Rugbytown 7s Tournament Begins this Weekend
Infinity Park at Glendale Release: August 22, 2017
Glendale’s own RugbyTown 7s Tournament returns in 2017 bigger and better than ever. Boasting fast‐paced, high‐caliber rugby that promises to impress, the weekend‐long tournament in August features a premier talent pool consisting of twenty top domestic and international teams including Gold Medalists from Team Fiji. Completing the festival atmosphere, don’t miss Glendale’s Beerfest on Saturday at Infinity Park.
“Sevens” is a variation of tradition rugby, which features 15-person teams. Matches are played with seven players per side. With two seven-minute halves, the matches are extremely fast paced and emphasize speed and precision. An added bonus this year, the RugbyTown 7s Tournament welcomes Olympic rugby 7s gold medal winners from Fiji to the teams competing. Fans attending the tournament will see non-stop action over three days from the fastest growing sport in the US.
The twenty teams competing this year is the tournament’s highest caliber yet. All five branches of the U.S. armed forces will be represented. Teams from Fiji, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Cayman Islands will join teams from across the U.S.
Teams participating include:
Designed to unlock the potential and creativity of all rugby players, Atavus provides structured high performance training for individuals and groups. While based in Seattle, Washington, all players are currently a part of the Atavus Academy or have been selected through USA Rugby Mens Resident Camps around the nation. Formerly the Serevi Selects, this team finished in second place in both the 2015 and 2012 RugbyTown 7s while taking home the Plate in 2013.
You can’t miss the British Army team, whose uniforms are the same shade of bright scarlet made famous by the British Army’s trademark coats of the same color. The British Army rugby team trains out of Fort Blockhouse in Gosport, Hampshire, and recently won the Bowl at the Rosslyn Park London Floodlit 7s and lost narrowly in the final of the Bournemouth 7s Festival. Fun fact: The core of the first teams fielded by the Army were largely made up by Fijian rugby players who had been recruited into the British Army to help stem the shortfall of British recruits in the 1990s.
Canada Maple Leafs
The Canada Maple Leafs are the development team for Rugby Canada and should showcase some young and upcoming national team talent from our neighbors in the north.
Cayman Rugby has a long tradition. Its founding, in 1970, took place, appropriately, over a few beers on a beach. At the Cayman Islands’ last appearance in RugbyTown 7s they finished as Shield Champions in 2013.
The Denver Rugby 7s Selects are a regional Elite Select team focused on finding and developing players from the Western U.S., and includes players from the U.S. Olympic team. In 2017, the Denver 7s Selects placed 1st in the Rio Grande Celtic 7s, 3rd in the Las Vegas Invitational Elite 7s. They enter the RugbyTown 7s as back-to-back defending champions, winning the tournament in 2015 and 2016, and coming second in 2014.
Fiji/SAVU Water are a newly minted Fijian team comprised of some of the world’s best rugby players. A bulk of the Select’s lineup are gold-medal winners from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
This will be the first year that Glendale’s team plays under the Merlins moniker instead of the Raptors. The Merlin, a bird of prey known for its in-flight speed and agility, will become the mascot for all Glendale teams, except for the men’s elite team, which will continue to compete under the Raptors name in Major League Rugby in 2018.
Negro y Azul
Based out of Austin, Texas, Negro y Azul is a returning participant to RugbyTown 7s. Their team name, which means “black and blue” in Spanish, fits well with the Bruises & Brews festival that takes place during the tournament. The team name references two Austin-area rugby teams, the Blacks and the Huns, from which this all-star team draws many of its players.
The Ramblin’ Jesters are in invitational 7s team from the UK. Sporting the most colorful uniforms of the tournament field, the Jesters will surely stand out. In addition being visually striking, the Jesters’ on-field play will turn heads. They pride themselves on bringing “flair, speed and their own unique style to the game.” They have found success, winning both the Copenhagen 7s and the London Floodlit 7s last year.
Royal Air Force Spitfires
One of two British armed forces teams playing in the tournament, the Spitfires are named after the famous fighter plane that British airmen flew throughout World War II. They have competed and found success in tournaments around the world, including winning the shield trophy in the 2016 RugbyTown 7s tournament.
Utah is becoming one of the nation’s rugby hotspots, fielding more than 60 teams and developing players who go on to play at higher levels, including the US Olympic team. Rugby Utah draws players from across the intermountain region and were the RugbyTown 7s Bowl trophy winners as well as the 2016 USA Rugby Club 7s National Champions..
