With the conclusion of Margaritaville 7’s in Shreveport, LA in early August, the 2022 TOLA season is officially done and dusted.
The 2022 season took place over two months, kicking off the second weekend in June in Dallas, TX and finishing this first weekend of August in Shreveport. Seven different tournaments were hosted in four different metropolitan areas (with the exception of Durant, OK – but that doesn’t really have a metropolitan area to claim it). Thirty different men’s sides claimed TOLA points while a record seventeen women’s sides battled it out.
Below we recap the top four final standings for both the men and the women, as well as throw in a few fun facts along the way.
Dallas RFC – White
Austin Huns – White
Austin Huns – Blue
Better call a carpenter because the Dallas RFC are going to need a few more shelves to hold all these trophies. As confirmed after a first place finish in The Woodlands, Dallas headed to Shreveport to hoist the TOLA trophy as they extended the gap enough that no one could catch them. Dallas had only two championship wins in TOLA (Choctaw and Cherrybone), but they were the only team to attend all seven TOLA tournaments, proving that consistency and commitment wins out every time. With the XV side winning the Men’s D1 National Championship and the top 7’s side winning the Bowl at Club 7’s Nationals, this is clearly a golden era for the boys from Dallas. We hope these winning ways continue, as a rising tide lifts all ships – and Dallas’ success can easily translate to the success of all clubs in the TRU.
The Austin Huns entered two sides into the TOLA tournaments this summer. The top side (White) racked up first place wins at Lone Star 7’s, River City 7’s and Margaritaville 7’s, while the second side (Blue) played in the premier bracket at Bloodfest, and took home third in the open at Hell or High Water. Despite not winning the big trophy at the final tournament of the year, they did win a pretty cool parrot and $1000 to spend at the casino for their 24-0 triumph over Dallas in the final. If success in sevens can predict any success in XV, we think that the Austin Huns are on the up and up. They’ve got a passionate and dedicated group of guys, and that can only translate well come the fall season. Until then, cheers to the boys in Austin and congratulations on 50 years with the club!
The Woodlands finished third this year, building on their opening tournaments to improve as the summer went on. At the opening tournament in Dallas, the Woodlands went 3-1 on the day, despite a win over the eventual TOLA champions Dallas-White in the opening match. At Bloodfest, the results were similar, the Woodlands falling to San Antonio in the Bowl Final after losing in the Cup QFs. However, the tides turned and at Hell or High Water 7’s in July, the Woodlands were back on top with their first Cup Final win in the Men’s Open bracket, defeating Dallas-White 26-19. At their home tournament, the Woodlands beat San Antonio to make the trip to the semifinals, eventually losing to Dallas again. They did take home 3rd place with an impressive boat race win over West Houston; proving that the Woodlands are good at both playing rugby and winning the socials. Fully embracing the TOLA spirit, the Woodlands finish third in the 2022 TOLA season.
Finishing fourth in this year’s TOLA Championship are the boys from San Antonio. San Antonio played up all season, largely choosing to participate in the Premier brackets instead of the open. Although their finishing place in each tournament wasn’t outstanding – they gained valuable experience by playing the top teams in the TRU and nation. They did participate in the Men’s Open at Bloodfest where they won the Bowl Final over The Woodlands, after defeating Dallas-White and Tulsa in pool play. They were the only TOLA team to participate in the Men’s Premier bracket at Hell or High Water, gaining maximum points. They also won the Bowl final at Cherrybone over Fort Hood who forfeited. San Antonio looks to a strong XV season as they compete in the D2 division against HURT, HARC, and the Woodlands.
Winning the 2022 TOLA on the Women’s side are the Grand Prairie Lady Mavericks with an impressive 25 total table points after five total tournaments (the final two did not have enough women’s teams for brackets to take place). Grand Prairie took home two top TOLA finishes, losing twice to the sHARCs in the final match at the qualifier tournaments. At the start of the summer, Grand Prairie finished 3-1 at Lone Star earning second place in a round-robin tournament format. Then they traveled down to Austin for Bloodfest, losing in the semi-finals to the eventual champion Cumiyais Rugby. During July Grand Prairie really hit their stride, they managed to make it to back to back qualifier finals despite playing for TOLA points. Though they fell to the RRRC Champions HARC, they kept the games close, losing by single digits. We would love to see these women participate in the RRRC Qualifiers next year, and competing for the opportunity to show the nation how Grand Prairie plays the game.
Finishing second in this year’s TOLA Championship are the women of the Dallas RFC. Dallas played in four of the five available tournaments, only missing River City in Austin, TX. They placed in all tournaments they played in, with an impressive 2nd place finish in the Women’s Social Final at Bloodfest. At Hell or High Water, there was only one women’s bracket, forcing the TOLA and RRRC teams to compete head to head. Dallas beat sHARCs second side in the QF play-in, slotting them against the sHARCs top side in the semis. Though they lost, they went on to win the bronze against the Austin Valkyries at the end of the day. They took fourth at Choctaw 7’s to finish the season, earning the third place points from TOLA. Congratulations to Dallas on their second place finish!
Tied for third place we have two teams, the Dallas Harlequins and the sHARCs second side. Let’s talk about the Harlequins first. The Harlequins won the opening tournament of the season in Dallas, TX after finishing an impressive 4-0. They traveled down to Bloodfest to participate in the Women’s Social Bracket – where they eventually beat TOLA Champions Grand Prairie to take third. They also topped Grand Prairie at River City, where they took 2nd place. Skipping Hell or High Water and Choctaw proved to be a bad decision, as those points were crucial to Grand Prairie’s eventual win. Performance-wise, the Dallas Harlequins were likely the team to beat this summer, but attendance at TOLA tournaments failed them come year end.
The other team tied for third in this year’s TOLA Championship was the second side of the eventual RRRC Champions, the women from the Houston Athletic Rugby Club. It’s always tough to be a second side of a top premier team and this was no exception for the sHARCs 2. Since women’s divisions are often limited to one at tournaments, the sHARCs often had to play against their teammates. However this team was able to shine at the TOLA-only River City 7’s when their first side was absent. Had the sHARCs attended either Lone Star or Choctaw, they would have been tied for second instead of third, but it is as it is. With the final two tournaments having their women’s brackets canceled, they must wait for TOLA 2023 to try to reach the top.