BOULDER, Colo. -- What USA Rugby is touting as "the first ever Men’s Collegiate All-American Sevens team" will assemble this August and plans to compete in the National All-Star Sevens Championships.
This is, of course, not the first ever collegiate All Americans 7s team. An All American squad played in the 7s NASC in 2007 and played as early as 1998. However, often these teams were called, officially, a Collegiate All-Star team. They wore the All Americans or USA jerseys, and were All Americans to everyone who watched them.
The official designation of the CAA7s mirrors the creation of the High School All-American Sevens this February and makes formal a sevens pathway from high school to college to Team USA. Sevens will feature in the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games so these athletes will be well versed in the seven-a-side game when that time comes.
USA Rugby All-American Program Director, Matt Sherman acknowledges the importance of giving elite student-athletes an opportunity to compete in high level sevens competitions.
“It’s imperative that we create a competitive environment to develop international sevens players. The Olympic movement as well as the rapid growth of collegiate sevens rugby have created a need for an All-American Sevens program,” said Sherman.
The All-American Sevens team will be led by current All-American fifteens coach, Alex Magleby, who also acknowledges the need for an elite squad as well.
"In order to pump better prepared, more highly-skilled athletes into our national sevens team, we need to have a competitive test environment for would-be international sevens players as we do for fifteens,” said Magleby.
Magleby himself was a mainstay of the USA Men’s Sevens team, is a former USA captain and former national team assistant coach.
Sherman recognizes that Magleby has done great things with the All-Americans, and is looking forward to him taking the helm of the CAA7s.
“Under [Magleby’s] guidance, many players have developed into full internationals, evidenced by our current national sevens and fifteens teams being made up of consistently heavy contingents of current and former All-Americans. We look forward to Alex’s final assembly with the fifteens team, and even more so to him taking over the sevens program,” said Sherman.
Magleby’s experience and expertise with sevens will be an asset to the Men’s All-Americans program, developing skills that sometimes suffer from neglect in the fifteen-a-side game.
"Whether it’s sevens developing for fifteens, or vice-versa, there is plenty of skill complementation: defensive line speed control, footwork through the tackle; evasive running skill and ball management; leg-drive, upper-body combat and efficiency in the tackle contest, to name a few. An athlete has to do these skills well, at velocity and under pressure, either way."
The CAA7s are slated to compete in the National All-Star Sevens Championships at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. and possibly in the North American Caribbean Rugby Association 7s this fall.
Magleby will coach the Men’s Collegiate All-Americans fifteens team through the summer and the three-match series with a New Zealand Universities in July. He will then take the reins of the sevens team in August.
The application process for the Men’s Collegiate All-Americans fifteens team will begin in the fall of 2011.