalk talk and walkthrough. Another gym session, recovery room visit, final training and team meeting solidified the Stars for their pool play matches Friday against the Ramblin’ Jesters at 2:17pm MDT and Upright Rugby at 7:37pm.
Stars Rugby 7s Roster:
Keagan Barnes – scrumhalf/wing – Utah Lions Rugby Academy, Salt Lake City, USA
*Ryan Guercio – prop/hooker – Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, USA
*Raphael Henriquez – wing – Sacramento Lions, Sacramento, USA
*Lee Hoskins – prop – Bulldog/Metropolis, New Haven/Minneapolis, USA
*Garrett Jones – scrumhalf/flyhalf/center – OMBAC, San Diego, USA
Ricky Layton – wing – Youngbloodz, Minneapolis, USA
*Even Pierson – wing – Kansas City Blues, Kansas City, USA
*Cal Randleman – hooker/center – Life West, Hayward, USA
*Marcus Satavu – flyhalf/scrumhalf/hooker – Bulldog, New Haven, USA
*Zack Schell – prop – Pittsburgh Harlequins, Pittsburgh, USA
*John Sullivan – prop – St Bonaventure University, Buffalo, USA
*Bradley Yandle – prop/hooker/center – Austin Blacks, Austin, USA
Hampton Pelton – hooker/wing – Tallahassee Conquistadors, Tallahassee, USA
Spence Purnell – center/wing – Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA
*Johnny Taele-Unutoa – prop – OMBAC, San Diego, USA
*COACH: Nic Benson, San Diego, USA
*DIRECTOR: Liz Entwhistle, Chicago, USA
*indicates veteran of previous Stars tours
About Stars Rugby 7s:
Stars Rugby 7s was founded in November 2013 with the mission of developing rugby 7s players in elite tournament settings. Teams compete in multiple high performance assemblies and international tournaments each year with a deep talent pool combining internationally capped 7s and 15s players, elite prospects, athletically gifted players new to the game of 7s, and crossover athletes. There is a major focus on recruiting players that lack regular exposure to high level coaching /playing opportunities due to geographic restraints and the lack of resources which varies greatly throughout the United States. While mostly US based, the Stars rosters include players from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK and welcomes any players committed to the team and rugby camaraderie. Tours have included the Las Vegas Invitational, Calgary Stampede 7s, Australia Central Coast 7s, Tobago 7s, Serevi Rugbytown 7s, and Atlanta 7s, Cape Fear 7s, and select 15s tours with numerous championship appearances and titles won.