One of the oldest unions in the country, SoCal Griffins Rugby Football Union was founded in the 1930s by horror movie star Boris Karloff. Always providing a thriller, you will be star struck by this representative side from Southern California, as they come with great talent, flair and experience.
1823 Tiger Rugby
Tiger Rugby has grown from a local touring side, to an internationally respected rugby brand with teams traveling across the globe looking for new places to compete. Over the last decade alone they have competed internationally in several tournaments and are excited to return to Glendale again in 2017. After showing well in 2016 and taking home third-place in 2013 during the earlier years of the tournament, they are a force to contend with.
Upright Rugby Rogues
The Upright Rugby Rogues call Ontario, Canada, home. The Upright Rogues provides comprehensive year-round playing and player development programs that compete at high-levels internationally. Returning for the third time, the Upright Rogues look to improve upon their 2015 third-place finish at RugbyTown 7s.
USA Collegiate All-Americans
The USA Collegiate All Americans pull together some of the best college age talent in the nation for high-performance rugby training and competition. Over the years this outfit has helped to development many of the current USA Men’s 7s National Team members. At RugbyTown 7s, this team has had a lot of success, taking home the championship in 2013 while finishing as Bowl Champions in 2014 and Plate Champions in 2012.
United States Air Force
The Airmen represent the Air Force from all over the world, including those stationed in Japan, Korea, Europe, and all over the U.S. They earned a second-place finish in the Armed Forces Championships last year and pride themselves on aggressive, go-forward play and are focused on team play. Their blue and black kit represent the colors of the AF, and their logo represents Sevens and the concept of flight. In addition to the 7s team, the Air Force rugby family includes a 15s team and a women’s team, the first women’s rugby team in the U.S. armed forces.
United States Army
The Army returns to Infinity Park as four-time defending champions of the Armed Forces Championship. Last year, the Army defeated Air Force 55-5. “The formula started [six]years ago,” Army Head Coach Col. Mark Drown said last year in an interview with Armed Forces Sports. “For us to be successful, we needed to find a network of young players, some veteran players and establishing a work ethic and code of conduct among our rugby community.”
United States Coast Guard
The Armed Forces Rugby Championship is the only Armed Forces competition where all Five Service branches are represented individually, with the Coast Guard competing as their own squad since 1983. Normally, Coast Guard athletes compete with the Navy throughout the year. Over the past three years, the Coast Guard Rugby team has sent four players to the All Armed Services select side. The team focuses on executing rugby fundamentals consistently due to the limited time they get to compete together as a team each year. The current team is comprised of pay grades E-3 to O-4 so the range in military experience is vastly different. The Coast Guard has members from every community within the Coast Guard servicing all 11 mission sets.
United States Marines
The US Marines were the last non-Army team to win the US Armed Forces Championship, in 2012. The U.S. Marine Corps is one of seven uniformed services of the United States. It operates posts on land and as well as aboard sea going Amphibious Assault Ships. Created in 1775, the Marine Corps has been a component of the U.S. Department of the Navy since 1834, working closely with naval forces for training, transportation, and logistics. The US Marines Men’s 7s team is comprised of active duty and reserve Marines servicemen.
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It was estimated to be larger than the next 13 largest navies combined in terms of battle fleet tonnage in 2009. It operates 289 ships in active service and more than 3,700 aircraft. The US Navy Men’s 7s team is comprised of active duty and reserve Navy servicemen.
Coinciding with the RugbyTown 7s Tournament is Glendale’s Bruises & Brews Beerfest. Held on Saturday from 12-4 p.m. just outside Infinity Park, Bruises & Brews Beerfest features twenty breweries plus craft distilleries and cideries. Admission to the Bruises & Brews Beerfest includes a ticket to the rugby tournament and a commemorative beer tasting mug.
Infinity Park was designed to be easily accessible and family friendly. Tournament weekend is no different. Tickets are affordable: General admission costs $10 on Friday, $15 on Saturday and Sunday. Children younger than 13 have $5 admission all weekend. Parking is free and only a short walk from the stadium. The stadium’s open seating lets guests choose exactly the experience they want, whether that’s a shady spot by the try zone or a sunny, front-row seat. The amphitheater-like seating is perfect for large groups.
The RugbyTown7s Tournament puts more than the players on the field under the spotlight. The weekend not only benefits rugby fans, it also is one of the best weekends of the year for area hotels and restaurants. As teams from around the world converge on Infinity Park for the weekend, all eyes will be on Glendale.