The 38th edition of the Cape Fear Sevens Tournament held in Wilmington, NC will be held this year on July 6-7.
The tournament features 6 divisions for various skill levels and for both men and women. There will be top international competition in premier divisions, as well as social and club divisions.
Five high-quality sides will compete in the Men’s Premier Division, and Jeff Reuther with the New Orleans Royale believes that any team could come out on top. The Royale have established themselves as a team to watch after dominating in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. Reuther says that the international squads from Kenya and Trinidad & Tobago are more unpredictable than the other American squads and that he is not sure who they plan on bringing for the tournament, so those teams could certainly cause some surprises.
The Reapers have a solid team with experienced players who have played good 7s in the past, added Reuther.
Along with Ruether, the Royale boasts players such as Bobby Allen, Chance Doyle and Adam Ducoing, who all transition well from 15s to 7s.
“With seven minute halves, anything can happen," said Reuther. "You have to be on top of your game at all times to win.”
The Men’s Premier division is a toss-up, but good-quality rugby will undoubtedly be on display.
The Women’s Premier Division only consists of four teams, but Liz Hirschhorn of the DC Furies says she “couldn’t ask for better teams to play against.”
Although NOVA has traditionally been the powerhouse of women’s 7s rugby, the Furies have played them several times and are hoping to put an end to their dominance. There will also be really strong teams from Atlanta and Southern Explosion. Hirschhorn believes that the Furies do not have anyone who stands out as an all-star because they play as a team and that mindset is what has helped them be successful so far. Although the Cape Fear Sevens is not related to any national competition, Hirschhorn believes that this weekend will be a great way to prepare for Nationals. The top teams that are playing and the fact that it is a two day tournament is very similar to what the Furies will see at Nationals later this summer. The competition and intensity of the matches should be a great preview of what Nationals will be like and that is what makes the Women’s Premier Division at the Cape Fear Sevens such a good tournament.
Ten teams will compete in the Men’s Club Division this weekend. The Kudus has been the team to beat in this division, having won the tournament the past five years. They come in this year as one of the favorites to retain the trophy. There will also be strong college teams in the competition such as Virginia Tech and Appalachian state. Virginia Tech will be a mix of current undergraduate players as well as some of their talented alumni. One team that will undoubtedly be a surprise is the Kenya Exiles Black squad. They are a relatively unknown group, but are sure to have a solid team and must be taken seriously by all opponents. It will be a highly competitive weekend in the Men’s Club Division; we will see if Kudus can once again be victorious, or if a new champion will be crowned at Cape Fear on Sunday.
The Men’s Social Division features 24 teams, and is “pretty wide open” this year according to Jason Gruner, who is involved in running the tournament for Cape Fear Rugby. He believes that NOVA, Fancy Lads, and Pink Panthers will all be fielding strong sides. Another team to look out for will be the Charlotte Tigers Alumni squad. They will have multiple collegiate All-Americans on the team, including Zander van Schallwyk and Zach Miller who start for Life University. This is a team full of talent and should be expected to perform well this weekend.
Fourteen teams will be competing in the Women’s Social Division, any one of which could capture the championship this weekend. One team that looks particularly strong is American Sin Bin, according to Gruner. Suzanne Haggerty of the DC Furies Social Side also is aware of strong competition from the Mid-Atlantic. She knows that the Maryland Stingers should be bringing a good side to the tournament. Bethany Baker could be rostered for the DC Furies social or premier side for this weekend, but if she ends up on the social side, Haggerty believes she will be a player to watch. Haggerty says that the Furies have been playing the same teams from the Mid-Atlantic multiple times this season, and the different competition at Cape Fear will be a welcome challenge. She expects to see many different styles and tough competition this weekend, and is really excited to see how they stack up against teams from around the nation.