Youngbloodz, a mostly-collegiate conglomerate out of Minneapolis, will make its debut at the Club 7s National Championships Saturday.
The five-year-old club, which finished second in the Midwest to the Chicago Lions, is the creation of Samoan coach Sam Robinson.
“Its good for the kids, and that’s the reason why I did it,” he told RUGBYMag.com about forging Youngbloodz. “It took me five years to put it together to make it to Nationals, and it’s great for the kids.”
When Robinson says kids, he’s not kidding. The elder statesmen on the Youngbloodz roster are 26, and Robinson estimates the rest of the lineup is 22 or younger.
One of those youngsters, who is a difference maker on the pitch, is Nate Augsperger, the diminutive scrumhalf from the University of Minnesota.
“He’s such a little, little guy,” said Robinson of Augspurger. “He’s very small, he’s very tricky, he’s got a good step, he’s got good passing both sides, and that makes him a very creative player. That makes him a playmaker. He’s probably 5’4” or something, but what he does is what a 6’4” player would do.”
Another standout is Garrett Bender, a scholarship football player at St. Cloud State. Like most everyone who’s begun with Youngbloodz since the team’s inception, Bender had never played 7s before joining the club, but Robinson has molded the sizeable athlete, whom he coached in high school, into a game breaker.
“(This summer) was his first year playing 7s, and he’s one of my go-to guys,” said Robinson. “He plays prop. He’s probably a 6’2” - 6’3” guy, 230 pounds. He’s a good athlete. He’s an attacker. He’s got good tackling. He’s quick.”
Though Augsperger and Bender stand out in the powder blue kit of the Youngbloodz, Robinson says it’s the selflessness of the team that’s their biggest strength.
“We play as a team. We respect each other, is what I started off with, and that was my main focus -- just putting together this group of guys and tell them every training, every game just respect each other. We don’t have any stars…We just play as a team and we respect each other.”
Youngbloodz is joined in Pool D by OMBAC, Schuylkill River and the Denver Barbarians.