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TRU Shines at Club 7’s

Texas represented well at Club 7’s Nationals this past weekend in Tukwila, Washington. The TRU had five member clubs send a total of six sides to the competition, representing in all three brackets.

American Rugby Pro Training Center

American Rugby Pro Training Center is a 7’s-only member club that historically competes in the RRRC qualifiers. Although they only came to one TOLA tournament this year, we are proud to see ARPTC excel at another National Championship. Day 1 ARPTC went 2-0 in pool play, taking down two strong opponents in the Boston Belles and the Tempe Ninjas. This set up a seeding match against Rocky Mountain Magic, who ended up taking 5th on the weekend. ARPTC cruised through the Magic 40-5 and prepared for a trip to the quarterfinals on Day 2. Sunday morning, they were almost stopped short by Optimus, but a hugely physical match saw ARPTC 10-5 and onto the semi-finals. There ARPTC were dealt their only loss of the weekend to a star-studded Life West Gladiatrix. ARPTC went on to take 3rd over home team Washington Athletic.

Grand Prairie Mavericks

Our favorite dark horse of the TOLA season came into the Silver Cup as an underdog. The most common question of the weekend was – so, where is Grand Prairie from? However the Mavericks did what they did best and made sure that by the end of the tournament, everyone knew who Grand Prairie was. They went undefeated in their pool, taking out the Santa Monica Dolphins and the Oregon Sharks to set up a nice QF against OMBAC at the end of the Saturday. There the Mavericks really shone, showing off the skills they’ve honed throughout the season and dismantling historic OMBAC 32-0. On Sunday the Mavericks lost a heartbreaking SF against the speedy Beltway Elite, missing out on the chance to make the Silver Cup final an all-Texas affair. The Grand Prairie Mavericks finished off their tournament in style, taking down the ORSU men to take third in the Silver Cup, and 19th in the nation; an admirable achievement for the boys from Grand Prairie.

Rugby HTX

In our last TOLA wrap-up we noted that while they had the individual talent, HTX had to focus on the cohesion of the team in order to win it all. And they sure did. Rugby HTX went 3-0 on Day 1, taking down Belmont Shore II, ORSU, and Optimus Rugby to advance to the semi-finals on Sunday. This ended up being a rematch against ORSU and HTX weren’t to be fooled; they did their research and repeated the win, earning their ticket to the Silver Cup Final. There they took on Beltway Elite who eliminated Grand Prairie in the match before. Rugby HTX really excelled in this final, showing the teamwork that they had been building to at the end of the TOLA season. At the final whistle, HTX was up 21-14, and they took home the Silver Cup. 

This would have been an exciting way to end the season, but HTX weren’t done just yet. One final match slotted the 15th place Signes Cup team against the Silver Cup Champions. Eager for the chance to prove they should have been playing with the big boys all along, HTX seized the opportunity. A masterclass of strong tackles, clear communication, and breathtaking runs saw Silver Cup Champions Rugby HTX edge the Oceanside Chiefs in the final play 24-19, earning them the bragging rights and 15th in the nation.

Dallas RFC

Dallas RFC has had a historic run the past few years, particularly at Club 7’s Nationals. Banking 5th in 2018 and 9th in 2019, Dallas was an automatic bid to the Signes Cup in 2021. We’re not going to sugar-coat it, Dallas did not fare well this past weekend. A roster packed to the nines can’t control the abilities of the other teams or the whims of a rugby ball. In the first match of the weekend, Dylan Carrion suffered a tournament-ending injury. Carrion was the center of Dallas’ action and the team suffered without him. Deionte McMurray and Blake Blaylock stepped up to the plate to recreate Carrion’s leadership, but couldn’t replicate everything. 

Dallas also sent a second side to the tournament to participate in the Silver Cup. The second side didn’t start out great, but banked a win late on Saturday against the Oregon Sharks that pumped a bit of energy into the group. Pain hit hard again Sunday morning as they lost to Belmont II, but managed to end the weekend on a W as they took down Chuckanut Bay 28-0. Dallas has a lot to take away from this weekend, and one bad performance will never ruin a club. Expect Dallas back on top, soon.

Austin Huns

We end with the TOLA Champions, who took the momentum from a summer in Texas and steamrolled it right into Seattle. The Austin Huns started shaky, dropping the first match on Saturday to the eventual champions, the Chicago Lions. They quickly bounced back though, taking down Washington Athletic and demolishing the Oceanside Chiefs. This earned them a trip to the quarterfinals on Sunday where they fell to the eventual 2nd place team, the Westside Ronins. The Austin Huns then entered the Plate bracket, competing for fifth place. An easy enough task until Life West and Old Blue of New York found themselves in the same predicament. Austin Huns got down to business and shot through Old Blue, before turning to Life West in the Plate Final. A tense match, and one Austin would have no chance of winning unless they truly came together and worked as a unit for the full 14 minutes. When the final whistle blew 12-5, it was indeed the Huns who left it all out on the pitch and rejoiced by raising the Plate. Finishing the weekend 4-2, with the only two losses coming from the 1st and 2nd place team, the Austin Huns are your 2021 National Club 7’s Plate Champions.

The Referees

The five above TRU teams were not the only Texans to make the trip this past weekend; the Texas Rugby Referee Association was thrilled to have five members invited as referees, ARs, and referee coaches. A tournament historically marking the end of the National 7’s Pathway season, the best of the best from across the country are invited to officiate the nation’s top level of Club 7’s. Joey Swatzell, Jarrod Ford, Kat Roche, and Blair McClure all attended as referees and assistant referees, and Derek Summers attended as a high-performance referee coach.

The TRRA referees performed well, picking up the whistle for three of the four men’s cup quarterfinals; both men’s cup semi-finals, the men’s third place match, and the women’s cup final.

Overall, the TRU dominated at Club 7’s Nationals this year; infusing such a heavy dose of Texas in all the games, you could have sworn you smelled BBQ cookin’.