NAV 7s Release
The NAV 7s program is starting it’s 3rd season after a canceled 2020 summer and finishing 11th in the country in 2019. The program has a non-exclusive partnership with High Performance Management Group to provide opportunities for rugby players to gain exposure and create pathways from amateur to professional players in order to reach their potential. This year’s team is still being finalized, but Matt Hughston will Captain this year’s program along with returning captain Maxim Bennett. They will compete in the nation’s toughest conference, the Mid-Atlantic, and looks forward to competing for another national championship, but most importantly giving players a great experience along the way.
The team is returning Matt Basnett, who won a national title with the Bulldogs in 2018, Rob John, who arguably had the try of the tournament with his last second game winning try against Utah in 2019 nationals, Walter Woo, and Blake Jackson. Along with 5 returning players, the program is adding 15 to 19 others after having 32 players attend the opening assembly on May 23rd.
The team will have significant depth by adding players who have recently been on MLR contracts and looking to get on MLR contracts such as Alex Macdonald, Ayemere Oiyemhonlanand of course Captain Matt Hughston, arguably one of the top flankers in the country. The program will bring together MLR players, college and club players representing at least 7 different programs and their hopes and dreams. The program is looking at adding a couple of other key players to round up the player pool. “I’m excite to work with this new group of players, many of whom I’ve worked with in the past, and help them grow into their full potential and come together as a team this summer,” said head coach Justin-Kyle Anderson.
The program is going to run a strong summer schedule in order to prepare the players for excellence after many have experienced a long layoff due to the pandemic. The team won it’s first round robin event at Charlotte by a combined score of 165-17 over Charlotte, Southern Pines and Asheville. The program is preparing for a very strong set of teams at Fear 7s, before jumping into a tough Mid-Atlantic schedule.
June 5th – Charlotte Rugby Club – round-robin
June 26th and 27th – Fear 7s – Wilmington, NC
7/10 TBD – qualifier
7/17 East Coast 7s – Downingtown, PA – qualifier
7/24 Rites of Summer – Columbia, MD – qualifier
July 31st / August 1st – Final Assembly – Southern Pines
August 14th-15th – Nationals
“We have the guys set up with daily S&C and nutrition plans, we are ready to support them with an expanded staff this summer so that they can achieve their full potential,” says director of rugby Robert Bortins. The NAV 7s team is sure to be prepared for the hot summer road ahead and the challenges that await.