It’s a huge weekend in 7s July 9, as the July 4th weekend is put behind us and teams eye a a five-weekend drive to the national club finals.
Four of the five territories that have a qualifier system will hold qualifiers this weekend. It’s actually five tournaments, as the Midwest holds two qualifiers on the same weekend.
In the Northeast, it’s the Old Blue 7s, the second in the Northeast RFU series. Boston and Old Blue headline a field that also includes Long Island, Morris and the Village Lions.
Like many tournaments, the Old Blue 7s has found willing participants in the U19 bracket, a bracket that was a tough sell only a few years ago.
In Mid-Atlantic, Rocky Gorge has, so far, the Maryland Exiles, Pittsburgh Harlequins, Wilmington, Kutztown, Schuylkill River, Norfolk and PAC. Schuylkill currently leads the MARFU standings, while PAC is yet to play in a points-earning tournament.
Kutztown looks to make a splash this weekend as they build on their tournament win in Wilmington.
In the Midwest, the Rock n Roll 7s is in Cleveland, and 1823 headlines the event. The Columbus-based team is well in front in the Midwest standings thanks to them having performed well, and to having entered more tournaments than anyone else. They are favored in Cleveland this weekend.
One reason for 1823 being favored is that several of the other contenders will descend on Milwaukee for the huge Lakefront 7s. YoungBloodz, Milwaukee, Chicago Lions and Chicago Griffins all want to make a statement here, as all have either 7 or 6 points in the standings (1823 leads with 16).
Further West it’s put-up time in Kansas City. The West RFU series awards points in three tournaments, and that decides the seeds to nationals – no final territorial tournament. As a result, teams that start poorly, or don’t enter the early tournaments, had better do something special this time around.
Key among these is Aspen, which is expected to field a strong team, but hasn’t cracked the points yet. The Kansas City Blues, 4th with 1 point, could vault themselves into seed contention with a good showing in their home tournament. Many believe Glendale is the top team in the West, but they won’t be in KC to defend that trophy, as the Raptors will instead …
Be in Southern California. The Southern California qualifiers happen July 16 and 23. So this weekend is the time for teams to get all their ducks in a row. Belmont Shore, perennial SoCal 7s bridesmaids Santa Monica, OMBAC, and some out-of-region teams will battle at the Sunsplash 7s. Among them, the Glendale Raptors and, reportedly, the Utah Warriors.
And further north in Bellingham, Wash., the Chuckanut Rugby Club hosts the Can-Am 7s, with Old Puget Sound Beach hoping to wrest the title away from the Canadian teams that have done so well in recent years.